Filling station
Overview
 
A filling station, also known as a fueling station, garage, gasbar (Canada), gas station (U.S. and Canada), petrol bunk (India), petrol pump (India), petrol garage, petrol kiosk (Singapore), petrol station (United Kingdom and Hong Kong) "'servo"' in Australia or service station, is a facility which sells fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 and lubricants for motor vehicles.
Encyclopedia
A filling station, also known as a fueling station, garage, gasbar (Canada), gas station (U.S. and Canada), petrol bunk (India), petrol pump (India), petrol garage, petrol kiosk (Singapore), petrol station (United Kingdom and Hong Kong) "'servo"' in Australia or service station, is a facility which sells fuel
Fuel
Fuel is any material that stores energy that can later be extracted to perform mechanical work in a controlled manner. Most fuels used by humans undergo combustion, a redox reaction in which a combustible substance releases energy after it ignites and reacts with the oxygen in the air...

 and lubricants for motor vehicles. The most common fuels sold today are petrol (known also as gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

 or gas in the U.S. and Canada, while "petrol" is also known in Canada), diesel fuel and electric energy. Filling stations that only sell electric energy are also known as charging station
Charging station
An electric vehicle charging station, also called EV charging station, electric recharging point, charging point and EVSE , is an element in an infrastructure that supplies electric energy for the recharging of electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric-gasoline vehicles) or semi-static and mobile...

s.

Fuel dispenser
Fuel dispenser
A fuel dispenser is a machine at a filling station that is used to pump gasoline, diesel, CNG, CGH2, HCNG, LPG, LH2, ethanol fuel, biofuels like biodiesel, kerosene, or other types of fuel into vehicles...

s are used to pump petrol/gasoline, diesel, CNG
Compressed natural gas
Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline , diesel, or propane/LPG. Although its combustion does produce greenhouse gases, it is a more environmentally clean alternative to those fuels, and it is much safer than other fuels in the event of a spill...

, CGH2, HCNG
HCNG
HCNG is a mixture of compressed natural gas and 4–9 percent hydrogen by energy. It may be used as a fuel gas for internal combustion engines and home appliances...

, LPG, LH2, ethanol fuel
Ethanol fuel
Ethanol fuel is ethanol , the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. It is most often used as a motor fuel, mainly as a biofuel additive for gasoline. World ethanol production for transport fuel tripled between 2000 and 2007 from 17 billion to more than 52 billion litres...

, biofuel
Biofuel
Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

s like biodiesel
Biodiesel
Biodiesel refers to a vegetable oil- or animal fat-based diesel fuel consisting of long-chain alkyl esters. Biodiesel is typically made by chemically reacting lipids with an alcohol....

, kerosene
Kerosene
Kerosene, sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage, also known as paraffin or paraffin oil in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Ireland and South Africa, is a combustible hydrocarbon liquid. The name is derived from Greek keros...

, or other types of fuel into vehicles and calculate the financial cost of the fuel transferred to the vehicle. Fuel dispensers are also known as bowsers (in some parts of Australia), petrol pumps (in most Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

 countries) or gas pumps (in North America).

Many filling stations also combine small convenience stores, and some also sell propane
Propane
Propane is a three-carbon alkane with the molecular formula , normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. A by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, it is commonly used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central...

 or butane
Butane
Butane is a gas with the formula C4H10 that is an alkane with four carbon atoms. The term may refer to any of two structural isomers, or to a mixture of them: in the IUPAC nomenclature, however, butane refers only to the unbranched n-butane isomer; the other one being called "methylpropane" or...

 and have added shops to their primary business. Conversely, some chain stores, such as supermarkets, discount superstores, warehouse clubs, or traditional convenience stores, have provided filling stations on the premises.

Terminology

The term "gas station" is mostly used in the US and in Canada, where the fuel is known as "gasoline" or "gas" as in "gas pump". In some regions of Canada, the term "gas bar" is used. Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, mainly in the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, the fuel is known as "petrol", and the term "petrol station" or "petrol pump" is used. In the United Kingdom and South Africa "garage" is still commonly used, even though the petrol station may have no service/maintenance facilities which would justify this description. Similarly, in Australia, the term "service station" ("servo") describes any petrol station. In Japanese English
Wasei-eigo
are Japanese pseudo-Anglicisms: English constructions not used in the English-speaking world or by native English speakers, but that appear in Japanese. This should not be confused for foreign words gairaigo, which generally refer to words from European languages, especially American English...

, it is called a "gasoline stand". In Indian English
Indian English
Indian English is an umbrella term used to describe dialects of the English language spoken primarily in the Republic of India.As a result of British colonial rule until Indian independence in 1947 English is an official language of India and is widely used in both spoken and literary contexts...

, it is called a petrol pump or a petrol bunk. In some regions of America and Australia, many filling stations have a mechanic on duty, but this is uncommon in other parts of the world.

Number of petrol stations worldwide

  • As of 2010, there were 8,787 petrol stations in the U.K, down from about 18,000 in 1992.
  • The USA had 121,446 filling stations (gas stations) in 2002 according to the Census.
  • In Canada, the number is on the decline. As of December 2008, 12,684 were in operation, significantly down from about 20,000 stations recorded in 1989
  • In Japan, the number is on the decline to about 50,000.
  • In Germany, the number dropped down to 15,000 in 2010.
  • In China, according to different reports, the number (year 2009) is about 95,000 to 97,000.
  • In the following countries the number of stations is rising:
    • India – 35,068 (2009, business-standard.com)
    • Turkey – 12,139 (2008)
    • Mexico – 8,200 (2008)
    • Nigeria - perhaps 4,700 (2007)
    • South Africa – 6,500
    • Kenya – perhaps 1,300
    • Tanzania – 1,000
    • Malawi – 500

History of filling stations

The first places that sold gasoline/petrol were pharmacies, as a side business. The first gas/petrol station was the city pharmacy in Wiesloch
Wiesloch
Wiesloch is a city in Germany, in northern Baden-Württemberg. It is situated 13 kilometres south of Heidelberg.After Weinheim, Sinsheim and Leimen it is the fourth largest city of the Rhein-Neckar-Kreis and is in the north-central area near Heidelberg with its neighbouring town Walldorf...

, Germany, where Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz
Bertha Benz was born on 3 May 1849 in Pforzheim, Germany. She married inventor Karl Benz on 20 July 1872, and died 5 May 1944 in Ladenburg...

 refilled the tank of the first automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 on its maiden trip from Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

 to Pforzheim
Pforzheim
Pforzheim is a town of nearly 119,000 inhabitants in the state of Baden-Württemberg, southwest Germany at the gate to the Black Forest. It is world-famous for its jewelry and watch-making industry. Until 1565 it was the home to the Margraves of Baden. Because of that it gained the nickname...

 and back in 1888. Since 2008 the Bertha Benz Memorial Route
Bertha Benz Memorial Route
The Bertha Benz Memorial Route is a German tourist and theme route in Baden-Württemberg and member of the European Route of Industrial Heritage...

 commemorates this event.

