Laughter is worth a lot of pennies

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Local or Human Interest | 9 comments |

gasrewardpointsThe truck’s gas gauge registered below a quarter of a tank. I rummaged in my purse and checked my grocery store receipt. We had enough reward points for ten cents per gallon off at the grocery store’s gas station.

“If their price is lower than the going rate, we’ll gas up here,” I told Keith as we ate lunch at a local restaurant in Waynesboro. “Otherwise, we’ll wait and get gas on the way home.”

I had noted gas prices at the stations on our way to church last Saturday—I quilted with the ladies for Lutheran World Relief while Keith attended a meeting. BP in Afton had the lowest price per gallon of regular: $2.25.

The grocery store’s station posted the same price. With points, we’d pump 15 gallons and “save” a dollar fifty.


I love playing the gas price game. It’s like a treasure hunt for penny-wise and pound-foolish people like me. There are mobile apps to find cheap gas, but that would spoil the fun.

I don’t always win the game. In fact, on the last trip I made to visit my mother, I got my comeuppance.


When I started out that Friday, the truck registered under half a tank—round trip takes a full tank— and thus I needed to buy gas on the way down. Of course, I preferred to gas up in the afternoon so I could scope out prices in the morning. But that day I had to rely on past experience of which stations had the lowest prices within my under-half-a-tank range.

Driving 29 south, I noted prices for regular gas, starting with a high of $2.39 per gallon dropping to $2.29, $2.25, $2.22 (better), $2.05 (much better), $2.02 and $1.99 in Chatham (much, much better). I could have pulled into that station. But I got greedy.

The previous week, the BP station in Danville had posted $1.95, and that station was still within range. Maybe I’d get lucky again. Problem was, BP Danville is the last gas station along my route south for a good while. If I didn’t fill up there, I’d have to exit, burning both gas and time, and accept whatever price.

I rounded the corner and looked down the highway at the BP posted price. $2.26.


I groaned. And that wasn’t the end of my comeuppance. On the way home, the posted price was $2.05.

Gotcha again.

I laughed, thinking maybe I was “paying” for my greed.


dollarfiftyObviously, I still play the gas price game, and obviously, I don’t always win. But losing gives me a chance to laugh at my penny-wise, pound-foolishness. And for me, laugher is worth a lot of pennies, even a dollar fifty.

How about you?


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  1. ekurie

    I rarely travel anywhere (waiting out a pet injury last year in addition to no family close by) and I have the app but never use it. One station (Murphy) near me is guaranteed to have the lowest price. But if my points off grocery gas price is same or close I go there.

  2. vonettayoung

    My spouse and I are big fans of the Gas Buddy app when we rent a car to visit my mom in NC. But one year, we relied on it too much and forgot to fill up. Thank goodness the woman at the desk was merciful — we would have had to pay $3.25 a gallon as penance!

  3. Gary Fultz

    Our town has the highest prices for 200 miles around (I think). If we travel anywhere out of town we stop for gas.

  4. bigskybuckeye

    I am still wincing from paying an extra “Abe Lincoln” for gas last summer when I stopped in Wheatland, Wyoming. I taught there for one year in the mid-1980s. I filled up close to the south freeway entrance into town. After driving through town and remembering some things places, I returned to the freeway on the north side of town. I discovered I had paid way too much for gas at the other end of town.

    • Carole Duff

      Some gas stations seem to know how to getcha, huh? Hope you were able to laugh at least a little through your pain.

  5. Valeria Ellis

    Haha! I can relate to this post!! I would have stopped at the $1.99, my husband- he would have waited and paid the $2.26z I have no doubt whatsoever-that is the way it would have gone!😂 Fun story!

    • Carole Duff

      Glad you enjoyed the story, Valeria. We humans are so funny, huh?

  6. krc

    Points are a big for us too

    Especially at Subway


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