Topping off your tank at a local gas station is a common weekly occurrence. In fact, many people don’t even think about the routine unless gas prices have skyrocketed and their wallet feels pressure at the pump. If you have ever stopped to think about the overall design and services of a gas station, you would be amazed at what it takes to operate safely and successfully.
There is More Than Meets the Eye
When an ideal location for fueling up undergoes gas station construction, the start of the work begins underground. At each station, the underground tanks are what feed pumps to deliver the fuel. There may be up to five underground tanks, each a submerged pump, automatic line leak detector, tank gauge monitoring, an alarm system to prevent overfilling, and anodes to prevent corrosion. This way gas stations can safety deliver tens of thousands of gallons of fuel at any time.
It’s Not Really That Profitable
Operating a gas station requires significant investment into the convenience items sold within the store is the owner is going to make a profit. After the operating costs and the taxes, gas stations only make a few pennies per gallon of the gas itself. Even more surprising, the sunglasses, medicine, and snacks at convenience stores account for over 60% of a gas station’s total earnings.
Accuracy Can be Challenging
Each state has a Bureau of Weights and Measures that is responsible for checking the accuracy of the pump. There should be inspection stickers on the pump that show the last time testing was completing. If you don’t see one or it is significantly out of date, you might be getting ripped off.
Fuel Prices Should be Competitive
For independent gas station owners, they are able to set the prices of their own fuel. Even though it seems big brands are everywhere, only .4% of American gas stations are owned by these big companies. It makes it more frustrating to know that independent stations still try to get what they can from the consumer when there really is no competition with the major oil companies.
The next time you stop and fill up, take a quick look around. There is always more than meets the eye for things as simple as gassing up the tank.