US Petroleum squeezes more than the pump handle

Who doesn’t love a bargain?

When my wife and I saw a gas station with a sign out front advertising $4.03 a gallon (and saw our needle was near empty), we pulled right in and asked to fill it with “regular”. (Note the absurdity in the last sentence? What has the world come to when we consider $4.03 a bargain?!).

This was one of those off-brand mom-and-pop full serve filling stations — US Petroleum in Cambridge, MA. What we didn’t know at the time was that mom and pop’s real names were actually Bonnie and Clyde.

After the tank was full, the total was just shy of $60. Yes, $SIXTY!

Wait a minute, says we.  We drank less than 14 gallons — how could we hit $60?

I checked the calculator twice, then questioned the attendant. $4.31 a gallon for regular, says he. Whaddya mean, says I. Sign says $4.03. Ah, says attendant. $4.03 is for “economy”. You ask for “regular”, so you pay $4.31.

Excuse me? $4.31?? No one pays $4.31 for regular.

All at once, I feel cheated, swindled, deceived and all-out lied to. This conninving, scheming excuse for a merchant has deliberately played a semantic trick on me. Every consumer I know considers “regular” to be the low price blend. I have never heard of “economy” gas.

Cheat me once, shame on me. Cheat me twice, you’ll hear from the Attorney General’s office.

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