Another Oil Futures Market

“Tom McGee’s business is surging faster than the price of gasoline. That’s because PMP Corp. is one of the few places in the U.S. that gas stations can turn to when they need old-style gas pumps adapted to register prices over $4 a gallon. The mechanical dials on many vintage pumps can’t register prices over $3.99 a gallon or ring up single sales north of $99.99.”

Many small-town stations, especially in remote, rural areas, can’t afford to buy new pumps, which can cost as much as $10,000 each. PMP’s retrofits are between $600 and $800.

“PMP has a 20-week backlog, up from three days in March, and Mr. McGee’s 70 workers are doing maximum overtime. He has hired more temporary workers, but it is slow getting them up to speed. The labor-intensive work involves tasks such as printing new numbers on the spinning wheels that form the core of the pricing mechanisms. His suppliers are running out of crucial parts.”

“The work is also done by pump manufacturers like Gilbarco Veeder-Root, part of industrial conglomerate Danaher Corp., of Washington, D.C. An estimated 8,500 of the nation’s 170,000 gas stations have the old-style pumps.”

Aeppel, Timothy. “For PMP, $4 Gas Is Great for Business: Firm Helps Service Stations Adapt Old Pumps for Higher Prices.” Wall Street Journal (2 May).

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121237038897536749.html?mod=todays_us_marketplace

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