Price Discrimination at the Pump

January 4th, 2009

One of my first Monday Ideas Posts was about how Petrol Stations could improve their service.

I want to follow that up and push it a bit further.

Cafes are renowned for price discrimination ie Free Trade coffee for $0.50 extra however the coffee beans only make up a minor part of the production cost.

Petrol stations have this with premium petrol but I think they can do better.

Let’s help the customers help themselves.

Have a carbon credit rate, where you pay for your gas plus a premium to cover the avg carbon credits you would use for that tank of gas. 

By my calculations, using 22mpg and 12,000 miles/yr (from here: you would pay$0.0045 per mile or 11 cents a gallon.

Why do this?

  • Customers know about global warming
  • They also still need to fill up their car.
  • You can help them do this without feeling guilty, garner extra revenue but also help build your brand for whent he day comes that fuel is no longer needed.

Thoughts? Would you pay extra for this? Should it be compulsory for businesses to pay the premium? Government vehicles?

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3 Responses to “Price Discrimination at the Pump”

  1. Nathaniel Flick Says:

    I’d certainly pay for the extra, if I knew that the greenhouse gas credits weren’t being bought and sold on an open market like currency. As soon as we stop commoditizing good sense (and healthier, more eco-friendly, living) then I’m wholly on board with this.

  2. Richard Says:

    Sounds like an excellent idea, not sure if your average consumer would pay more, but at least it would raise awareness. The Big Day Out offer a carbon offset when purchasing your tickets, is a good feeling to know your doing your bit.

  3. Mark Lincoln Says:

    Ben I guess the danger is you don’t want to make people feel too comfortable about filling up their car. Let’s face it, a large portion of us don’t really need to use the car as much as we do at all (I can definitely be guilty of this).

    I wonder if this pump idea would make people feel too comfortable about using their cars, i.e. “it’s ok if I take my car for this short trip because I’m helping the environment” type thinking!

    I think on paper it’s an awesome idea but in theory it may actually increase car use? Not sure. Maybe I’m thinking into the pyschology of this too much!

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