Aside from the opening of the first In-N-Out Burger franchise in Texas, few things can cause a sudden line of traffic quite like a gas station selling fuel for $1.10 per gallon.
That’s exactly what happened at a Valero station in Los Angeles’ Wilmington neighborhood, when an unspecified computer error reset the price of unleaded gasoline to prices not seen since 1998. It didn’t take long for the word to spread, and the station soon found itself with cars lined up around the block.
It took four hours for the attendant on duty to notice the error, at which time the station owner shut down all pumps. He estimates the station incurred a loss of some $21,000, and hopes that drivers who took advantage of the improperly priced gasoline will return to frequent his convenience store.
On the other hand, the station has received far more than $21,000 worth of advertising and media exposure, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the increase in business offset any potential loss. It may have been an accident, but we’re betting it’ll turn out to be a profitable one.