Go into any modern petrol station to fill up and you will pass a board with today’s prices in pence per litre. Cunningly concealed at the end of each number is a dot and a smaller number, almost always “.9”. Thus in effect the price is always point nine of a penny per litre more than shown by the large displayed price. It has been this way for many years and we are all well used to it.
However pumps themselves usually carry a notice to the effect that the minimum purchase is 5 litres. So if you purchase 5 litres of petrol at 140.9 pence per litre how can you pay them 704.5 pence? The half penny was withdrawn years ago. If you wanted 6 litres the cost would be 745.4 pence? Again, how can you pay .4 pence? The banks won’t recognise a fraction of a penny, there is no coin smaller than one penny, so it’s an impossible price.
Of course bits of a penny will always happen with anything bought loose. Half a pound of apples at 99p per pound will create a half pence, but those traders are not advertising the price in fractions of a penny.
In the case of petrol however the companies are quite deliberately displaying and advertising a price which cannot be paid. Can it be legal to advertise and sell something at a price that doesn’t exist in the real financial world? I know of no other products that do this, so wonder why petrol companies do it?
I also wonder if the companies realise what a public relations disaster they have created because every time we see this pricing tactic it confirms our belief that they are out to deceive us?