Gas prices have risen to nearly $7 in some parts of the country. But a California Shell gas station manager mistakenly sold gas recently for just .69 cents — at 1978 prices.
The manager, John Szczecina, was setting prices at the gas station on June 9 when he accidentally moved a decimal point. He set the gas price per gallon as .69 cents instead of $6.99.
Word spread on social media and customers lined up at the station in Rancho Cordova to fill up. By the time the mistake was caught and corrected several hours later, the station was out of about $20,000, according to The New York Post.
The station, located about 10 miles from Sacramento, California, is independently owned and has not responded to media requests for comment.
In California, the average cost per gallon of gas was $6.435 at the time of the mistake, according to AAA. Nationwide, gas costs $5.014 per gallon on average, Business Insider reported.
U.S. households are now spending the equivalent of $5,000 annually on gasoline. This is a major increase from $2,800 a year ago, according to Yardeni Research released in May. In March, the annual rate of gasoline spending was at $3,800, Yardeni noted to CNBC.
Szczecina was subsequently fired, but he said he wants to repay the station for his mistake. His family has taken out a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds for the cost.
“I thought, ‘This is a nightmare,’ ” Szczecina said, according to CBS13. “I put all three prices on there except the diesel, but the last one kind of didn’t go, you know, right. So I just took responsibility for it, and I said, ‘Yeah, it’s my fault, and I’m to blame,’ ” he added.
The last time gas cost .69 cents in the U.S. was October 1978, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.