Gas or Cash? Lottery Players' Fuellish Ways

gas or cash lottery players fuellish ways

I'm no good at math. If I need to crunch numbers– relative mpgs, the long term cost of interest payment deals, Rick Wagoner's salary increases– I let Frank do it for me. Otherwise TTAC's Best and Brightest "correct" my erroneous calculations in no uncertain terms. As students of our education system's failures will attest, I am not the only checkbook balancing-challenged citizen of these great United States. This knowledge is also shared by various state lottery commissions, who understand that greed, like love, is numerically illiterate. The New York Times reports that Florida has joined Georgia, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Washington in offering tickets that award "gas for life" instead of cold, hard cash. "Not that a winner’s right to free gasoline is unlimited. Rather, each winner will be awarded 26 prepaid gas cards, each worth $100, every year until death. Were the 44-year-old Mr. Acosta to win, and live to be twice his current age, the total payout to him in free gasoline would be $114,400. That is far short of the [$250k] first prize, particularly since virtually all the gas prize would be paid in future dollars." Future dollars? WTH is a future dollar? I want my payout in good old American currency! Anyway, here's the thinking: "Gas has become more precious than cash now,” Bernard Feldman told the Old Gray Lady. Even when it isn't.

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  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 08, 2008

    Virginia (and many other states) have printed disclaimers allowing them to sell tickets even after the top prize is awarded. They just don't trumpet the fact.

  • SunnyvaleCA SunnyvaleCA on Jul 08, 2008

    I'm not math wizard either (oh wait, maybe I am). Anyway, I think your original text is probably supposed to quote $1000 per year and not $100. If someone can make $100 per year * 26 years look like $114,400 present day value, then that person absolutely is a wizard.

  • The Comedian The Comedian on Jul 08, 2008

    It's not $100 per year nor is it $1,000 per year. It is $2,600 per year in the form of twenty six gas cards each redeemable for $100 in gas. 26 cards per year times 100 dollars per card times 44 years = 144,400 dollars.

  • Brettc Brettc on Jul 08, 2008

    Thanks for the clarification on the lump sum. I guess it would make sense to do it that way, but I've always figured that a set amount every year would be better. I don't plan on winning the lottery, so I'm not too concerned about it. I have read about lottery winners that have nothing to show for their winnings even after only a couple of years. I know there was some guy recently that won something like $35 million and actually invested it instead of blowing it all on crap. So there is the occasion smart winner.