Would You Wait in Line 12 Hours for $40 Worth of Gas?

May 23, 2008

Today’s Houston Chronicle reported (sorry no link) that two gas stations in Dallas were giving away $40 in free gas to the first 200 cars at each location. The article claimed that some people waited in line for 12 hours! That works out to $3.33 per hour. Not only that, at $3.80 per gallon, it only represents 10.5 gallons of gas.

Like I said last week, gas prices have people not thinking clearly. Either that or they are really hurting.

11 responses to Would You Wait in Line 12 Hours for $40 Worth of Gas?

  1. No way, my time is more valuable than that. Besides it was 88 today in Memphis and humid – imagine what it was like in Texas – I’d have had to run the air conditioning while I was waiting in line – I wouldn’t have saved a dime.

  2. I paid $4.45 (believe it or not) for gas the other day. I was around Downtown LA and there wasn’t another gas station in sight so I had to suck it up and pay the high premium.

    Anyway, as much as that hurt, I just don’t see myself sitting in line that long. I interpret for cases of eviction from time to time so 12 hours worth of work translates to far more than that! So as tempting as the offer is, I don’t see myself doing it.

  3. One thing you also must realize is that many of those who would participate are not able to turn their unproductive time into productive time, and are the very same people that don’t realize that they are broke all the time due to their 2 starbucks coffees a day with some cigarettes while they drive down their road texting on their unlimited texting plan telling their friends about the this or that.

    Those who are desperate enough to need it are probably the ones working the counter at a similar establishment. (Note, my comment isn’t meant to disrespect anyone, just to point out that many such jobs have very low, if not the minimum, wages)

  4. It would depend. If the weather was pleasant enough to sit in the car without the engine running (no a/c required) AND the 12 hours was overnight and didn’t conflict with any other planned activities, I might. The $40 worth of petrol would require you earning a lot more in pre-tax dollars, so it’s equivalent to earning an extra, say $60.

    If the 12 hours was 2 hours in the late evening spent reading the paper or a book, 9 hours sleeping in the car in a queue, and 1 hour in the morning before the pumps opened, that works out to only 3 waking hours – equivalent to earning $20 per hour for those 3 hours. Most people can’t earn decent money at any time they choose, day or night. So getting $60 benefit from 3 hours of dead time and a sleep in the car might be attractive. And they probably wouldn’t be paid $20 an hour for sitting in a car reading a book.

    After all, I spend many hours sitting in my lounge chair blogging, and probably “earn” around $1 per hour from that effort. And I spend around 8 hours per week sitting in my car commuting to and from work each day, which is unpaid time and effort. In fact, it costs me several dollars each hour commuting just in petrol and car costs!

    Then again, my 8-year old son often earns around $40 per hour just busking on the weekend. It’s very hard to assign a realistic “opportunity cost” to one’s time.

  5. The price of gas is causing people to not think clearly for sure.

    I just hope that they were idling their motors while they were waiting to fill up!! :)

  6. The price of gas is causing people to not think clearly for sure.

    I just hope that they were not idling their motors while they were waiting to fill up!! :)

  7. Wait till this shows up as a frugal tip on The Simple Dollar. Frugal tip #444, Get Free Gas by wasting hours at gimmicky events!

  8. It amazes me at how stupid people can be. Unless you have absolutely nothing else in the world to do, you’d be a fool to waste a day for $40. Hell, I could probably grab all of my loose change sitting around the house and come up with more than $40, and it would take me about 5 minutes.

    Oh well, I’ll let people waste their time if they want, it’s their choice. But life is too short to waste the good portion of a day for $40.

  9. Ridiculous. EnoughWealth – $3.33 net per hour doesn’t put you in a 30% tax bracket; so no $40 for 12 hours net isn’t the same as $60 pre-tax. But even if it were, it is still only $5 an hour. Sure you can read a newspaper or sleep, but sleep is significantly less comfortable than at home; and I am sure you could find a whole lot more enjoyable use of your time. I am sure there are even more enjoyable ways of earning $3.33 net an hour. When you are busy, the time goes by faster than when you just sit in a car reading papers or trying to sleep.

    What is the weather like these days in Houston? If it is sunny, then even if the day is pleasant, it still gets awfully hot inside a car, even with windows open. So you have to get out and walk around – not much fun; or you have to run A/C and then you’ll probably spend more gas than you get.

  10. I wouldn’t waste my time… Altho I do check out the prices on gasbuddy.com to find the best price nearby, I generally just dollar cost average my gas.. I dont have very far to drive each week, less than 50 miles i would guess, so i just put the same amount in (20 bucks) regardless of the price.. when it goes up, i buy less gas, when it comes down i buy more. Gas right now is currently running a record 3.74 a gallon here and 20 bucks still gets me thru the entire week, altho its come close to empty a couple times.

  11. JLP, you put up a very nice point.

    The simple and intelligent answer is NO! I can utilize my time and earn more than $40 in 12 hours. But, yes the rising price of gas is worrisome.

    Jeff Clair