In the 1986 movie Maximum Overdrive, a comet passing by Earth suddenly causes inanimate objects to come alive. From large trucks to sprinklers, there is no method to this madness. All we know is the machines are pissed, and humans are their target. In all honesty if my whole existence was nothing but heating up old food, I'd be angry too. The microwaves have had enough.
The film primarily takes place at a truck stop, where the gadgets and gizmos aplenty are awake and annoyed. In one memorable scene, a man gets sprayed in the face by a gasoline pump. Is there anything more terrifying than a self-aware gas nozzle? Just ask one guy on TikTok whose machine kept charging him for gas long after he was done filling up his tank. Is this the machines's plan, to clean out our bank accounts one gas pump at a time? You can try it with mine, but you won't get far.
The gas machines are coming for us.
Kylie Flores, who goes by @kyliehflores on TikTok, was asked by her father to upload a video he shot from what appears to be a haunted gas pump. "You gotta check this out," he says dramatically. "I'm already done pumping gas, as you can see, but the amount keeps going up."
Initially I thought this was a TikTok about the insane price of gas. And while that is still applicable, it actually shows a pump that continues to charge Kylie's father long after he has removed the nozzle from his gas tank.
This occurred at an Exxon gas station in Dublin, Calif., and this is me discovering there is a Dublin in California. Sorry to go on a tangent, but Dublin's website is really doubling down (or should I say Dublin down) on the Irish name. There is a clover on the main page, and the site is mostly green. How many people have accidentally visited Dublin, Calif. when they meant to go to Dublin, Ireland? Too many I bet.
Alright, back to the poltergeist pump. A few folks in the comments had some ideas about what was going on. "The transaction ends when you put the nozzle back in the holder," said Douglas Valdez. "So unless you pre pay, it's gonna keep charging."
I've been pumping my own gas for 26 years, and the pump has always stopped charging the second I took my hand off the nozzle. That makes the most sense. If it stopped when the nozzle was put back into the pump, people would be still be paying during the brief travel time of the nozzle back to the pump. We're really getting into the weeds here, but details matter!
Instead of addressing a gas pump that appears to have a mind of its own, a lot of folks commented about the price of gas. I get it, it's getting out of control. Someone in Pasadena, Calif. said they were paying $7.10 per gallon while down in San Diego, it's only slightly less at $6.99.
Outside of California, things are only slightly better. Gas prices seem to sit somewhere between $3.00 and $5.00, although someone in Denver bragged about dropping $2.89. I guess I'm moving to Denver!
The solution to the possessed gas pump might be as simple as a leak.
In March 2022, ABC7 out of Los Angeles reported on a similar issue at a gas station in South Gate, Calif. Just like Kylie's dad, a couple was able to film the incident so they could show it to the cashier. They were "overcharged by $6.00," said the reporter, but the cashier wasn't able to do anything.
The couple left their information with the manager with a promise they would receive a call. After not hearing from the manager, the couple returned to the pump a couple of days later only to discover the problem was still happening. After filming again, they reported this to the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner Weights & Measures Department, and posted it to the South Gate Police Scanner Facebook group.
This group is run by concerned citizen Thomas Buckley who was contacted by an anonymous employee from the gas station. According to them, there was a fuel pump leak in the hose at that gas pump. The manager finally phoned the couple and apologized while offering them a $25 gift card. Hopefully someone will check this other gas pump for a leak because that sounds pretty dangerous.