Gas sign of the times

A worker manually changes gas prices at the station where he works in Queens, New York.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Here's a sign of the times: Gas prices have been going up so quickly, gas stations can't keep up with their manual signs. So, a lot of them are switching to electronic ones. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson has more.

ELIZABETH WYNNE JOHNSON: If there's a watchword in fuel prices, it's volatility.

Take this recent string of record-breaking averages in Idaho, rattled off by Dave Carlson of AAA:

DAVE CARLSON: May 7 it was $3.11a€¦ May 8, $3.12a€¦ May 9, $3.13a€¦ May 10 it was $3.14 ...

For gas stations, that's a lot of time wasted shimmying up a ladder or maneuvering a long pole to swap out rows of plastic numbers.

Enter the automated sign.

As prices rise and fall, it can keep pace instantaneously. Greg Stadjuhar of Colorado-based Skyline Products says the signs cost thousands but pay for themselves within a year or two.

GREG STADJUHAR: The owners of the stations realize that when customers are willing to drive across the street or the other side of the intersection or whatever else to save a penny or two, they have to make sure that they are competitive in the market.

No word on what's going to happen to all those long poles.

In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, I'm Elizabeth Wynne Johnson for Marketplace.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Here's a sign of the times: Gas prices have been going up so quickly, gas stations can't keep up with their manual signs. So, a lot of them are switching to electronic ones. Elizabeth Wynne Johnson has more.


ELIZABETH WYNNE JOHNSON: If there's a watchword in fuel prices, it's volatility.

Take this recent string of record-breaking averages in Idaho, rattled off by Dave Carlson of AAA:

DAVE CARLSON: May 7 it was $3.11a€¦ May 8, $3.12a€¦ May 9, $3.13a€¦ May 10 it was $3.14 ...

For gas stations, that's a lot of time wasted shimmying up a ladder or maneuvering a long pole to swap out rows of plastic numbers.

Enter the automated sign.

As prices rise and fall, it can keep pace instantaneously. Greg Stadjuhar of Colorado-based Skyline Products says the signs cost thousands but pay for themselves within a year or two.

GREG STADJUHAR: The owners of the stations realize that when customers are willing to drive across the street or the other side of the intersection or whatever else to save a penny or two, they have to make sure that they are competitive in the market.

No word on what's going to happen to all those long poles.

In Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, I'm Elizabeth Wynne Johnson for Marketplace.

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