The International Energy Agency cut their 2008 global demand forecast for oil, but crude prices remain relatively unchanged. Gas prices, acting in near-lockstep, also remain at or near record levels.
However, in a cruel twist of fate, even those who should be benefitting from high prices–gas station owners–are feeling the pain, especially stations in struggling rural areas. No, not from shrinking margins or even reduced demand. Just from old gas pumps that can’t handle gas prices over $3.999. With average gas prices over $3.70 a gallon this past weekend and with diesel selling for an average of $4.33 a gallon, many pumps need to be replaced or retrofitted for thousands of dollars. MSNBC:
mum-and-pop service stations are running into a problem as gasoline marches toward $4 a gallon: Thousands of old-fashioned pumps can’t register more than $3.99 on their spinning mechanical dials.
The pumps, throwbacks to a bygone era on the American road, are difficult and expensive to upgrade, and replacing them is often out of the question for station owners who are still just scraping by.