Station manager fired after selling gas for 69 cents a gallon: “I’m to blame”

Former California gas station manager John Szczecina said he lost his job due to an error in placing a decimal point: Instead of listing his station’s premium gas price as $6.99 per gallon, he posted a price of 69 cents a gallon. 

Drivers soon lined up after friends and family members posted photos on social media and alerted them to the low cost at the Rancho Cordova station — an unheard of price given that the average per gallon cost of regular gasoline is now $5.01 and premium gasoline costs an average of $5.69, according to data from AAA. 

“It was a mistake that I did,” Szczecina told CBS 13 in Sacramento. “I put all three prices on there except the diesel, but the last one kind of didn’t go, you know, right.”

The rush on the gas station to fill up for 69 cents a gallon speaks to the financial strain that many households are facing because of record-high gas prices. The typical driver this year will spend an annualized $4,800 on gas, up from $2,800 a year ago, according to one Wall Street analysis. 

Szczecina said he took responsibility for the error. “I said ‘yeah, it’s my fault, and I’m to blame,” he told CBS 13.

The 69 cent price was posted for three hours, at which point the station had lost about $16,000, according to a GoFundMe that was created for Szczecina by his sister. She later updated the page to say the total loss was closer to $20,000. 

The money will go toward repaying the company for the mistake, she wrote on the fundraising campaign’s page. As of Wednesday afternoon, about $5,600 of the GoFundMe’s goal of $16,000 has been raised. 

Szczecina said he doesn’t blame the drivers for lining up for the cheap gas. 

“I’d do the same thing,” he said.

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