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Logic Question, How many petrol stations in a city

Posted on 2007-11-28
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
Hi All,

If you have given a question where requested to know how many petrol stations in specific city. How you will build your assumbtions and how will guess the number??

I am just curious because i have been asked this in interview :)
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Question by:Abu Hamdan
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Kdo earned 250 total points
ID: 20366392
Hi hammdan_1980,

I would want information not readily available to me.

1.  Population of the immediate area.
2.  Number of registered vehicles in the metropolitan area.
3.  Commute characteristics such as average miles driven to/from work.
4.  Tourist impact.
5.  Express road impact (interstates, turnpikes, etc.)
6.  Average sales volume per station.

Several more items are useful, but this would make a good start



Good Luck,
Kent
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Expert Comment

by:UrosVidojevic
ID: 20366487
In general there are many interview questions like this, with no answer.
So there is no way to learn all answers.
Maybe the best solution for this type of interview questions is good sense of humor.
In other words, you should say something funny or interesting...
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by:Infinity08
ID: 20366534
The variables mentioned by Kdo are just a few of all variables involved in this. All depends on how accurate you want the guess (what will the guess be used for ?).

Questions like these are not about giving the "right" answer, but about the reasoning you use to get to your answer.
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by:UrosVidojevic
ID: 20366659
Similar question:

How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
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by:duckets
ID: 20366828

If you have the web handy, yow about...

http://yellowpages.superpages.com/yp.cbSearch.jsp?cbdt=Gas+Stations

:-)
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by:duckets
ID: 20366853
Hm, link didn't work. Try again:
http://yellowpages.superpages.com/yp.cbSearch.jsp?SRC=comwp&tidPath=00000493175%5E00000494168%5E00000518994&CB=1&CID=00000518994&cbdt=Gas+Stations

However my point was that the best method might be to look it up, either online or in the local white pages of that city!
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Assisted Solution

by:d-glitch
d-glitch earned 100 total points
ID: 20368029
P = Number of people in the city.

R = Ratio of cars to people.   Children don't have cars.  
                                              But some people own a car and drive a truck, taxi, ambulance, etc.

F = How many times a day does a car need to get gas.  This will be less than 1.

N = How many cars visit a gas station per day.

My answer for Boston MA would be:

    (P=600,000 persons) x (R = 0.3 cars/person) x (F=0.2 fillups/day)
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  =  180 gas stations
                                (N=200 (fillups/day)/station)
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by:d-glitch
ID: 20368077
These sort of questions are a sort of interview game.
They test your common sense, your confidence, and your ability to think under a little pressure.

It may not be a fair game, but everyone should be ready to play.

How many piano tuners are there in Chicago???
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Assisted Solution

by:SunBow
SunBow earned 150 total points
ID: 20368365
hammdan_1980 > Logic Question,

If this was math TA, Math uses form of logic called boolean, which can be considered as binary, true|false, yes|no, on|off, etc.

hammdan_1980 > How many petrol stations in a city

Answer: "Yes"

(cities usually have some)( prehaps alternative... Answer: "some")

> How you will build your assumbtions

Describe reality as best one can, tell no lie

> and how will guess the number??

Best one can, and without help (mapsearch tool?) or foreknowledge, guessing numbers has to be out of the question, don't do it.

Kdo > I would want information not readily available to me.

I agree, but without knowing too much, estimating is not acceptable, it serves better as forecast. For actual I opt for precision, defer your six and try for google if no handbook of facts at the ready prompt

UrosVidojevic > Maybe the best solution for this type of interview questions is good sense of humor. In other words, you should say something funny or interesting...

Or repeat in kind, which can become humor, answer by asking similar question, perhaps:

"How many ounces of fuel are in city ______?)
(no using a more common form of gallons or litres can emphasize the point made in response, there being no ready need to compute any knee-jerk response)

Infinity08 > Questions like these are not about giving the "right" answer, but about the reasoning you use to get to your answer.

I might agree, but some are looking to see how many facts one might know, or how well read, perhaps recently it was fact printed on front page of newspaper you already claimed to have read, or possibly created to be unanswereable except to the ringer, the one previously chosen by asker to be awarded the position, and the job offer has no substance beyond their completion of formal process. These, such as having "no substance' mean also little need to be exactly correct.

> Similar question: How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?

or rather (imo) how many balls can fit into a vehicle in city ____"

> However my point was that the best method might be to look it up, either online or in the local white pages of that city!

While I too alluded to that, you can still have issue of getting dated information, even if knowing question and having access to information. Your information may not be current, there may have been two that recently opened that are not yet included, and another three that closed. Not so dissimilar, should you have fortune to achieve the precision, the exact amount for that split-econd, how can you ensure that asker can grade that answer properly, actually having the same information. If they made up q/a prior to interview, there information is dated. If they wait until later to find it themselves, then your information is dated by then.

So to answer using that method, I suggest format

"### 'petrol stations in specific city' according to <resource>"

where it could still serve well to add remark, wisecrack, humor as appendage, if only some lame
"Silly of me, I thought <undesireable brand> closed all of theirs awhile ago"

> or in the local white pages of that city!

eg
"### listed in phone book of that city..."
(still may not have phone, may be listed under two names, etc)
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by:SunBow
ID: 20368391
> How many piano tuners are there in Chicago???

um, does Chicago have any real pianos left? Cool! OK, Do you want me to include all of the unemployed piano tuners, or only those where piano tuning is their primary job?
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by:Abu Hamdan
ID: 20368940
Thanks all for your replies,, which are really very helpfull and actually very near to my answer with some more ideas to consider as assumbtions which KDO mentioned and SunBow ..  The assumbtions are many but the kind of thinking for this problem is measured by how much factors you are taken in consideration.

thanks all ...
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by:Abu Hamdan
ID: 20368965
Also i have to thank d-glitch ,, your answer is smart and direct to the point
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by:SunBow
ID: 20369674
                                                     - good fortune -

Thanks, may it all go well when again you face an asker
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