United States

The increase in automobile ownership after Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

 started to sell automobiles that the middle class could afford
Ford Model T
The Ford Model T is an automobile that was produced by Henry Ford's Ford Motor Company from September 1908 to May 1927...

 resulted in a greater demand for filling stations. The world's first purpose built gas station was constructed in St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 in 1905 at 420 S. Theresa Avenue. The second gas station was constructed in 1907 by Standard Oil of California (now Chevron
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

) in Seattle, Washington at what is now Pier 32. Reighard's gas station in Altoona, Pennsylvania
Altoona, Pennsylvania
-History:A major railroad town, Altoona was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849 as the site for a shop complex. Altoona was incorporated as a borough on February 6, 1854, and as a city under legislation approved on April 3, 1867, and February 8, 1868...

 claims that it dates from 1909 and is the oldest existing gas station in the United States. Early on, they were known to motorists as "filling stations". The first "drive-in" filling station, Gulf Refining Company opened to the motoring public in Pittsburgh in 1913. Prior to this, automobile drivers pulled into almost any general or hardware store, or even blacksmith shops in order to fill up their tanks. On its first day, the station sold 30 gallons of gasoline at 27 cents per gallon. This was also the first architect-designed station and the first to distribute free road maps.

A typical filling station

Most filling stations are built in a similar manner, with most of the fueling installation underground, pump
Pump
A pump is a device used to move fluids, such as liquids, gases or slurries.A pump displaces a volume by physical or mechanical action. Pumps fall into three major groups: direct lift, displacement, and gravity pumps...

 machines in the forecourt
Forecourt
In architecture a forecourt is an open area in front of a structure's entrance.In archaeology, forecourt is the name given to the area in front of certain types of chamber tomb...

 and a point of service inside a building. Single or multiple fuel tank
Fuel tank
A fuel tank is safe container for flammable fluids. Though any storage tank for fuel may be so called, the term is typically applied to part of an engine system in which the fuel is stored and propelled or released into an engine...

s are usually deployed underground. Local regulations and environmental concerns may require a different method, with some stations storing their fuel in container tanks, entrenched surface tanks or unprotected fuel tanks deployed on the surface. Fuel is usually offloaded from a tanker truck into the tanks through a separate valve, located on the filling station's perimeter. Fuel from the tanks travels to the dispenser pumps through underground pipes. For every fuel tank, direct access must be available at all times. Most tanks can be accessed through a service canal directly from the forecourt.

Older stations tend to use a separate pipe for every kind of available fuel and for every dispenser. Newer stations may employ a single pipe for every dispenser. This pipe houses a number of smaller pipes for the individual fuel types. Fuel tanks, dispenser and nozzles used to fill car tanks employ vapor recovery systems, which prevents releases of vapor into the atmosphere with a system of pipes. The exhausts are placed as high as possible. A vapor recovery system may be employed at the exhaust pipe. This system collects the vapors, liquifies them and releases them back into the lowest grade fuel tank available.

The forecourt is the part of a filling station where vehicles are refueled. Fuel dispensers are placed on concrete plinths, as a precautionary measure. Additional elements may be employed, including metal barriers. The area around the fuel dispensers must have a drainage system. Since fuel sometimes spills on the ground, as little of it as possible should penetrate the soil. Drainage canals in the vicinity of the fuel pumps drain all fluids into a waste container.

If a filling station allows customers to pay at the register, the data from the dispensers may be transmitted via RS232 or Ethernet
Ethernet
Ethernet is a family of computer networking technologies for local area networks commercially introduced in 1980. Standardized in IEEE 802.3, Ethernet has largely replaced competing wired LAN technologies....

 to the point of sale, usually inside the filling station's building, and fed into the station's cash register operating system. The cash register system gives a limited control over the fuel dispenser, and is usually limited to allowing the clerks to turn the pumps on and off, though the process is usually automatic. A separate system is used to monitor the fuel tank's status and quantities of fuel. With sensors directly in the fuel tank, the data is fed to a terminal in the back room, where it can be downloaded or printed out. Sometimes this method is bypassed, with the fuel tank data transmitted directly into an external database.

Some filling stations include tire air pump and automatic car wash
Car wash
A car wash or auto wash is a facility used to clean the exterior and, in some cases, the interior of motor vehicles.- Categories :...

 facilities with vacuum cleaners.

Underground filling stations

The underground modular filling station is a construction model for filling stations that was developed and patented by U-Cont Oy Ltd in Finland in 1993. Afterwards the same solution was developed in Florida, USA. Above-ground modular filling stations were built in the 1980s in eastern Europe and especially in Soviet Union, but for the stations' lack of fire safety they were not built in other parts of Europe. The construction model for underground modular filling station makes the installation time shorter, designing easier and the manufacturing less expensive. As a proof of the model's installation speed an unofficial world record of filling station installation was made by U-Cont Oy Ltd when a modular filling station was built in Helsinki, Finland in less than three days, including groundwork. The safety of modular filling stations has been tested in a filling station simulator, in Kuopio
Kuopio
Kuopio is a city and a municipality located in the region of Northern Savonia, Finland. A population of makes it the ninth biggest city in the country. The city has a total area of , of which is water and half forest...

, Finland. These tests have included for instance burning cars and explosions in the station simulator.

Canada and United States

There are generally two types of filling stations in the US and Canada: premium and discount brands.

Premium brands

Filling stations with premium brands sell well-recognized and often international brands of gasoline, including Exxon
Exxon
Exxon is a chain of gas stations as well as a brand of motor fuel and related products by ExxonMobil. From 1972 to 1999, Exxon was the corporate name of the company previously known as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey or Jersey Standard....

 and its Esso
Esso
Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. Pronounced , it is derived from the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil, and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972, it was largely replaced in the U.S. by...

 brand, Citgo
Citgo
CITGO Petroleum Corporation is a United States-incorporated, Venezuela-owned refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de...

, Hess
Hess Corporation
The Hess Corporation is an integrated oil company based in New York City. The company explores, produces, transports, and refines crude oil and natural gas. Vertically completing the logistical chain, about 1,360 Hess branded filling stations market gasoline to consumers in 16 states along the...

, Chevron
Chevron Corporation
Chevron Corporation is an American multinational energy corporation headquartered in San Ramon, California, United States and active in more than 180 countries. It is engaged in every aspect of the oil, gas, and geothermal energy industries, including exploration and production; refining,...

, Mobil
Mobil
Mobil, previously known as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, was a major American oil company which merged with Exxon in 1999 to form ExxonMobil. Today Mobil continues as a major brand name within the combined company, as well as still being a gas station sometimes paired with their own store or On...

, Shell
Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is the United States-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas...

, Sinclair
Sinclair Oil
Sinclair Oil Corporation is an American petroleum corporation, founded by Harry F. Sinclair on May 1, 1916 as the Sinclair Oil & Refining Corporation by combining the assets of 11 small petroleum companies. Originally a New York corporation, Sinclair Oil reincorporated in Wyoming in 1976...

, Sunoco
Sunoco
Sunoco Inc. is an American petroleum and petrochemical manufacturer headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, formerly known as Sun Company Inc. and Sun Oil Co. ....

 (US), BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

, Valero
Valero
Valero Energy Corporation is a Fortune 500 international manufacturer and marketer of transportation fuels, other petrochemical products, and power based in San Antonio, Texas, United States...

 and Texaco
Texaco
Texaco is the name of an American oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel "Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand....

