KAREN COLLIER  |  AUGUST 07, 2015 9:16PM

PETROL stations could consider winding back the clock by pumping fuel for customers at the bowser.

Some consumers would pay an extra $2 for old-fashioned service such as filling tanks and checking oil and water levels, an industry body believes.

The Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association is quizzing more than 1000 customers on what they want from fuel retailers, including whether they would pay a service fee.

“Perhaps it is time for independent retailers to go back to the future and offer full driveway service on at least a part of the forecourt in order to set themselves apart from the larger retailers,” ACAPMA chief Mark McKenzie said.

“From anecdotal feedback, when asked if they would pay 5c a litre more, most people say ‘no’, but if you ask whether they would pay $2 a visit more, the answer is more positive.”

Preliminary work suggests a full service charge of $2 could potentially triple gross profit per fuel customer.

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Full survey results will be presented at a national conference next month.

Circuit Service Station owner George Vlasakakis said some younger drivers pulling in to his Altona North business did a double take when staff offered to pump fuel.

He has provided complimentary driveway service at his combined petrol station and mechanic shop for 33 years.

“It is popular with the elderly and women with children in the back of the car,” Mr Vlasakakis said.

“Most of my customers live in the area so I know them. It’s good for the customer and it’s good for me.”

The Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce doubted driveway service would make a widespread revival.

“The margins on fuel are incredibly low these days, which has driven service station operators to find efficiencies, hence only essential staff numbers,” spokesman David Dowsey said.

“This trend has been market led. Many motorists chase savings of one cent per litre so it is hard to imagine consumers paying, say, a 10c-per-litre premium to be offered fulltime forecourt service.”

The VACC has 93 independent members that provide driveway service if given notice, mainly to disabled or elderly customers.

Extracted in full from:  heraldsun.com.au