You Know Gas is Getting Expensive When…

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
you know gas is getting expensive when 8230

Autoblog reports that some gas pumps refuse to display the latest price per gallon because their manufacturers never thought the price would get so high. In the gas-price equivalent of a Y2K problem, Washington state has at least 12 pumps which cannot display more than $3.99 per gallon. These pumps have gear-driven, mechanical processors and readouts. The mechanical marvels require a factory retrofit to handle gas prices over $4/gal, whereas modern, computerized pumps are more than happy to charge you whatever [s]keeps the tax revenues rolling in[/s] the market demands. The retrofit can cost station owners up to $8500. In many cases, the parts are unavailable at any price. The state's weight and measures authority is allowing station owners facing this problem to simply multiply gallons pumped by the price of gas, provided that price is clearly posted. TTAC's resident "people who were alive in the 70's" inform us that this was also a problem in the bad old days, when gas prices also rose higher than pumps could count (whaddaya mean it's $1.09 a gallon??). Their old-timey-yet-effective solution? Set the machines to half-price and then just multiply by two. Brilliant!

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4 of 21 comments
  • Menno Menno on May 08, 2008

    If taxes are so great, why not demand that only politicians get to pay them? (sarcasm) We all know we want to have good roads. I get to pay taxes as high as the rest of the country here in Michigan, but our roads S U C K big time. Some of the worst in the country. So, can I complain now? How about the people in Minneapolis who paid bucoup bucks for road taxes and gas taxes and then had the bridge collapse? We all pretty well know that taxation is 80% rip off, 20% necessary, at least it has been so since about 90 years ago approximately. I think that's what Edward's underlying point may well be, thoots. At least that's how I perceive such comments.

  • Improvement_needed Improvement_needed on May 08, 2008

    gsp: my apologies for an attempt at humour.. and assuming an american audiance...

  • Menno Menno on May 08, 2008

    Heck, improvement needed, on the contrary. Keep up the good work! We could all use some humor / humour now and again. Three cheers for Pooh... For who? For Pooh! Oh, listen do!

  • Thoots Thoots on May 08, 2008

    No, I'm not a politician, and I'll agree that a lot of anti-tax attitude comes from what citizens have seen politicians do. But, I really get irked at people who seemingly believe that we could have things like roads and other infrastructure without paying any taxes. The same goes for those "socialized" comments. Please explain how something like a $50 million freeway project that'll get you from your house to your office is going to happen if we don't do something like agreeing to tax ourselves and pool the money in order to build such things. As for "bad roads," that almost always is a signal that there's just not enough money to go around to keep things in good shape. Since it's pretty unpopular to raise taxes, most states haven't raised gas taxes for years -- even decades. How well would you be faring if you hadn't had a pay raise for the last decade or two? As for the bridge collapse, that was mind-boggling. The state of modern bridge inspection technology and techniques shouldn't have allowed that to happen. I've never heard if they ever figured out what happened, but that bridge appeared to be in as good condition as the bridges the rest of us will be expected to drive over for several more decades. At the very least, it shows everyone a good example of how much it costs to build such projects, and what kind of disruption such a failure can cause. Never-minding the fact that people were killed in the tragedy.... As for "80% rip-off," that's mainly happening with the current Presidential administration and its avoidance of prudent public purchasing ethics. Your gas taxes, though, are probably some of the most transparent taxes you could examine. Decisions are usually made in very open, public meetings and processes, and most projects these days are designed by private engineering firms and all are built by private contractors selected through a competitive bidding process. You won't find any no-bid contracts given by politicians to buddies at Halliburton here. I still think that "car enthusiasts" ought to be more than willing to pay for the roads they drive their cars upon. And we truly aren't keeping up with the funding needs for our road systems -- inflation has really eaten away at gasoline taxes that haven't come anywhere close to keeping up. Yes, some states and/or some areas are doing better than others, but when you look at what folks in other countries are paying for their road systems, well, just look at the condition of your roads, and the congestion along your commute. It simply takes an ever-increasing amount of money to make improvements in those areas!