Saturday, January 17, 2009

What's another 0.1 cent anyway?

I always found it sort of stupid that gasoline is priced $x.xx9 instead of just rounding up to the next cent. Most people probably never think about it, but this is the kind of thing that gets stuck in my head. If you put 15 gallons of gas in your car, we're talking about another 1.5 cents each time you fill your tank. Minutaie, right?

According to the FHWA's Traffic Volume Trend System, Americans drove 2.425 trillion miles in 2008. WikiAnswers states that the average American vehicle on the road gets 17 MPG. Okay, ladies and gents, let's do some math. Divide 2.425 trillion by 17 and you get 142,647,060,000 gallons of gasoline consumed in a single year.

Now multiply .001 by 142,647,060,000 and you get $142,647,060. Oh, how that 1.5 cents adds up! I propose we make the industry round up that extra .001 cent and put that resulting $142.65 billion toward any of the following:
  • Prizes for technology innovation that drastically improves vehicle MPG;
  • Public transportation improvements;
  • Environmental restoration or conservation projects;
  • Scholarships for promising science students;
  • Funding research on carbon sequestering.

I'm sure there are even better ideas for that chunk of change. Leave comments with your ideas.

And this doesn't even count the savings realized by dropping that extra plastic number off all the gas station signs. Well, there are about 115,000 fueling stations in the U.S. and those numbers each cost ... okay, let's not get carried away.

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