. Non-international premium brands include Petrobras
Petrobras
Petróleo Brasileiro or Petrobras is a semi-public Brazilian multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the largest company in Latin America by market capitalization and revenue, and the largest company headquartered in the Southern Hemisphere by market...

, Petro-Canada
Petro-Canada
Petro-Canada was a crown corporation of Canada in the field of oil and natural gas. It was headquartered in the Petro-Canada Centre in Calgary, Alberta. In August, 2009, Petro-Canada merged with Suncor Energy, a deal in which Suncor investors received approximately 60 per cent ownership of the...

 (owned by Suncor Energy Canada), and Pemex
Pemex
Petróleos Mexicanos or Pemex is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. As of 2010, with a total asset worth of $415.75 billion, it is the second non-publicly listed largest company in the world by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009...

. Premium brand stations accept credit card
Credit card
A credit card is a small plastic card issued to users as a system of payment. It allows its holder to buy goods and services based on the holder's promise to pay for these goods and services...

s, often issue their own company cards (a.k.a. fuel cards) and may charge higher prices. Many of them have fully automated pay-at-the-pump facilities. Premium gas stations tend to be highly visible from highway
Highway
A highway is any public road. In American English, the term is common and almost always designates major roads. In British English, the term designates any road open to the public. Any interconnected set of highways can be variously referred to as a "highway system", a "highway network", or a...

 and freeway exits, utilizing tall signs to display their brand logos.

Discount brands

Discount brands are often smaller, regional chains or independent stations, offering lower prices on gasoline. Most purchase wholesale gasoline from independent suppliers or from the major petroleum companies. Lower-priced gas stations are also found at some supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

s (Albertsons, Kroger
Kroger
The Kroger Co. is an American supermarket chain founded by Bernard Kroger in 1883 in Cincinnati, Ohio. It reported US$ 76.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2009. It is the country's largest grocery store chain and its second-largest grocery retailer by volume and second-place general retailer...

, Giant, Weis Markets
Weis Markets
Weis Markets, Inc. is a chain of supermarkets based in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, with a presence in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Maryland. In 2011, it operates 162 stores in five states.-History:...

, Safeway
Safeway Inc.
Safeway Inc. , a Fortune 500 company, is North America's second largest supermarket chain after The Kroger Co., with, as of December 2010, 1,694 stores located throughout the western and central United States and western Canada. It also operates some stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern...

, Vons
Vons
Vons is a southern California and southern Nevada supermarket chain and a division of Safeway Inc. It is headquartered in Arcadia, California, and operates stores under the Vons and Pavilions banners.-Beginning:...

, Meijer
Meijer
Meijer, Inc. is a regional American hypermarket chain based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founded in 1934 as a supermarket chain, Meijer is credited with pioneering the modern supercenter concept in 1962. About half of the company's 196 stores are located in Michigan, with additional locations in...

, Loblaws/Real Canadian Superstore
Loblaw Companies
Loblaw Companies Limited is the largest food retailer in Canada, with over 1,400 supermarkets operating under a variety of regional banners, including the namesake Loblaws. LCL is headquartered in Brampton, Ontario...

, Canadian Tire
Canadian Tire
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited is one of Canada's 60 largest publicly traded companies. The firm operates an inter-related network of businesses engaged in retailing hardgoods, apparel and petroleum as well as financial and automotive services, employing more than 58,000 people across Canada...

, and Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle
Giant Eagle, Inc., is a supermarket chain with stores in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. The company was founded in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Supermarket News ranked Giant Eagle No. 21 in the 2009 "Top 75 North American Food Retailers" based on 2008...

), convenience store
Convenience store
A convenience store, corner store, corner shop, commonly called a bodega in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States, is a small store or shop in a built up area that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, alcoholic and soft drinks, and may also offer money order and...

s (7-Eleven
7-Eleven
7-Eleven is part of an international chain of convenience stores, operating under Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd, which in turn is owned by Seven & I Holdings Co...

, Cumberland Farms
Cumberland Farms
Cumberland Farms is a regional chain of convenience stores based in Framingham, Massachusetts, and operating primarily in the eastern United States and Florida. Cumberland Farms operates roughly 600 retail stores, gas stations, and a support system including petroleum and grocery distribution...

, Sheetz
Sheetz
Sheetz, Inc. is a chain of gas stations/convenience stores owned by the Sheetz family. Stores are located in Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia....

 and Wawa
Wawa Food Markets
Wawa Inc. is a chain of convenience store/gas stations located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It operates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. The company's corporate headquarters is located in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, near the community...

), discount stores (Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , branded as Walmart since 2008 and Wal-Mart before then, is an American public multinational corporation that runs chains of large discount department stores and warehouse stores. The company is the world's 18th largest public corporation, according to the Forbes Global 2000...

) and warehouse club
Warehouse club
A warehouse club is a retail store, usually selling a wide variety of merchandise, in which customers are required to buy large, wholesale quantities of the store's products, which makes these clubs attractive to both bargain hunters and small business owners. The clubs are able to keep prices low...

s (Costco
Costco
Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. it is the third largest retailer in the United States, where it originated, and the ninth largest in the world...

, Sam's Club
Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., founded in 1983 and named after Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. , the Sam's Club chain serves more than 47 million U.S. members...

, and BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. , commonly referred to simply as BJ's, is a membership-only warehouse club chain operating on the United States East Coast, as well as in the state of Ohio...

). At some stations (such as Vons
Vons
Vons is a southern California and southern Nevada supermarket chain and a division of Safeway Inc. It is headquartered in Arcadia, California, and operates stores under the Vons and Pavilions banners.-Beginning:...

, Costco
Costco
Costco Wholesale Corporation is the largest membership warehouse club chain in the United States. it is the third largest retailer in the United States, where it originated, and the ninth largest in the world...

, BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's Wholesale Club
BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc. , commonly referred to simply as BJ's, is a membership-only warehouse club chain operating on the United States East Coast, as well as in the state of Ohio...

, or Sam's Club
Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., founded in 1983 and named after Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton. , the Sam's Club chain serves more than 47 million U.S. members...

), consumers are required to hold a special membership card
Loyalty program
Loyalty programs are structured marketing efforts that reward, and therefore encourage, loyal buying behavior — behavior which is potentially beneficial to the firm....

 in order to receive the discounted price, and/or pay only with either the chain's cash card
Gift card
A gift card is a restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued byretailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a non-monetary gift....

 or a credit card issuer exclusive to that chain. In some areas, such as New Jersey, this practice is illegal, and stations are required to sell to all. Some convenience stores, such as 7-Eleven
7-Eleven
7-Eleven is part of an international chain of convenience stores, operating under Seven-Eleven Japan Co. Ltd, which in turn is owned by Seven & I Holdings Co...

 and Circle K
Circle K
Circle K is an international chain of convenience stores, founded in 1951, in El Paso, Texas, United States. It is owned and operated by the Canadian-based Alimentation Couche-Tard.-Overview:...

, have co-branded their stations with one of the premium brands.

Filling stations outside Canada and the United States

Some countries have only one brand of petrol station. In Mexico, where the oil industry is state-owned and prices are regulated, the country's main operator of petrol stations is Pemex
Pemex
Petróleos Mexicanos or Pemex is a Mexican state-owned petroleum company. As of 2010, with a total asset worth of $415.75 billion, it is the second non-publicly listed largest company in the world by total market value, and Latin America's second largest enterprise by annual revenue as of 2009...

