In some areas of the United States, only a licensed employee may dispense gas from the pump into your vehicle. In most states, however, you have the ability to use self-service and pump your own gas. A new trend has been growing in some states having attendant-less self-service gas stations. You would think this new trend would save consumers money because there is less labor for the company that should trickle through to the consumer. Let us look a bit closer at the true cost of where you buy your gas.
In the small town of Portales, New Mexico there are three types of places to buy fuel. There is the modern convenient store, the attendant-less gas stations, and one old-fashioned station where the attendant actually pumps your gas, checks your oil and washes your window.
Attendant-less Gas Pumps
There are several attendant-less gas pumps in Portales. At Wal-Mart as well as the others, you pull up to a gas pump, swipe your card, pump your gas and go on your way. You never see or interact with anyone. There is an emergency phone number printed on the pump in case of problems as well as an emergency cut-off button that you can use if you need to. There is also a vending machine that dispenses air where you can check your tire’s air pressure. There are no bathrooms, no drinks, no snacks, but, of course, Wal-Mart is right there if you want something along those lines. One person will go to three or four of these types of gas stations and empty the trash or do service work. One person is actually taking the place of up to 12 employed people. If this saved the consumers any money, it would make sense. Instead, it only saves the gas company who are already making record profits.
The Convenient Store Gas Pumps:
Gas stations that include self-pay gas pumps have a wide selection of snacks and drinks, and a few grocery items are the most prevalent in this small town whose population is about 12,000 people. You have a choice of pre-paying by swiping your card, or going in and paying the attendant and getting your gas before heading on your way. The interesting thing is that both the convenient store and the attendant -less gas pumps cost the same amount. There is not even a penny difference in price.
Full Service Station Gas Pumps:
In Portales there is a small throw-back station where an attendant actually comes out and pumps the gas for you. The full service station charges exactly $0.02 a gallon more than the convenient store or the attendant-less gas station. While the attendant fills your gas tank, he will also wash your windshield and check your oil level. To fill a 30 gallon gas tank at the full service gas station cost you a total of $0.15 extra. $0.15 is a cheap price to pay to keep someone employed. Especially when you consider you do not have to get out of your car, pump your own gas, and even get a free window wash. $0.15 is quite a bargain for an old-fashioned notion called service.
In truth, using an attendant-less gas station is costing America a job. If you do not have any full service gas stations nearby, choose a convenience store rather than one where there is no attendant. At least here, someone is employed and wages are being paid to that employee. Be sure to go in to pay the attendant rather than using the self-pay option at the pump. It is only by keeping people working that America’s economy will improve. If you have the option of a more old-fashioned service station, please, consider letting them have the extra $0.15 a tank of gas will cost.