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I’m seeing reports on the local news that gas companies and/or local service stations are asking people not to top off their tank, but to wait until the tank is almost drained before filling up. This is supposed to prevent runs on gas station.

Why? This makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

Let’s say I drive 500 miles per week and use an average of 10 gallons of gas to do so (hey… I drive a Prius). That means that every 50 miles takes about 1 gallon of gas. If I decide to buy 1 gallon of gas every 50 miles rather than 10 gallons of gas after 500, I’ve still used 10 gallons of gas in roughly the same amount of time. The difference over the span of a week to the local gas station is zero. They’ll get to see my smiling face more often, but they won’t be selling me any more gas.

If the price of gas is going up, then I’ll come out ahead because some of the earlier gallons of gas will have been purchased at a lower price than the last gallons. If I wait until the end of the week, the gas station (or probably the oil company that supplies them) will come out ahead because I bought all of those same 10 gallons at the highest price.

So who benefits if I wait? The oil companies.



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