Service station etiquette: Why motorists should not move their car before paying for fuel
By Sourced Externally
September 27, 2019
Last week we asked drivers this: When filling up your car, do you drive to an empty parking spot before paying, or pay first and then leave the service bay?
The query, which drew plenty of responses online, was prompted by an angry motorist in South Australia who wrote in frustration about people who top up their fuel, wander into the store, pay and then leave.
As it turns out, this guy might need to turn down the revs, with the Motor Trade Association of WA revealing you “should not” move your vehicle before you’ve paid for your fuel.
“Unless using a ‘pay at the pump’ system or a service station app to pay for fuel, drivers should lock their car and proceed to the customer service counter to settle their outstanding payment,” spokesman Matt Linney said.
“Drivers should not move their vehicles.”
He said there are two main reasons for this: One is the potential for fuel drive-offs and the other is to keep vehicle movements to a minimum.
“In the instance of drive-offs, drivers may – often unintentionally – exit the station without paying,” Mr Linney said.
He said those keen to browse for a snack or magazine “in a manner that would not be considered prompt” should settle their fuel payment first before moving their car to a designated customer bay as a courtesy to waiting drivers.
In a letter earlier this month, Glenelg local Liam Hanna shared his disdain for those who don’t move their car between filling up and paying for their fuel.
Mr Hanna raged that “every other person appears to fill up and then leave their car blocking the others lined up behind them”.
“(They then) wander across, buy a coffee, etc., and aimlessly return with a smirk on their faces and, without indicating, drive off,” he wrote.
Online, drivers shared how they go about re-fuelling.
Donna Roberts said you can’t fill up until the person before you had paid anyway, “so moving the car and parking would only add on additional time that you need to wait”.
“Just exercise a little patience people,” she said.
Bruce Briene said it “depends”.
“If there’s easy access to a bay and there’s a queue I move, if there’s no one waiting I stay,” he wrote.
“If someone is inching their car closer and closer I dawdle, take my time and give them a smile and wave as I slowly return to my car.”
Tracy Hillier said she used to work in the industry and it was preferred that people simply pay before leaving.
“Please don’t move your car until you pay for fuel,” she said.
“It stops us thinking you’re driving off and not paying. A bit of patience goes along way.”
Besides the conundrum of petrol protocol, Mr Linney said there are other bad habits local service station attendants would like drivers to lose:
When using a phone payment app on a mobile device, drivers should not use their phone outside the vehicle and only do so when the car is not running.
Drivers should only park or queue in allocated areas and should not block fuel tanker access points, air-compressor stations or escape routes for vehicles.
Drivers should note their dispenser number before proceeding to the customer service counter.
Drivers should not use the service station forecourt as a rat run.