Monday, July 2, 2007

Pumping Fuel Slower For Your Contentment


The last few times I have filled up our crappy minivan Goldschläger, I noticed something that I can't easily verify, but something I nevertheless firmly believe is happening.

It struck me that even though the volume of the $20.00 worth of gasoline I was pumping into the tank was significantly less than the amount of gas I would have gotten in return for $20.00 in the $1.50/gallon glory days, it still took roughly the same amount of time to dispense it.

What's the explanation of this? Why should it take as much time to dispense 6.25 gallons today as it did to dispense 13 gallons a couple years ago?

I think there's a simple answer. The gas stations are intentionally slowing down the flow of gasoline. For those people who have used a "Pay First" pump, you know that when it gets to the last dollar of your pre-paid gasoline, that the flow of gas slows to a trickle (presumably so you won't be able to overshoot the amount of gas you paid for). So, we know the technology is there to control the flow of gas.

So, why would they be slowing the gas flow in general? Well, to prevent customers from getting angry. If you filled up your car with twenty dollars worth of gasoline and it took less than a minute to get the gas into your tank, the ri-goddamn-diculous amount of money you're paying for your fuel becomes baldly apparent.

By stretching out the measly amount of gasoline flowing into automobiles, the appearance is given to consumers that they are actually getting something for their dollar.

So, they waste your time to prevent you from realizing you are wasting your money.

Think about this the next time you wait for your gas tank to slowly fill up with that $3.50 premium unleaded.

5 comments:

Mob said...

Interesting theory, and I wish I'd read this post before I filled up to the tune of 40-something dollars this afternoon, because I would've had something worth pondering rather than just twiddling my thumbs while looking at my windshield and wondering when I hit all those damned bugs.

Beth said...

Give the man a Nobel! I've wondered why it takes so long to pump a full tank ...

GETkristiLOVE said...

It takes longer because they are not only running your credit card but clearing the paperwork on your first born.

daniel said...

Yeah, they pump slower. I live in Tijuana, and the few times I've had to fill up in San Diego, I have noticed that. I really couldn't say exactly, but maybe it takes twice to pump the same amount of gas in the US (at least in California) than in Mexico.

Splotchy said...

Cool, daniel!

Thanks for the info.

Have you ever complained?