Computer glitch sends gas price below a penny

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Lynsay Clutter/Eyewitness News

Plainfield - Prices at the pump are at an all time high. So could you imagine a gas station selling fuel for less than a penny per gallon? It happened Tuesday morning at Shell station in Plainfield.

While a lot of drivers can only dream about filling up for a nickel it was more of a nightmare for the gas station managers.

A computer glitch in two pumps changed the price to two hundredths of a cent per gallon. A Shell corporate spokesperson told Eyewitness News customers bought 200 gallons at the low rate before a good samaritan reported the problem and the pumps were shut down.

The pump price should have been 2 dollars and 75 cents per gallon. But at the wrong price, the Shell station took in only 40 cents for 200 gallons. That's a loss of 550 dollars.

We asked: if you saw this as the full price for a fill-up - pennies, would you think something was suspicious and report it, or drive quietly away and even tell your friends about it?"

These are our responses.

"I would have filled up for sure. I would've gotten a full tank."

"I probably would've filled my tank up. I mean, they're taking us at the pump anyways, three dollars a gallon!"

Most people told us they would take advantage of the lucky break because the business made the mistake, but there are others with a deeper conscious.

"I was told not to steal. We all make mistakes."

"I would let them know. I mean, five cents for tank of gas. Something's gotta be wrong. I just wouldn't feel right about it, no."

The spokesperson for Shell said they will most likely not attempt to recover their cost - so customers just got a lucky break this morning. As soon as the problem was reported, it didn't take long for station managers to correct the technical malfunction.