. In Malaysia, Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 is the dominant player by number of stations with government owned Petronas
Petronas
PETRONAS, short for Petroliam Nasional Berhad, is a Malaysian oil and gas company that was founded on August 17, 1974. Wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia, the corporation is vested with the entire oil and gas resources in Malaysia and is entrusted with the responsibility of developing and...

 coming in second. Meanwhile in Indonesia, the dominant player by number of stations is the government-owned Pertamina
Pertamina
Pertamina is an Indonesian government-owned corporation which extracts and refines the country's oil and gas reserves. It was created in August 1968 by the merger of Pertamin and Permina...

, although other companies such as Total
Total S.A.
Total S.A. is a French multinational oil company and one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies in the world.Its businesses cover the entire oil and gas chain, from crude oil and natural gas exploration and production to power generation, transportation, refining, petroleum product marketing, and...

 and Shell are increasingly found in big cities such as the capital Jakarta
Jakarta
Jakarta is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. Officially known as the Special Capital Territory of Jakarta, it is located on the northwest coast of Java, has an area of , and a population of 9,580,000. Jakarta is the country's economic, cultural and political centre...

 or Surabaya
Surabaya
Surabaya is Indonesia's second-largest city with a population of over 2.7 million , and the capital of the province of East Java...

.

Some companies, such as Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

, use their brand worldwide, however, Chevron uses its inherited brand Caltex
Caltex
Caltex is a petroleum brand name of Chevron Corporation used in more than 60 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East, and southern Africa.-History:...

 in Asia Pacific, Australia and Africa, and its Texaco
Texaco
Texaco is the name of an American oil retail brand. Its flagship product is its fuel "Texaco with Techron". It also owns the Havoline motor oil brand....

 brand in Europe and Latin America. ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil
Exxon Mobil Corporation or ExxonMobil, is an American multinational oil and gas corporation. It is a direct descendant of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil company, and was formed on November 30, 1999, by the merger of Exxon and Mobil. Its headquarters are in Irving, Texas...

 uses its Exxon
Exxon
Exxon is a chain of gas stations as well as a brand of motor fuel and related products by ExxonMobil. From 1972 to 1999, Exxon was the corporate name of the company previously known as Standard Oil Company of New Jersey or Jersey Standard....

 and Mobil
Mobil
Mobil, previously known as the Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, was a major American oil company which merged with Exxon in 1999 to form ExxonMobil. Today Mobil continues as a major brand name within the combined company, as well as still being a gas station sometimes paired with their own store or On...

 brands but is still known as Esso
Esso
Esso is an international trade name for ExxonMobil and its related companies. Pronounced , it is derived from the initials of the pre-1911 Standard Oil, and as such became the focus of much litigation and regulatory restriction in the United States. In 1972, it was largely replaced in the U.S. by...

 (the forerunner company name, Standard Oil - S. O.) in many places. In Brazil, the main operator is Petrobras
Petrobras
Petróleo Brasileiro or Petrobras is a semi-public Brazilian multinational energy corporation headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is the largest company in Latin America by market capitalization and revenue, and the largest company headquartered in the Southern Hemisphere by market...

 but Esso, Ipiranga, Texaco and Shell are also present. In the United Kingdom, the two largest are BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

 and Shell. Supermarket chains also operate filling stations, such as Asda
Asda
Asda Stores Ltd is a British supermarket chain which retails food, clothing, general merchandise, toys and financial services. It also has a mobile telephone network, , Asda Mobile...

 and Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

.

Indian Oil operates approximately 15,000 petrol stations in India.

Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 is the only nation in the world that has filling stations dispensing hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 fuel for cars powered by fuel cell
Fuel cell
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy from a fuel into electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen or another oxidizing agent. Hydrogen is the most common fuel, but hydrocarbons such as natural gas and alcohols like methanol are sometimes used...

s. It is also the only nation capable of producing hydrogen in adequate quantities, because Iceland's volcanic activity gives it plentiful geothermal energy
Geothermal power
Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. Earth's geothermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet and from radioactive decay of minerals...

.

Canada

In British Columbia, it is now law that customers either pre-pay for the fuel or pay at the pump. The law is called "Grant's Law" and is intended to protect workers from "gas-and-dash" crimes.
In other provinces pump-first-and-pay-later option is still widely available, even though some pumps may require either a prepayment or a payment at the pump at night hours

Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, most petrol stations allow for customers to pump fuel before settling the bill. Some petrol stations have pay-at-the-pump facilities.

United Kingdom

Most stations require the customer to pump the fuel, then pay in the shop. In some cases, often when a station has been having problems with fuel theft, they may temporarily require advance payment.

A large majority of stations will allow customers to pay with a chip and pin
Chip and PIN
Chip and PIN is the brandname adopted by the banking industries in the United Kingdom and Ireland for the rollout of the EMV smartcard payment system for credit, debit and ATM cards.- History :...

 device in store. Many have a pay at the pump
Pay at the pump
Pay at the pump is a system used at some filling stations where customers can pay for their fuel by inserting a credit or debit card into a slot on the pump, bypassing the requirement to make the transaction with the station attendant or to walk away from one's vehicle.The system was introduced in...

 system, where customers can enter their Pin number prior to filling.

United States

In small towns and rural areas, gas stations sometimes allow customers to pump gas first and pay afterwards. Due to the higher incidence of crime in large urban areas (especially drive-offs), or clerks too busy to deal with customers short of funds, all customers there must generally pay before pumping fuel.

Modern gas stations have pay-at-the-pump capabilities — in most cases credit, debit
Debit card
A debit card is a plastic card that provides the cardholder electronic access to his or her bank account/s at a financial institution...

, ATM cards, fuel card
Fuel card
A fuel card or fleet card is used as a payment card most commonly for gasoline, diesel and other fuels at gas stations. Fleet cards can also be used to pay for vehicle maintenance and expenses at the discretion of the fleet owner or manager. The use of a fleet card also eliminates the need for...

s and fleet cards are accepted. At some stations, cash is also taken at the pump, although customers must collect their change at a cashier window which is often bullet-proof. Occasionally a station will have a pay-at-the-pump-only period per day, when attendants are not present, often at night, and some stations are pay-at-the-pump-only 24 hours a day.

Types of service

Filling stations typically offer one of three types of service to their customers: full service, minimum service or self service.

Full service
An attendant (gas jockey
Gas jockey
A gas jockey, or gas station attendant, is someone who works at a full service gas station performing services other than working the register. Their jobs include pumping gas, wiping windshields, checking your oil, and in the past, cranking your car to get it started...

) operates the pumps, often wipes the windshield, and sometimes checks the vehicle's oil level and tire pressure, then collects payment (and perhaps a small tip).

Minimum service
An attendant operates the pumps. This is often required due to legislation that prohibits customers from operating the pumps.

Self service
The customer performs all required service. Signs informing the customer of filling procedures and cautions are displayed on each pump.

United States

In the past, filling stations in the United States offered a choice between full service and self service. Until the 1970s, full service was the norm, and self service was rare.

