It sucks to be a “Mom & Pop” gas station owner these days. Gas station owning isn’t as profitable as you might think (the oil company gets most of the money) and now it seems that thousands of older pumps just don’t have the ability to charge more than $3.99 per gallon — and also can’t charge more than $99 for the total sale, preventing truck and SUV owners from filling their tanks up all the way.
As many as 8,500 of the nation’s 170,000 service stations have old-style meters that need to be fixed — about 17,000 individual pumps, said Bob Renkes, executive vice president of the Petroleum Equipment Institute of Tulsa, Okla.
At Chip Colville’s Chevron station in this eastern Washington town, where men in the family have pumped gas since 1919, three stubby, gray pumps were installed when gas was less than $1 a gallon. They top out at $3.999, only 30 cents above the price of regular gas at Colville’s station.
“In small towns, where you don’t have the volume, there’s no way you can afford to pay for the replacements for these old pumps,” Colville said. “It’s just not economically feasible.”
The pumps will have to be retrofitted with new meters that go up to $4.99, but experts say that this puts a lot of strain on the old pumps.
Old Gas Pumps Can’t Handle Ever-Rising Prices [Boston Herald]