4 Things You Need To Know About Prepaying For Gas
Being from a rural area of the Midwest, traveling to other parts of the country exposes me to alternate ways of doing things. During a long car trip with my family, I learned all about prepaying for gas.
I use cash as often as I can, so when I fill up with gas at home I select the option on the pump to pay inside, fill up, and then go inside the station. While on our trip I found that a familiar button was missing from the face of the pump. Instead, I found a sign stating customers paying with cash was required to prepay inside. I wasn’t sure how the process worked since I didn’t know how much it would cost to fill up my tank.
Confused, I walked inside to ask some questions and learned the following about prepaying for gas:
Prepaying for Gas is Normal
In the upper Midwest, paying for gas after filling up is common. However, if I travel far enough in any direction prepaying becomes the norm. In larger cities people driving off without paying is a problem. Customers are required to either pay with a credit or debit card at the pump or prepay inside with cash.
Prepay Any Amount
Customers can prepay any amount inside the store. The pump will stop when your payment is exhausted, or your tank is full.
If you prepay an amount that is greater than the amount put into your vehicle, you have to go back inside the store to get your change.
Requires Change in Perspective
At home, I fill up and then go into the store to pay for my gasoline and pick up any items I wanted. When prepayment is needed, one would simply go into the store to prepay and get your items first.
Penalty for Not Paying
Penalties for being convicted of a “pump and run” vary from state to state. In Minnesota, the offender is on the hook for the price of the gasoline, a $30 service charge, and a civil charge of the price of the gasoline or $100, whichever is greater. In contrast, in Ohio, one might incur a $1000 fine, 6 months in jail, and suspension of license for 6 months.
And, in Washington State theft of Motor Vehicle Fuel is a gross misdemeanor punishable by license suspension for up to six months, here.
Prepayment of gasoline is the norm in much of the country. However, for some, this is a foreign concept. The first time one encounters having to prepay, it may seem confusing as to exactly how the process is supposed to work. But after you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.
How about you, Clever Friends, are you required to prepay for gas where you live?
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Brock is a software engineer by day and personal finance blogger at night. He is a fitness junkie and enjoys grilling and smoking meat. Married with two children, Brock strives to improve his skills as a husband and father, and is always on the lookout to stretch his family’s budget as far as he can.