Old-time Gas Pumps Close to the End of Their Lives

Those of us who live in the big city (as if Charlotte is a big city) may not be aware of this problem, but it seems that there is a problem with some gas pumps in the world. Not the ones with electronic digital displays, but those that have the old dial-type digital displays. As an aside, does anyone remember the original digital clocks? I had one of those that had the old-style digital numbers, like the ones in Back to the Future (I think it was Back to the Future). I guess you would call them mechanical digital or something. But I digress.

It seems that these dial-style pumps are running into a problem. They can only handle gas that costs $3.99 per gallon or less. It’s a limitation of the dials. Sure, it’s possible to replace the dials, but it’s a pretty expensive proposition. At the same time, the pumps can only count up to $99.99 per sale.

According to the article, they say that as many as 8500 of 170,000 pumps nationwide may have this problem. That is a big number taken as a whole, but ultimately not much as a percentage.

I’m sure that as stations are taken over and shuttered and turned into pizza joints and whatnot, some will be cleared out. One day, these pumps will surely sell on eBay for ridiculous sums of money. And I’m sure that there will be a similar problem with the electronic-style pumps because they can only handle $9.99 per gallon, since they just don’t have the digits to display anything larger.

My wife insists that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I’m thinking that it’s going to happen sooner than we think. Maybe not in the next two years, but probably in the next decade or so. You would think as they build new signs and create new pumps, they could put in four-digit counters instead of the three-digit variety or they’ll hit the same problem. It can’t cost that much more. Is it really such a problem that they can’t see that far in the future?