Why are gas prices quoted in tenths of cents?

Where did this practice come from and why does it persist? I can’t pay a tenth of a cent so why is it quoted this way?

An earlier thread on the topic.


Once upon a time, the various taxes on gasoline were in fractions of a cent, so the total tax might come out to - say - 17.4 cents a gallon. Since the gasoline retailer did not collect a markup on taxes, the price per gallon included a number behind the decimal point.

The second reason for decimal points was that it was easier to check if a pump was calibrated correctly. If gas was 99.9 cents a gallon, 10 gallons should meter out to exactly $9.99 rather than $10. The decimal place was, in effect, a consumer protection.

Now, like so many other things, they do it that way because they’ve always done it that way.

Cite? I don’t see what the difference would be if 10 gallons should read exactly $9.99 or exactly $10.

A local radio station once sold 1000 gallons of gas at $1.079 (when gas first went over $1.60). But their frequency is 107.3 MHz, so I wondered why the heck they didn’t just tell the digital pricing computer to price it $1.073 instead. Then I figured that the 9 mil is probably hardwired into the programming.

It is an old retailing gimmick.

$1.99 appears to be much less than $2.00

Just a matter of perception/deception