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9/10ths of a Cent Earns Gas Stations $139 Million a Year

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Have you ever wondered exactly how much of a difference that extra 9/10ths of one cent at the gas pump makes?

According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, a petroleum retailing trade association, filling stations bring in an extra $139 million a year, thanks to the fraction of a cent more every motorist pays.

NACSonline explains that stations started pricing gas in increments of less than a penny during the Great Depression because "a half penny meant something more to the millions of out-of-work Americans." That's when "nine-tenths pricing" took root.

“Most people don’t see that 9/10ths. Psychologically, it’s a marketing ploy,” points out John Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic Region spokesman.

“No one ever looks at the 9/10ths but they know it's there,” NACS spokesman Jeff Lenard says. “Nobody feels the bait-and-switch with the 9/10ths."

Except the owners -- and for them, it doesn't feel half-bad.
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