Why is it that we can pay with cash just about anywhere, including at self-service check-out lanes and/or kiosks in retail stores for just about any product or service, but our only options at gas pumps are credit or debit cards? I have used automated machines that accept cash for hardware, clothing, groceries, dog IDs, laundry detergent, food, snacks, movie tickets, parking spaces, storage space, and you name it. So why not for gasoline? If automated gas pumps that take cash in the form of bills currently exist in the USA, I have not seen them or heard of their existence.
It seems that offering gas pumps that take cash (bills only) would easily speed up customer service at stations as patrons would not have to walk in to pre-pay or post pay for filling up. Granted, if you could pay by cash at the pump you would be less likely impulsively to buy the junk food plastered all around the register – though that is already the case with those who use credit or debit cards.
To me, providing automated gas pumps that can take bills would have the following benefits:
- Speedier service
- Greater customer capacity
- Provide a desirable new option
- Reduced lines and waits at the inside register(s)
- Lowered labor costs – may not need as many staff people to operate the registers or they can be dedicated to other tasks.
Given the fact that there is little if anything to distinguish gasoline brands from one another, providing a new option for customer convenience seems like a no-brainer. I can still remember when their was overwrought hand-wringing about gas stations converting to self-service. If you don’t, consider a road trip to New Jersey or Oregon – the only two states remaining that require full service for filling your tank. Apparently, these two states are still worked up about the potential dangers of self-service???
I don’t plan to hold my breath for oil companies to suddenly start offering an automated ”cash and go” option at the pump. Remember, we are talking about an industry that is in a constant search for “fossils” – apparently in more ways than one.