In spite of special needs, why are full-service gas stations disappearing?

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This subject is a pet peeve of mine! While I am quite capable of using a self-serve station to fill up my car’s gas tank, not everyone can. Yet, I am noticing that the full-service model is fast disappearing. Why?

Well, the most obvious reason is that independent business people and oil companies can save a few bucks by not paying someone to provide what many of us remember as the “service” in “gas service stations” — such as filling up your gas tank and washing your windows, or at the very least, your front window.

However, there is also the issue that gas companies are now paying so little for gas (in spite of their huge profits), that car repair/gas station owners can no longer afford to sell gasoline because they can’t be competitive with the large gas-only outlets or the gas-plus-variety store outlets.

In fact, the last gas only “service” station with at least one full-service bay in my Southern Ontario town became a full self-service over the weekend.

The result? People who have special needs (e.g., recently having surgery, spraining an ankle and can’t easily get out of the vehicle, or a young mother with a child in a car seat who doesn’t want to leave their child alone) are now going to have to drive 15 to 20 minutes to another community.  Even in an emergency such as their vehicle nearly being out of fuel.

Frankly, I think  it is the worst example of capitalism and free enterprise — when advances in technology are used as the excuse to reduce service.

On that latter point, here is an interesting Google link that shows that, in spite of technology, some see a need for a full-service gas station. Meaning, that the solution to this lack of “service” may be good old fashioned competition.

However, the crux of the matter is whether or not drivers who now use self-serve would change to full-service if such stations were available? I know I would!

2 thoughts on “In spite of special needs, why are full-service gas stations disappearing?

  1. I agree with you. I think it is a shame that full service stations are disappearing. In addition to being important for the elderly or people with disabilities, these gas stations offer(ed) decent jobs for young people, new immigrants and some with minor handicaps. My brother had a job in a service station as a young person, and it was an excellent training ground for him. He eventually went into the automotive business and now owns a car dealership. Not that this would likely happen in most cases, but what I especially remember is what a great job the service station was for him as a young person, saving for his future and picking up some skills along the way. For this reason I continue (where possible) to patronize stations with full service. There is a shortage of lower skill jobs in this country. Eliminating service station attendants jobs is very short sighted.


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