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Customers skeptical of full service from gas stations

Published October 3, 2005

Old-fashioned full service is such a rarity at the gas pump these days that some drivers, fed up with oil companies and skyrocketing gas prices, don't know what to make of it.

"We offer to pump their gas and they think we're insulting them," said Todd Murrian, co-owner of Bob Lee's Tire Co. in St. Petersburg, which sells Chevron gas. "They say, "You don't think I'm smart enough to pump my own gas?' We say, "Can we check your tire pressure?' and they say no. They think we're trying to sell them tires."

Murrian said offering full service at no extra charge is a gas station tradition that regular customers love. But it raises the suspicions of new customers who pull up to the pump on days when Bob Lee's happens to offer the lowest price in the immediate neighborhood.

"A fair amount of the new people thought there was a catch or that we didn't trust them to pump their own gas or we were helping them so they would be less inclined to steal the gas," he said. "I've never seen anything like the skepticism of the public toward the automotive and gas business. The public thinks the end seller is making all kinds of extra money on gas sales. This couldn't be farther from the truth."

Murrian said his prices are based on what he paid, so they stay the same for the three to four days between shipments. His competitors who receive shipments during the interim may set their prices as much as 10 cents a gallon higher or lower, he said.

[Last modified October 3, 2005, 01:15:16]

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