When was gas last sold for whole cents?

The in basket: On New Year’s Day I asked if anyone out there in readerland recalled a time when gas prices didn’t end in 9/10ths of a cent.
The out basket: I got three replies, the first from 80-year-old Samuel Stout of Central Kitsap, who says he recalls buying gas for a whole number of cents when he was 12 years old in northern Indiana. He said he drove quite a bit at that age. It wasn’t legal but no one did much about it, he said.


The in basket: On New Year’s Day I asked if anyone out there in readerland recalled a time when gas prices didn’t end in 9/10ths of a cent.
The out basket: I got three replies, the first from 80-year-old Samuel Stout of Central Kitsap, who says he recalls buying gas for a whole number of cents when he was 12 years old in northern Indiana. He said he drove quite a bit at that age. It wasn’t legal but no one did much about it, he said.
He got that gas from one of the old-fashioned gas pumps that had a glass dome on top. I’d seen photos of those pumps, but I’d never known the purpose of the dome.
Samuel says you hand-pumped the gasoline into the glass enclosure until you had the amount you wanted, then let it drain into your gas tank. If you miscalculated and there wasn’t enough room in your tank for what you’d pumped into the globe, you still paid for it all, he said.
He doesn’t recall, however, when gas prices began ending in 9/10ths of a cent, or what precipitated the change.
Earl Barth wrote, “I cannot vouch for the veracity of the following, but I remember reading that 9/10th of a cent on a gallon of gasoline was originally a tax to pay for the WWI war debt. To my knowledge the tax has never been repealed.
“No, I do not recall a day when gas prices didn’t end in 9/10ths of a cent,” he added. “However, I do remember a day when a gallon of gasoline was $0.259.”
And Duane Smart of Seattle passed along this anecdote:
“It was probably in 1956 or 1957 during a time I lived in northwest Wisconsin at a place called Amnicon Lake. There were two little country stores there. Both sold gasoline. One grade only, regular. I believe it was 32 cents a gallon and 9/10’s at one store, however the other store sold it for 32 and 3/10’s. One day the store who sold it with the 3/10’s had a service man out working on their pump and when he finished the work, the price changed ending with 9/10’s. I was 12 or 13 years old at the time and that, to the best of my knowledge, is the only time I ever saw gas end in anything other than 9/10’s.

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