В ДиСи секретарши делают крюк в неск миль, чтобы сэкономить 1 цент на галлоне.
Update: Jim Fuller pumps regular, priced at $1.749/10, into his Buick Riviera at Anderson Sunoco on Lee Highway in Arlington. He usually buys gas here or at the Citgo across the street.
"Whichever is cheaper," he says.
On this April afternoon, he's among a steady stream of customers who jockey for pump position at the Sunoco. Six or seven cars at a time line up. Over at Citgo, there are open pumps.
The reason: Sunoco is one cent cheaper than Citgo. One cent.
Fuller saves less than 20 cents filling up.
With the national average price of gasoline at $1.82, breaking all-time records for two straight months, a penny saved earns a crowd. People who wouldn't stoop to pick up a Lincoln head on the sidewalk drive miles out of their way or idle in lines to save a cent per gallon.
Clearly, three months into the "Gas Morass of '04," the cost of gasoline has become a national sore point -- or, should we say, soar point. Motorists survey service-station price signs and track where the cheap gas is -- cheap being a relative thing.
"It's important!" says Natalie Dristas, filling her Acura SUV at the Sunoco and watching the digits spin past $29 . . . $30 . . . $31. She will go out of her way to save a nickel on a gallon.
"I avoid like the plague any gas station in D.C.," says the Arlington mother, who drives her son to school into Georgetown. "Oh my God, they're like 15 cents more!"
If she's running on empty, she says, she'll buy a dollar's worth at a high-priced station "just to get to a cheaper station."