The first self service station in Canada was located in Winnipeg
Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada, and is the primary municipality of the Winnipeg Capital Region, with more than half of Manitoba's population. It is located near the longitudinal centre of North America, at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers .The name...

, Manitoba, in 1949 and was operated by independent Henderson Thriftway Petroleum, run by Bill Henderson. The first self service gas station in the United States was in Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

, in 1958, run by Sam Rosenbaum.

Today, few stations advertise full service. Full service stations are more common in wealthy and upscale areas. The cost of full service is usually assessed as a fixed amount per U.S. gallon.

All stations in New Jersey and Oregon offer only full service and mini service; attendants are required to pump gas because customers are barred by statutes in both states from pumping their own gas. New Jersey banned self-service gasoline in 1949 after lobbying by service station owners. Proponents of the ban cite safety and jobs as reasons to keep the ban.
Likewise, the 1951 Oregon statute banning self-service gasoline lists seventeen different justifications, including the flammability of gas, the risk of crime from customers leaving their car, the toxic fumes emitted by gasoline, and the jobs created by requiring mini service. In addition, the ban on self-service gasoline is seen as part of Oregonian culture. One commentator noted, “The joke is when babies are born in Oregon, the doctor slaps their bottom, ‘No self-serve and no sales tax’ [. . .] It’s as much a cultural issue as an economic issue. It’s a way of life.”
In 1982, Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure sponsored by the service station owners, which would have legalized self-service gas.

The town of Huntington, New York
Huntington, New York
The Town of Huntington is one of ten towns in Suffolk County, New York, USA. Founded in 1653, it is located on the north shore of Long Island in northwestern Suffolk County, with Long Island Sound to its north and Nassau County adjacent to the west. Huntington is part of the New York metropolitan...

 bans gasoline self-service to save jobs. The ban went in effect in the early 1970s during a recession.

The constitutionality of the self-service bans has been disputed. The Oregon statute was brought into court in 1989 by ARCO
ARCO
Atlantic Richfield Company is an oil company with operations in the United States as well as in Indonesia, the North Sea, and the South China Sea. It has more than 1,300 gas stations in the western part of the United States. ARCO was originally formed by the merger of East Coast-based Atlantic...

, and the New Jersey statute was challenged in court in 1950 by a small independent service station, Rein Motors. Both failed. New Jersey governor Jon Corzine
Jon Corzine
Jon Stevens Corzine is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and of MF Global, and a one time American politician, who served as the 54th Governor of New Jersey from 2006 to 2010. A Democrat, Corzine served five years of a six-year U.S. Senate term representing New Jersey before being elected Governor...

 sought to lift the ban on self service for New Jersey. He asserted that it would be able to lower gas prices, but some New Jerseyans have argued that it can cause drawbacks, especially unemployment.

In New Jersey and Oregon, it is legal for customers to pump their own diesel (although not every station permits diesel customers to do so; truck stop
Truck stop
A truck stop is a commercial facility predicated on providing fuel, parking, and often food and other services to motorists and truck drivers...

s typically do). In Oregon, "certain nonretail" customers may also pump their own fuel.

Other goods and services commonly available

Many gas stations also have convenience store
Convenience store
A convenience store, corner store, corner shop, commonly called a bodega in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States, is a small store or shop in a built up area that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, alcoholic and soft drinks, and may also offer money order and...

s which sell food, beverages, cigarettes, lottery tickets, motor oil, and sometimes auto parts. Prices for these and other items tend to be higher at convenience stores than they would be at a supermarket or discount store. Sometimes, cigarettes are priced higher than normal, or they can be priced at the state minimum at stations such as Hess
Hess Corporation
The Hess Corporation is an integrated oil company based in New York City. The company explores, produces, transports, and refines crude oil and natural gas. Vertically completing the logistical chain, about 1,360 Hess branded filling stations market gasoline to consumers in 16 states along the...

, Sheetz
Sheetz
Sheetz, Inc. is a chain of gas stations/convenience stores owned by the Sheetz family. Stores are located in Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia....

, Wawa
Wawa Food Markets
Wawa Inc. is a chain of convenience store/gas stations located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It operates in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Florida. The company's corporate headquarters is located in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania, near the community...

, and Royal Farms
Royal Farms
Royal Farms is a chain of convenience stores in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Most of the stores also have gasoline sold on the premises. The gasoline is branded as Royal Farms.-Overview:...

.

In some U.S. states, beer, wine, and liquor are sold in gas stations, though this practice varies according to state law (see Alcohol laws of the United States by state
Alcohol laws of the United States by state
This list of alcohol laws of the United States by State provides an overview of alcohol-related laws by state throughout the United States. This list is not intended to provide a breakdown of such laws by local jurisdiction within a state; see that state's alcohol laws page for more detailed...

). Nevada allows the sale of beer, wine, liquor, and the operation of slot and video poker
Video poker
Video poker is a casino game based on five-card draw poker. It is played on a computerized console similar in size to a slot machine.-History:...

 machines at gas stations 24/7. Missouri also allows the sale of beer, wine, and liquor without limitation at gas stations (see Alcohol laws of Missouri
Alcohol laws of Missouri
The alcohol laws of Missouri are among the most permissive in the United States when compared to other U.S. states, though Nevada's and Louisiana's are similar...

).

Many gas stations also provide squeegee
Squeegee
A squeegee, squilgee or sometimes squimjim, is an onomatopoeically named tool with a flat, smooth rubber blade, used to remove or control the flow of liquid on a flat surface...

s, towels, and toilet facilities for customer use, but discount gas stations might not provide those amenities. Many gas stations have air compressor
Gas compressor
A gas compressor is a mechanical device that increases the pressure of a gas by reducing its volume.Compressors are similar to pumps: both increase the pressure on a fluid and both can transport the fluid through a pipe. As gases are compressible, the compressor also reduces the volume of a gas...

s with tire gauges and water machines. Some machines are free of charge, while others charge a small fee to use (usually around 75 cents). In many states of the U.S., state law requires that paying customers must be provided with free air compressor service. In most cases, a token provided by the attendant is used in lieu of coins. As late as the 1960s, many service stations in the U.S. provided free maps to customers.

Some gas stations are equipped with car wash
Car wash
A car wash or auto wash is a facility used to clean the exterior and, in some cases, the interior of motor vehicles.- Categories :...

es. Car washes are sometimes offered free of charge or at a discounted price with a certain amount of gas purchased. Conversely, some car washes operate gas stations to supplement their businesses.

There are a number of gas stations with a fast food outlet inside, such as McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

, Jack in the Box, Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain and international franchise that offers different styles of pizza along with side dishes including pasta, buffalo wings, breadsticks, and garlic bread....

, Sbarro
Sbarro
Sbarro is a bankrupt chain of pizza restaurants that specializes in traditional Italian cuisine, including its most popular menu item "pizza by the slice." Its headquarters is located in Melville, Huntington, New York.- History :...

, Subway
Subway (restaurant)
Subway is an American restaurant franchise that primarily sells submarine sandwiches and salads. It is owned and operated by Doctor's Associates, Inc. . Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with 35,519 restaurants in 98 countries and territories as of October 25th, 2011...

