over 10 years on 2008-04-01


gas pumps in the us don’t have a hundreds place - here comes y2k all over again

my quick survey of local gas stations shows that consumer gas pumps don’t go past $99.99 (they don’t have a hundreds place)… which means that with dollar fuel prices rising outside of the expected band, we are approaching the y2k problem for the gas pump industry. by this i mean that just as computer programs didn’t anticipate needing to record three or four digit dates (recording 1998 as 98 and theoretically 2001 as 01), gas pumps don’t read out beyond $99.99, so that if your tank costs $102.24 to fill, the meter is going to say $2.24.

i have no idea whether the internal system record the actual charge correctly or not (whether you will get charged $102.24 and only see $2.24 – or whether right now you could actually end up getting charged just $2.24). either way it is humorous that, once again, at least on an output level, when prices/numbers change at an unexpected speed there are all sorts of funny corner cases that all of a sudden become very significant.

someone should figure out who makes, repairs, and upgrades gas pumps (and most specifically the led components). that company/micro-industry is poised to make a killing in the us as a mini-echo-boom when fuel goes north of 6 or 7 dollars, the average tank goes north of $100, and all of a sudden every gas station in america needs an upgrade of some sort. obviously, i am only writing/twittering this because i am not going to go out and try to figure this one out myself.

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