Gas prices have been ridiculious lately, many people are just driving off from the pump, and as such many gas stations are requiring you to pay before you pump. I have issues with this and had a discussion about it one evening with the clerk at the station. I understand that the station expects to get paid for for the gas you just put into your car and that’s a resonable expectation on their part. But the issue I have is a matter of convience. Gas stations are also often refferred to as a Convience Store. Well, I’m the type of person that likes to fill my tank to the brim, go inside and pick up a few drinks, a pack of smokes and what not. The problem with paying before pumping is this.\ 1. You must give exact change prior to pumping\ 2. You have no idea how much gas your tank is going to hold!\ 3. In order to recieve a full tank the attendant wants to you to turst him with your credit card yet doesn’t trust you no to drive off without paying.\ 4. If I pay first either at the pump for a dollar amount that I know won’t exceed my tank capacity, I must initiate a separate transaction inside in order to purchase my other what not’s.\ I explained all of this to the attendant and he wouldn’t budge. I ended up just buying $20 worth of gas 2 drinks and a pack of smokes. He could have made probably $10 off of me if I could have filled my tank to the brim. Oh well his loss and I’ll probably not buy gas from that station again for a long time. Again his loss. All of this got me thinking. How can a gas station owner protect himself while offering maximum convience to his customers. I talked over my idea with my wife on the way home and this is what we came up with. Wouldn’t it be great if you could pull up to a pump, initiate a transaction. Fill your tank completely full. The pump offers you the option to close transaction and print the receipt or enter the store. If you chose to enter the building the card reader at the pump will hold the transaction open giving you time to enter the store and pick up the other things you need. The attendant adds the items to your open transaction and the closes the transaction by you signing the receipt. You get a full tank and the other items you desire and the owner doesn’t get ripped off. In fact he probably made a few more bucks off of you since you filled your tank up. And has built some loyalty with you by offering a convience that other gas stations don’t have. But what if you’re the type that doesn’t wait for the receipt or pushing buttons on the pump when you’re finished? Well, same system as the current one would still apply. It would just time out after a period of time. And to prevent someone from coming along behind you there could be a trigger that prevents gas being pumped on the same transaction twice. This doesn’t seem too difficult to initiate, and the first pumps to add this feature will have my business. Perhaps I’ll write one of the gas companies and see what they think.

This article was last updated on: 09 Nov 2005