Fact Check-Gas stations prices showing $9.99 per gallon may mean station is out of gas

Posts sharing information that gas stations around the United States are pricing gallons of gas as high as $9.99 are largely misleading and missing context. This number is often listed as a default when the gas station is unable to provide gas.

Examples can be seen here and here .

The text on one post reads: “Come on K & Q... how do expect us to work with gas prices $10. This is ridiculous”

The gas station signs show a price of “$9.99”. Various areas of the United States appear to be experiencing this, according to posts on social media.

President Joe Biden said on May 13, 2021 that Colonial Pipeline should be reaching full operational capacity and he expects to see fuel normalcy in the coming weekend, after an attack on the company prompted fuel shortages and panic buying in the southeastern United States (here).

Colonial Pipeline began to slowly restart the nation’s largest fuel pipeline network on May 13, 2021 after a ransomware attack shut the line. Biden urged customers to not get more gas than they need, saying he expects the situation to improve by the weekend and warned gas stations against price gouging.

Multiple news organizations have reported in the past that the “9.99” pricing on a gas station sign can mean that the station is out of gas, not that this is the actual price. Examples can be seen here , here , here .

One user posted a video on Instagram (here), purchasing gas in Charlotte, North Carolina that cost $9.99 per gallon and totaling $90.

Reuters called the gas station, located!1s0x88541f62919ce047%3A0x18535724e3ac34ec!3m1!7e115!!5smobil%20queens%20market%20-%20Google%20Search!15sCgIgAQ&imagekey=!1e10!2sAF1QipPq9dwsDhJEQ3L5fHHcAnWFkI1bx35dEl28Rafl&hl=en , who said that the price was set as $9.99 to deter customers from coming in due to lack of gas. A representative explained that the gas station had “no intentions to charge” that much but customers who used the pumps anyway caused them to malfunction.

One post here shows a Shell station in Richmond, Virginia (here!3m8!1e2!3m6!1sAF1QipPe3mzYLE1oQYrESSGohf5FFVmVhgtvaFEyEn26!2e10!3e12!!7i3141!8i1576!4m16!1m9!2m8!1sshell!3m6!1sshell!2sW+Broad+St+%26+Staples+Mill+Rd,+Richmond,+VA+23230!3s0x89b1146b52e570bb:0xba3b0bf590a83daa!4m2!1d-77.4933363!2d37.5816085!3m5!1s0x0:0xf169325971bb9015!8m2!3d37.5804!4d-77.492362!15sCgVzaGVsbCIDiAEBWg4KBXNoZWxsIgVzaGVsbJIBC2dhc19zdGF0aW9u) with the sign showing the $9.99 price. Reuters spoke to a representative of the gas station via phone, who explained that it temporarily set the price as $9.99 to show it was out of gas. The station did not want to close completely, as other services were still open and only the gas was out.

Signs could also show “9.99” for other reasons, such as the sign being tested (here) or a station being out of gas and the operators being unable to change the sign to display zero or blank (here).


Missing context. Gas stations showing a $9.99 price for gas may also be showing customers that the station is out of gas.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here  .