SECRETS OF THE GAS STATION REVEALED
With a little help from Popular Mechanics here are some insights that will save you drive time and a few tenths of a penny:
Why is gas priced to nine-tenths of a cent?
Eighty years ago, a penny bump in price was a significant hike, so retailers raised prices by fractions of a cent. It's a leftover tradition that's become pure marketing: $2.29 and nine-tenths looks more inviting than $2.30.
Do run-down, no-name stations sell bad gas?
The lack of, say a Exxon sign out front only means the station isn't contracted to sell that brand's gas. Depending on prices, it may be selling it, and if not, it's pumping unbranded but still EPA-approved fuel. Truly bad gas is rare: Most states inspect random and often.
Why is the gas cheaper across the street?
The guy across the street could be locked into a cheaper distribution contract. He might have filled his tanks when prices were down. Or he's squeezing his margin or even taking a loss to divert customers from the competition.
If there's a plastic bag on one pump handle, should I avoid the station entirely?
Quite the opposite: Bagged pumps have been inspected by the state and found to be inaccurate. Which means un-bagged pumps are spot-on, so you can be confident you'll get what you pay for.