, Dunkin Donuts, Taco Bell
Taco Bell
Taco Bell is an American chain of fast-food restaurants based in Irvine, California. A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., which serves American-adapted Mexican food. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, other specialty items, and a variety of "Value Menu" items...

, or Wendy's
Wendy's
Wendy's is an international fast food chain restaurant founded by Dave Thomas on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio, United States. The company decided to move its headquarters to Dublin, Ohio, on January 29, 2006. It has been owned by Triarc since 2008...

. These are usually "express" versions with limited seating and limited menus, though some may be regular-sized and have spacious seating. These larger-sized restaurants are common at truck stops and toll road service plazas. In Canada and some areas of the United States, it is common to find a small Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons
Tim Hortons Inc. is a Canadian fast casual restaurant known for its coffee and doughnuts. It is also Canada's largest fast food service with over 3000 stores nationwide. It was founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, by Canadian hockey player Tim Horton and Jim Charade, after an initial venture in...

 outlet inside gas stations.

Fuel prices in Europe

In European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU) member states, petrol (gas) prices are much higher than in North America due to higher fuel excise or taxation, although the base price is also higher than in the U.S. Occasionally, price rises trigger national protests. In the UK a large-scale protest in the summer of 2000, known as 'The Fuel Crisis', caused wide-scale havoc not only across the UK, but also in some other EU countries. The British government eventually backed down by indefinitely postponing a planned increase in fuel duty. This was partially reversed during December 2006 when Gordon Brown (UK Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

) raised the fuel duty by 1.25 pence per litre.

In much of Europe, including Britain, France and Germany, filling stations operated by large supermarket and hypermarket outlets usually price fuel more competitively than stand-alone filling stations. In most of mainland Europe, sales tax is lower on diesel fuel than on petrol (gas), and diesel is accordingly the cheaper fuel: in the UK and in Switzerland, however, diesel enjoys no tax advantage and retails at a higher price than petrol.

Fuel prices in North America

Nearly all filling stations in North America advertise their prices on large signs outside the stations. Some locations have laws requiring such signage.

In Canada and the United States, federal, state/provincial and local sales taxes are usually included in the price, although Petro Canada has started to provide a complete tax breakdown on purchase receipts and it is also posted at the pump. Gas taxes are often intended to fund transportation projects such as the maintenance of existing roads and construction of new ones. However, sometimes the funds are directed to other projects or government expenses.

In the United States, the states of California and Hawaii typically have the highest gasoline prices, while the lowest prices can be found in oil producing states like Oklahoma and Texas. In Canada, prices are typically highest in the provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, and the lowest in the oil-producing province of Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

. The provinces of Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island
Prince Edward Island is a Canadian province consisting of an island of the same name, as well as other islands. The maritime province is the smallest in the nation in both land area and population...

 (PEI), Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador is the easternmost province of Canada. Situated in the country's Atlantic region, it incorporates the island of Newfoundland and mainland Labrador with a combined area of . As of April 2011, the province's estimated population is 508,400...

, New Brunswick
New Brunswick
New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the only province in the federation that is constitutionally bilingual . The provincial capital is Fredericton and Saint John is the most populous city. Greater Moncton is the largest Census Metropolitan Area...

, and Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

 have instituted gasoline price regulation, which is intended to protect small rural gas stations from low profit margins due to low volume.

Individual gas stations in the United States have little if any control over gasoline prices. The wholesale price of gasoline is determined according to area by oil companies which supply the gasoline, and their prices are largely determined by the world markets for oil. Individual gas stations are unlikely to sell gasoline at a loss, and the margin
Profit margin
Profit margin, net margin, net profit margin or net profit ratio all refer to a measure of profitability. It is calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the revenue.Net profit Margin = x100...

—typically between 7 and 11 cents a U.S. gallon—that they make from gasoline sales is limited by the fact that the market is highly competitive. A gas station which charges significantly more than the wholesale price will lose customers to other gas stations. Because of this, most gas stations sell higher-margin food products inside their convenience stores.

Even with oil market fluctuations, prices for gasoline in the United States are among the lowest in the industrialized world; this is principally due to a difference in taxes. While the price of gasoline in Europe is more than twice that in the United States, the price of gas excluding taxes is nearly identical in the two areas. Some Canadians and Mexicans, close to the U.S. border, drive into the United States to purchase cheaper gasoline at gas stations in border communities.

Due to heavy fluctuations of gas price in the United States, some gas stations offered their customers the option to buy and store gas for future uses, such as the service provided by First Fuel Bank.

In order to save money, some consumers in Canada and the United States inform each other about low and high prices through the use of gasoline price website
Gasoline price website
A gasoline price website is a type of website that provides current fuel price information for different filling stations. Supported fuel types generally include gasoline, but may also include diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, biofuels and recharge electricity....

s. Such websites allow users to share prices advertised at filling stations with each other by posting them to a central server. Consumers then may check the prices listed in their geographic area in order to select the station with the lowest price available at the time. Some television and radio stations also compile pricing information via viewer/listener reports of pricing or reporter observations and present it as a regular segment of their newscasts, usually before or after traffic reports. These price observations must be done visually by reading the pricing sign outside a station, as many companies specifically prohibit their employees from publicizing their prices via a telephone inquiry from a customer due to competitive concerns. In Canada it is illegal to provide any gas pricing from a gas station via phone as per the federal government. It is criminal offence to get into arrangements with other competitors, suppliers or customers for any of the following arrangements written or verbal:
  • To fix prices and exchange information on prices or cost (including discounts and rebates).

  • To limit or restrain competition unduly.

  • Conduct in misleading or deceptive practices.


Gas stations must never hold discussions with other competitors regarding pricing policies and methods, terms of sale, costs, allocation of markets or boycotts of our petroleum products.

Fuel prices elsewhere

In other energy-importing countries like Japan, gasoline/petroleum costs are higher than in the United States because of fuel transportation costs or taxes. On the other hand, some of the major oil-producing countries such as the Gulf States, Iran, Iraq, and Venezuela provide subsidized fuel at well below market prices. This practice tends to encourage heavy consumption. Hong Kong has some of the highest pump prices in the world, but most customers are given discounts as card members. Also in Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

 a programme called Fuelwatch means that most WA filling stations have to notify their "tomorrow prices" by 2pm each day. Prices are changed at 6am each morning, and must be held for 24 hours. Each afternoon, the prices for the next day are released to the public and the media, allowing consumers to make a decision whether to fill up today or tomorrow, safe in the knowledge that prices cannot change.

Service stations

In New Zealand, a filling station is often referred to as a service station, garage, or petrol station, even though the filling station may not offer mechanical repairs or assistance with dispensing fuel. Levels of service available include full service, for which assistance in dispensing fuel is offered, as well as offers to check tyre pressure or clean vehicle windscreens. This type of service is becoming uncommon in New Zealand, particularly Auckland. Further south of Auckland, many filling stations offer full service. There is also help service or assisted service, for which customers must request assistance before it is given, and self service, for which no assistance is available.

In the UK, a 'service station' refers to much larger facilities, usually attached to motorways (see rest area
Rest area
A rest area, travel plaza, rest stop, or service area is a public facility, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting on to secondary roads...

) or major truck routes, which provide food outlets, large parking areas, and often other services such as hotels, arcade games, and shops in addition to 24-hour fuel supplies and a higher standard of restrooms. Fuel is typically more expensive from these outlets due to their premium locations. UK service stations do not usually repair automobiles.

