Computerized Gas Station Price War Takes Prices Down To A Few Pennies In Ohio

17centsGas prices have finally fallen below $2 per gallon where I live, but that’s still a fortune compared to what some motorists in Ohio encountered over the weekend. A computer glitch of some sort made the price at a Pilot Travel Center plummet as low as a few pennies, which attracted opportunistic shoppers. Then the Circle K across the street decided to keep up with their competitors by lowering their prices, too.

Was it all a publicity stunt? Some hackers with very small-time goals? All the travel center’s cashier could say was that there was a computer malfunction, and then the other store decided to keep up with its neighbor and competition.

“I just filled my gas tank up from dead empty for 26 cents,” one customer told TV station WTOL as he pumped gas. “I told her to put ten on it and she only gave me five bucks and now I need to go get my change. That’s too funny.” He could have given the cashier a dollar and still received change back.

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This happened in the wee hours of Sunday morning, so not too many people were driving by to take advantage.

A writer at Cleveland.com did some historical research and found that the last time gas was that cheap locally was about 80 years ago. The actual average gas price this week near Toldedo is about $1.50.

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Gas prices briefly drop to 19 cents, 17 cents in north Toledo [WTOL]
Gas prices temporarily drop under 20 cents a gallon in Toledo [Cleveland.com]