Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cheap Self Serve New Jersey Gas:

Here's another story that I'm going to end by saying, “I don't really want to know.”

On the way to work, I pass an intersection with three gas stations. That's – clearly – one too many. The station with the most expensive gas has gone out of business a few times in the last few years. The other two stations sell lesser-known brands at lower prices. Let's call the shaky one the “MoTeXarco” station. Currently it's easy to see that MoTeXarco is shut down, because those tall signs that advertise gas prices have no numbers on them. Yet a few days ago, when I pulled up to the red light, I glanced over to see a well-dressed gentleman at one of the pumps. He looked like he had just finished serving himself some gas, as he put away the pump-hose and his wallet. (Self-service is illegal in NJ, you're required to wait for the attendant to put your credit card, or his own card, into the pump.)

And I started to think ...

Maybe the guy really did just fill his tank. If he did, he used gas that was many weeks old. And the price must have been many weeks old as well. He could have saved fifty cents a gallon or more. Could it be? Can you close a station and forget to turn off the pumps? Of course, he might have driven into the station, tried to pump some gas, and failed, but who knows?

I'm tempted to find out. It would just take a minute to pull up to MoTeXarco's pumps and see if they're working. But even using my credit card, I would probably break a dozen laws or more. And if I got caught? It's not worth the risk. And anyway, I'd rather dream about this incident; I don't really want to know.
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