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Why is gasoline still sold using the .9 cents at the end?

John Peaspanen
StarNews

AP photo.

Q. Why is gasoline still sold using the .9 cents at the end such as $3.29 point 9? Why don’t they just sell it at an even cents?

A. Apparently, gas retailers use the .9 cent suffix for pricing because of a long-standing marketing ploy. Consumers are thought to be more likely to buy if it looks like a bargain, even if that “discount” is only 1/10 of a penny.

Jonathan Cogan of the U.S. Energy Information Administration said, “It is simply a marketing tactic, similar to a product in a store being more likely to be priced at $9.99 rather than $10.00. I do not know exactly when the price started, but it would have been when the price per gallon was well below a dollar.”

Cogan added that a retailer can choose to price gasoline in whole cents per gallon, if they so choose. As far as we can tell, no one has done that in recent years.

RELATED LINKS:

What is the average net profit per gallon of gasoline for gas stations in Wilmington?

Why is North Carolina’s gasoline tax so much higher than surrounding states?

User-contributed question by:
William Roy

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