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One Washington gas station reprogrammed pumps for $10 per gallon, but it’s not for the reason you think

May 19, 2022, 4:19 PM UTC

Gas prices continue to hover near all-time highs, but in Washington state, at least one gas station is reprogramming its pumps to handle rates of $10 per gallon and higher.

A 76 gas station in Auburn, Wash. has adjusted its pumps to accommodate double-digit per gallon prices. Despite some alarmist reports, though, it’s not because they expect the price of a standard gallon of unleaded to hit that level.

Beyond the usual regular, premium and diesel offerings, the station, which is independently owned, also sells a 100-octane race gas, which it sells to hobbyists who take their highly-tuned cars and motorcycles to a nearby race track.

Typically, the price per gallon on that fuel has been in the $8 to $9 range, operations manager Jeff Small tells Fortune. But, as prices on all gas products have increased, it’s nearing $10 now, which prompted the reprogramming.

While the race fuel is dispensed from a separate pump than traditional automotive fuel, the system requires that all pumps be reprogrammed, he says.

Ironically, that change is actually resulting in slightly cheaper gas for customers. Gas stations typically add 9/10 of a cent onto prices, but the Auburn station has done away with that after reprogramming the pumps to $10.

“We’re losing the 9/10 of a cent that stations normally charge since we had to move the decimal,” says Small. (Enough customers buy the race fuel that the station makes up the difference, he said.)

Gas prices have been increasing steadily, but not even the most bearish forecasters have predicted $10 per gallon prices.

AAA reports the current average price per gallon across the U.S. is nearly $4.59. Rates in California continue to climb, with the average there now standing at $6.06 per gallon. (Washingtonians pay an average of $5.18 at present.)

JPMorgan, in a recent report to investors, said there’s a real risk that $6 per gallon could be the national average by August. That follows a similar warning made in March by a longtime U.S. diplomat who served as an American diplomat for 30 years in Washington, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Not everyone is expecting prices to continue to increase, though. The US Energy Information Administration last week projected national averages will drop to $3.59 a gallon during the final quarter of the year.

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