Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Alright Oil Companies, Enough Is Enough

It may seem a little strange for me to be griping about oil companies when gas is cheaper than it's been in almost a decade. But let me take a stab at it anyway.

Actually, this doesn't directly relate to big oil, but it sure is fun to demonize them. Why in holy hell do gas stations get to charge their customers to the tenth of a penny for a gallon of gas? I filled up today at Maverick for 2.079. Actually, they go to the trouble of making it a fraction. So it was 2.07 and 9/10. Look it's an obvious gimmick to make their gas look a cent cheaper than it is. The same way 99 cents is really a dollar. But since when was a tenth of a penny a viable unit of currency? Isn't that a pence? Or a shilling? A shekel? We do not live in Dickensian England. And yet gas stations are alone in their ability to incorporate this stupid little pricing trick.

I realize that since we buy gas by the gallon and we seldom buy less than about 15 gallons at a time. This makes gasoline the only product whose price consumers care about to the penny. If one gas station is two cents cheaper a gallon than the one across the street, that means a tank is about 30 to 40 cents cheaper. I'm going to the cheap one. Also the profit margin on gasoline for those gas stations is close to zero. So gas stations utilize any obvious means of deception they can. But I say, no more tenth of a penny incrementation. In fact, let's go a step further and say no pennies period.

No disrespect to Abe intended but pennies are nothing but garbage. Ugly, dirty garbage. Every time I get change from a cashier, I pick out those damn pennies and throw them away before they get a chance to stink up my hand. Do you know why the dollar coin has never caught on in America? Because we have been conditioned to think that a pocket full of change is made up of pennies. And who the hell wants pennies?

So I say get rid of the one cent denomination of our currency all together. Have all retail prices remain the same and then just round up or down. In the case of gasoline, the final amount would be rounded up or down, not the per gallon price. And your jar of pennies would still have the same monetary value when you decided to change them in at the Coin Star machine. Although this does raise the question of what will High School students in Utah do to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation? Those penny drives are a yearly cash cow. "A million pennies" is a fun way to say ten thousand dollars. "Two hundred thousand nickels" just doesn't have the same ring.

There you go. Trivial, whiney and not at all interesting. I achieved the "crappy blog trifecta". I am very proud.


Justin said...

Case in point: Whenever I play Monopoly (which is depressingly more than any single, adult male should), I always just cut out the one-dollar bills and round up or down to the nearest five. It makes paying for a crappy house on St. Charles place that much easier.

cool_guy said...

Sometimes this can be an issue here in sin City....

Have you ever wondered if the one dollar bills in your wallet or purse were ever in a strippers's butt crack?

If not, you're wondering now.

Spencer said...

I agree with you that pennies are garbage. I too make it a point to throw them on the ground as soon as I walk out of the store. However, economists disagree with us. According to this story, change is actually good for a struggling economy.