In the U.S., a filling station that also offers services such as oil changes and mechanical repairs to automobiles is called a service station. Until the 1970s, the vast majority of gas stations were service stations; now only a minority are. This kind of business provided the name for the U.S. comic strip Gasoline Alley
Gasoline Alley
Gasoline Alley is a comic strip created by Frank King and currently distributed by Tribune Media Services. First published November 24, 1918, it is the second longest running comic strip in the US and has received critical accolades for its influential innovations...

, where a number of the characters worked.
List of Gas stations. This arrangement occurs on many toll road
Toll road
A toll road is a privately or publicly built road for which a driver pays a toll for use. Structures for which tolls are charged include toll bridges and toll tunnels. Non-toll roads are financed using other sources of revenue, most typically fuel tax or general tax funds...

s and some interstate freeways and is called an oasis, service plaza, or truck stop
Truck stop
A truck stop is a commercial facility predicated on providing fuel, parking, and often food and other services to motorists and truck drivers...

. In many cases, these centers might have a food court or cafeteria. In the U.S., Pilot Flying J and TravelAmerica are two of the most common full-service chains.

Often, the state government maintains public rest area
Rest area
A rest area, travel plaza, rest stop, or service area is a public facility, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting on to secondary roads...

s directly connected to freeways, but does not rent out space to private businesses, as this is specifically prohibited by law via the Interstate Highway Act of 1956
Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act , was enacted on June 29, 1956, when Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law...

 which created the national Interstate Highway System
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, , is a network of limited-access roads including freeways, highways, and expressways forming part of the National Highway System of the United States of America...

, except sites on freeways built before January 1, 1960, and toll highways that are self-supporting but have Interstate designation, under a grandfather clause
Grandfather clause
Grandfather clause is a legal term used to describe a situation in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations, while a new rule will apply to all future situations. It is often used as a verb: to grandfather means to grant such an exemption...

. As a result, such areas often provide only minimal services such as restrooms and vending machines.

In turn, private entrepreneurs develop additional facilities, such as restaurants, gas stations, and motels in clusters on private land adjacent to major interchanges. Because these facilities are not directly connected to the freeway, they usually have huge signs on poles several hundred feet high. This way, travelers will be able to spot them several minutes in advance and exit accordingly. Sometimes, the state will also post small official signs (normally blue) indicating what types of gas stations, restaurants, and/or hotels are available at an upcoming exit; businesses may add their logos to these signs for a fee.

Octane

In Australia, gasoline is unleaded, and available in 91 (Normally uses up to 10% ethanol
Ethanol
Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

), 95, 98 and 100 octane
Octane
Octane is a hydrocarbon and an alkane with the chemical formula C8H18, and the condensed structural formula CH36CH3. Octane has many structural isomers that differ by the amount and location of branching in the carbon chain...

s (names of various gasolines differ from brand to brand), fuel additives for use in cars originally designed for leaded fuel are available at most gas stations.

In Canada, the most commonly found octane grades are 87 (regular), 89 (mid grade) and 91 (premium), using the "(R+M)/2 Method".

In China, the most commonly found octane grade is RON 91 (regular), 93 (mid grade) and 97 (premium). Almost all of the fuel has been unleaded since 2000. In some premium gas stations in large cities, such as Petrol China and SinoPec, RON 98 gas is sold for racing cars.

In Europe, gasoline is unleaded and available in 95 RON (Eurosuper) and, in nearly all countries, 98 RON (Super Plus) octanes; in some countries, 91 RON octane gasoline is offered as well. In addition, 100 RON petrol is offered in some countries in continental Europe (Shell
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 markets this as V-Power Racing http://www.shell.com/home/content/products_services/on_the_road/fuels/shell_vpower_shell_vpower_racing/). Some stations offer 98 RON with lead substitute (often called "Lead-Replacement Petrol, or LRP).

In New Zealand, petrol is unleaded, and most commonly available in 91 RON ("Regular") and 95 RON ("Premium"). 98 RON is available at selected BP ("Ultimate") and Mobil ("Synergy 8000") service stations instead of the standard 95 RON. 96 RON was replaced by 95 RON, and subsequently abolished in 2006. Leaded fuel was abolished in 1996.

In the UK, the most common petrol grade (and lowest octane generally available) is 'Premium' 95 RON unleaded. 'Super' is widely available at 97 RON and some large brands offer 98 - 99 RON fuel as a premium product costing up to 10% more than standard 'premium' fuel (for example Shell
Shell Oil Company
Shell Oil Company is the United States-based subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil company of Anglo Dutch origins, which is amongst the largest oil companies in the world. Approximately 22,000 Shell employees are based in the U.S. The head office in the U.S. is in Houston, Texas...

 V-Power
, BP
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

 Ultimate
or Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

 99
). Leaded fuel is not widely available. A 102-octane fuel is available in the UK at a limited number of BP stations (for a far higher price than other fuels), for racers and car enthusiasts. Although BP will be removing BP Ultimate 102 octane unleaded from its range of fuels from the end of March 2010
In the United States, all motor vehicle gasoline is unleaded
Tetra-ethyl lead
Tetraethyllead , abbreviated TEL, is an organolead compound with the formula 4Pb. An inexpensive additive, its addition to gasoline from the 1920's allowed octane ratings and thus engine compression to be boosted significantly, increasing power and fuel economy...

 and is available in several grades, which are differentiated by octane rating
Octane rating
Octane rating or octane number is a standard measure of the anti-knock properties of a motor or aviation fuel. The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating...

: 87 (Regular), 89 (Mid-Grade), and 93 (Premium) are typical grades http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?siteId=us-en&FC2=/us-en/html/iwgen/leftnavs/zzz_lhn3_4_1.html&FC3=/us-en/html/iwgen/shell_for_motorists/fuels/fuel_facts/fuel_facts_2707.html. The maximum octane rating in California is generally 91. Minimum octane levels are often lower in the Mountain States, where regular unleaded can be rated as low as 85 octane.

In the U.S. gasoline is described in terms of its "pump octane", which is the mean
Arithmetic mean
In mathematics and statistics, the arithmetic mean, often referred to as simply the mean or average when the context is clear, is a method to derive the central tendency of a sample space...

 of their "RON" (Research Octane Number) and "MON" (Motor Octane Number). Labels on gasoline pumps in the U.S. typically describe this as the "(R+M)/2 Method". Some nations describe fuels according to the traditional RON or MON ratings, so octane ratings cannot always be compared with the equivalent U.S. rating by the "(R+M)/2 method".

Differences in fuel dispensers

In Europe and Australia, the customer selects one of several color-coded nozzles depending on the type of fuel required. The filler pipe of unleaded fuel is smaller than the one for leaded (substitute) ones. The tank filler opening has a corresponding diameter. This is to prevent filling the tank with the wrong fuel. Leaded fuel damages the catalytic converter
Catalytic converter
A catalytic converter is a device used to convert toxic exhaust emissions from an internal combustion engine into non-toxic substances. Inside a catalytic converter, a catalyst stimulates a chemical reaction in which noxious byproducts of combustion are converted to less toxic substances by dint...

