Picking up Nickels

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Gas Station Trickery: Regular vs Economy grade

When I was in college, I made my money by pumping gas at a full service gas station. While most people would ask for regular gasoline, a select few would always ask for "the cheap stuff". I'm starting to think that the latter folks had the right idea.

The Sunday Boston Globe had an interesting Consumer Beat column about some Massachusetts gas stations that have recently started to call 87 octane gasoline Economy grade and 88 octane gasoline Regular grade: Anything but 'regular'.

``They're preying on people asking for the wrong product," said Robert McGrath , who oversees Boston's weights and measures department. ``A lot of people just don't pay attention."

The concern with this change is that people will be paying an extra 15-20 cents per gallon for the 88 octane Regular grade gasoline, when they believe they are getting the 87 octane gasoline. Although consumers should know better, this does seem like a way for gas station owners to profit from customer confusion.

The article also mentioned a Massachusetts gas station that offers an 86 octane economy gasoline that is 19 cents less per gallon cheaper than their 87 octane gasoline. The interesting part is that 86 octane gasoline is not even shipped into the region, so that 86 octane gas is really 87 octane gas. Basically, some people are paying an extra 19 cents per gallon for absolutely nothing.


  • Wow, here in Northern Illinois we tend to have only a 10 cent octane increase of 2. 87 is 2.75, 89 is 2.85, and 91, is 2.95.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/12/06, 4:19 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home