What areas of the country/world still allow pre-pay for gasoline?

Inspired by this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=600619

I live in northern West Virginia. Most of the surrounding areas still allow pre-pay, but in town only one station still does and I make it a point to buy all of my gas there even if it is 5 to 10 cents more expensive.

  1. I like the fact that they don’t automatically treat their customers like shoplifters.
  2. I don’t know how much it will take to fill up. I don’t want to go inside, pay $X, go outside to pump gas, and then go back in and get a refund for $y.
  3. Sometimes I want to pick up other things like chips or soda. Why pay twice?

I know. Pay at the pump eliminates some of the hassle, but I still don’t like it if I am going inside for something.

However, coming from South Florida there were a grand total of zero gas stations that allowed you to pump before paying. What is it like elsewhere? And also let’s get into a good bitch session about pre-pay and/or assholes like me who complain about it. :slight_smile:

Everywhere I have been in Australia allows you to pump first, and then pay. Some places have pay at the pump optionally and I try to use those if I don’t want to go in and pay.

I was astounded at this when I moved here.

When you say “allow pre-pay,” do you mean “require pre-pay”? I think everyone allows it; it’s just a question of if you have to.

I’m a little confused by the OP as well. Assuming he means “require” rather than “allow”, I can honestly say I don’t know of any gas station in my town that requires it. Just fill 'er up, then go in and pay.

Quite a few stations in my area require pre-pay all the time. Some only require it at the outside pumps that are an easy escape to the exit. Some only require it at night. Some require it never.

I’ll pre-pay at the pump if all I’m getting is gas. Like the OP’s 3), if I’m also going inside to get cigs or something, I prefer to run my card once.

Also assuming you mean “don’t require” instead of “allow”, just about every station in Southern Minnesota allows it, at least during the day. The only stations I’ve seen that require pre-pay on all of their pumps during business hours are on interstate highways.

In BC, all pumps at all gas stations require payment in advance.

So, I guess, this area.

Don’t your stations let you use your cards at the pump? You can fill your tank to exactly full because it only charges you when you’re done.

I agree with the likes of Dio when it comes to blowing past the people at the store who want to check your receipts. But I can’t get behind this. You’re paying for something and then getting it. Just like if you go to the movie theater you’re gonna pay for the ticket first and then watch the movie.

They don’t in Alberta. We can pay at the pump, in most cases; but if I need something from the store (coffee, for example), it’s a lot easier to just pump, and go in and pay for my gas and coffee at once.

In Ontario as well. The pump says, “Insert card to prepay, or lift nozzle if you are paying later.”

A lot of people don’t like to pre-pay with credit cards or debit card 'cause the pumps authorize a set amount.

For instance, the pump may automatically authorize $50 on your credit card. Then if you bill is say $35, you have to wait a few days for the $15.00 to drop off your credit card, 'cause that amount is placed on hold

It’s not an issue with a big credit line, but if you’re living close to your limit, using a debit card or may need access to your money in the next few days it can be annoying

my local gas station in vermont-

on the pump i press “pay inside”
i gas up for $10 or $20, or whatever it takes to fill up.
i go inside and get some beer and smokes and newspapers.
the cashier rings me up for the total of gas and everything else.
i pay with cash or a debit card for the total purchase price.

The pumps in our area display a push button “do you use the shift key” and a discount for selecting that option.

Here in the Cleveland area, it depends on the location, time of day…gas stations associated with my grocery store that have me swipe my rewards card first may let me pay inside at a time or at pumps where others might have to pre-pay…since they have my information and the chance of a drive-off is less. Because of my arthritis, I hate having to pay inside, and since they tell us over and over that gas stations make little profit on the gasoline, but depend on the snacks and drinks for most of their income, I can’t understand why they discourage us from coming in to the store. And if I pay at the pump, two things might happen…there is a 1 authorization that can hang about for DAYS before the actual amount hits my account....so I have to be very careful to remember what's out there hanging. And if I had a larger vehicle, there is a amount cap on the sale…they raised it when prices rose, but many stations still have issues with this and have detailed instructions on how to pump more money than the cap. If I pay inside with my card, the correct amount hits my account immediately…so I can’t forget.

Kansas City passed an ordinance a couple of years back requiring all pumps to be pre-pay - apparently the police got tired of being called to chase down pump-and-run cases. Not sure what is happening in the suburbs - but I always pay at the pump anyway.


“What areas of the country/world still allow pre-pay for gasoline?”

All of them. Why would they refuse cash in advance?

I think from re-reading the OP that he/she is saying “pre-pay”, but meaning to pump first and then pay afterwards.

Everywhere I have ever been, pre-pay means to pay for the gas first, either with a card at the pump, or by going into the store and paying with cash/card before pumping the gas.

A few years ago I gassed up, go in, tell the cashier I need to pay for pump 8. He looked a bit confused, and asked which pump I was on, again, I said pump 8, he replied “Pump 8? No one ever pays at pump 8, they just leave.”

Anyways, around here very very very few gas stations require you to prepay on all pumps, usually only the ones closest to the road or if it’s on a spot where there cameras presumably can’t see your plates. I know they still look out the window and make some kind of a visual check before turning on the pump. I have to assume even if you were at one of the prepay pumps, if they recognized you as a regular customer, they’d probably turn the pump on anyways.
Personally, I try to avoid pre pay pumps since I almost always pay for gas with cash. I’d rather be able to tank up then just put in $20 and only get three quarters of tank.

When I drive in the US, I’m always using cash. My Canadian credit card doesn’t work in pay-at-the-pump stations, and I’m a little leery of leaving my credit card with the cashier. So I’ll deposit cash before I pump.

Problem is, that I have no idea how much fuel I need. Oh, I know the capacity of my tank–but in liters, not US gallons. Based on the distance I’ve driven since my last fillup, I can ballpark how many liters of fuel I need, but I don’t know what that is in US gallons. I know how much a fillup costs at home, but with currency exchange and differing fuel prices and taxes, I don’t know what it costs in US dollars.

What this all means is that just to be sure, I once left $50 (2 x $20 + $10) with the cashier at a pay-before-you-pump gas station in Montana–and used $11.70 to top up my tank. Boy, did I get a weird look from the cashier when I went in to get my change!

When I go to the grocery store I can go get a cart full of stuff before I pay. Same at the department store, adult super store, or office supply store.

It’s pretty hard to know how much a fill up is gonna cost before hand and if it’s busy you gotta wait in line twice. Instead of losing 5 minutes waiting in line waiting for the guy with BO to finish turning his scratcher tickets in you’re coming back to an encore performance, miss hack’n stuff wants more cigarettes.

No where else in my daily life am I hassled and treated like a criminal for using cash except at prepay stations.

I think prepay stations should be legally required to post their prepay status on a sign visible from the road.
To answer the OP Southwest Michigan still has a few good and decent nonprepay stations.