. In some European countries, leaded fuel is no longer generally available, or LRP (lead replacement petrol) may be the only such fuel available.

In most stations in Canada and the USA, the pump often has a single nozzle and the customer selects the desired octane grade by pushing a button. Some pumps require the customer to pick up the nozzle first, then lift a lever underneath it. Others are designed so that lifting the nozzle automatically releases a switch. Some newer stations now have separate nozzles for different types of fuel. Where diesel fuel is provided, it is usually dispensed from a separate nozzle even if the various grades of gasoline share the same nozzle.

Motorists occasionally pump gasoline into a diesel car by accident. The converse is almost impossible because diesel pumps have a large nozzle with a diameter of 15/16 in which does not fit the 13/16 in filler, and the nozzles are protected by a lock mechanism or a lift-able flap. Diesel in a gasoline engine however — while creating large amounts of smoke — does not normally cause permanent damage if it is drained once the mistake is realized. However even a liter of gas added to the tank of a modern diesel car can cause irreversible damage to the injection pump and other components through a lack of lubrication. In some cases, the car has to be scrapped because the cost of repairs exceeds its value. The issue is not clear-cut as older diesels using completely mechanical injection can tolerate some gasoline — which has historically been used to "thin" diesel fuel in winter.

Risk of accidental ignition

It is prohibited to use open flames and, in some places, mobile phones on the forecourt of a gas station because of the risk of igniting gasoline vapor
Vapor
A vapor or vapour is a substance in the gas phase at a temperature lower than its critical point....

. In the U.S. the fire marshal is responsible for regulations at the gas pump. Most localities ban smoking, open flames and running engines. Since the increased occurrence of static-related fires many stations now have warnings about leaving the refueling point.

Automobiles can build up static charges by driving on dry pavements. However many tire compounds contain enough carbon black
Carbon black
Carbon black is a material produced by the incomplete combustion of heavy petroleum products such as FCC tar, coal tar, ethylene cracking tar, and a small amount from vegetable oil. Carbon black is a form of amorphous carbon that has a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, although its...

 to provide an electrical ground and thus are safer. New "high mileage" tires use more silica and can increase the buildup of static. A driver who does not discharge static by contacting a conductive part of the automobile will carry it to the insulated handle of the nozzle and the static potential will eventually be discharged when this purposely grounded arrangement is put into contact with the metallic filler neck of the vehicle. Ordinarily, vapor concentrations in the area of this filling operation are below the lower explosive limit (LEL) of the product being dispensed, so the static discharge causes no problem. The problem with ungrounded gas cans results from a combination of vehicular static charge, the potential between the container and the vehicle, and the loose fit between the grounded nozzle and the gas can. This last condition causes a rich vapor concentration in the ullage
Ullage
Ullage or Headspace refers to the unfilled space in a container, particularly with a liquid.-Etymology:The word comes ultimately from the Latin oculus, “eye”, which was used in a figurative sense by the Romans for the bung hole of a barrel...

 (the unfilled volume) of the gas can, and a discharge from the can to the grounded hanging hardware (the nozzle, hose, swivels and break-a-ways) can thus occur at a most inopportune point. The Petroleum Equipment Institute has recorded incidents of static-related ignition at refueling sites since early 2000. http://www.pei.org/static/

Although urban legend
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

s persist that a mobile phone can cause sparks or a build-up of static electricity in the user, this has not been duplicated under any controlled condition. Nevertheless, mobile phone manufacturers and gas stations ask users to switch off their phones. One suggested origin of this myth is said to have been started by gas station companies because the cell phone signal would interfere with the fuel counter on some older model fuel pumps causing it to give a lower reading. In the Mythbusters
MythBusters
MythBusters is a science entertainment TV program created and produced by Beyond Television Productions for the Discovery Channel. The series is screened by numerous international broadcasters, including Discovery Channel Australia, Discovery Channel Latin America, Discovery Channel Canada, Quest...

 episode "Cell Phone Destroys Gas Station", investigators concluded that explosions attributed to cell phones could be caused by static discharges from clothing instead and also observed that such incidents seem to involve women more often than men. Most fueling is done in the open air, therefore it is not often an explosive concentration of vapors is present.

The U.S. National Fire Protection Association
National Fire Protection Association
The National Fire Protection Association is a United States trade association that creates and maintains private, copywrited, standards and codes for usage and adoption by local governments...

 does most of the research and code writing to address the potential for explosions of gasoline vapor. The customer fueling area, up to 18 inches (45.7 cm) above the surface, normally does not have explosive concentrations of vapors, but may from time to time. Above this height, where most fuel filler necks are located, there is no expectation of an explosive concentration of gasoline vapor in normal operating conditions. Electrical equipment
Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas
In electrical engineering, a hazardous location is defined as a place where concentrations of flammable gases, vapors, or dusts occur. Electrical equipment that must be installed in such locations is especially designed and tested to ensure it does not initiate an explosion, due to arcing contacts...

 in the fueling area may be specially certified for use around gasoline vapors.

See also

  • Autogas
    Autogas
    Autogas is the common name for liquefied petroleum gas when it is used as a fuel in internal combustion engines in vehicles as well as in stationary applications such as generators. It is a mixture of propane and butane....

     (LPG)
  • Biofuel
    Biofuel
    Biofuel is a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological carbon fixation. Biofuels include fuels derived from biomass conversion, as well as solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases...

    s
  • Convenience store
    Convenience store
    A convenience store, corner store, corner shop, commonly called a bodega in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States, is a small store or shop in a built up area that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, alcoholic and soft drinks, and may also offer money order and...

  • Ethanol
    Ethanol
    Ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol, pure alcohol, grain alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a volatile, flammable, colorless liquid. It is a psychoactive drug and one of the oldest recreational drugs. Best known as the type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, it is also used in thermometers, as a...

  • Gas pump
  • Gasoline usage and pricing
  • Gasoline
    Gasoline
    Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

  • Highway oasis
  • Hydrogen station
    Hydrogen station
    A hydrogen station is a storage or filling station for hydrogen, usually located along a road or hydrogen highway, or at home as part of the distributed generation resources concept. The stations are usually intended to power vehicles, but can also be used to power small devices. Vehicles use...

  • List of automotive fuel brands
  • National Association of Convenience Stores
    National Association of Convenience Stores
    NACS is an international trade association representing the convenience and fuel retailing industry.-Background:NACS was founded August 14, 1961, as the National Association of Convenience Stores. It is an international trade association representing more than 2,100 retail and 1,500 supplier...

  • Petroleum
    Petroleum
    Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

  • Propellant depot
    Propellant depot
    An orbital propellant depot is a cache of propellant that is placed on an orbit about the Earth or another body to allow spacecraft to be fuelled in space. Launching a spacecraft separately from some of its propellant enables missions with more massive payloads...

     a gas station in space
  • Road trip
    Road trip
    A road trip is any journey taken on roads, regardless of stops en route. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile.-Pre-automobile road trips:...


Further reading

  • John A. Jakle, Keith A. Sculle. The Gas Station in America (Creating the North American Landscape). Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1994. ISBN 0-8018-4723-0.
  • Daniel I. Vieyra. "Fill ’Er Up": An Architectural History of America’s Gas Stations. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1979. ISBN 0-02-622000-8.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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