Would-be Windfall

Gas prices 9/2
Image by &y via Flickr

The July 9 issue of the Delaware Coast Press turned out to have a wealth of “blog fodder” — just what was needed to energize my moribund blog.

This, from that issue’s GRAPEVINE column, wherein DCP readers’ “comments and observations” are featured without attribution, is a real LOLer:

All my life, I have heard and read about the price of gas — per gallon. But it’s not the price for a whole gallon of gas, it’s for 9/10 of a gallon. You’re always cheated out of a 10th of every gallon of gas. Over your lifetime, that’s a lot of money these companies are making. Isn’t it time to get the federal government to get rid of that 10th and make them give us the full gallon?

This is like the parallel universe of gas consumption. A put-on? Probably. But very funny. Who would have thought the “9/10” on gas station price signs is a fraction of a gallon rather than a fraction of a cent? The answer: the writer of this GRAPEVINE submission.

With tongue in cheek, I say in response to the writer’s sentiment: “Here, here!” The feds do need to make the oil companies give us full gallons. Now that’s a cause I can get behind.

But why stop there? The oil companies should be required to reimburse each and every one of us drivers for the gas we’ve been shortchanged over the years.

Just for fun, I’ll ballpark the windfall I’d receive from that reimbursement. Now, let’s see …

  • 36 years of driving,
  • on average 20,000 miles a year (I’m keeping the numbers round here), giving a total of 720,000 miles,
  • on average 20 miles per gallon, which is equivalent to 18 miles per 9/10 gallon, making 40,000 9/10 gallons purchased,
  • at an average price of $2.00 per 9/10 gallon, I’ve spent $80,000 on gas (wow!).

The math gets confusing at this point, but I got the same answer calculating it two different ways, so it must be right — famous last words — well I said I’m ballparking. Anyway, here goes …

My windfall would be $8,000.

  • The $80,000 I spent should have gotten me another 4,000 gallons. At $2.00/gallon that would be $8,000.
  • I was shortchanged a dime for every dollar I spent. I spent $80,000, so I was shortchanged $8,000.

I don’t know about you, but an unexpected eight grand would look great in my bank account. Time to act.

Dear Senator Casey

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