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Drivers can enjoy '70s-style full-service gas - at a price

By: Jonathan J. Cooper

Aug 26, 2006

Full-service gas stations may have mostly vanished from the American scene in the 1970s, but at least one Kyrene Corridor holdout still offers the premium service at one of its pumps—at a premium price, of course.

For 30 cents per gallon more, you can watch from the cool confines of your air-conditioned interior while a service attendant sweats the onerous job of pumping gas, checking the fluids, tire pressure, belts and hoses, and washing the windows.

“It’s very popular with the moms with their kids in the car and the older population,” said Tony Stewart, shop manager at the Oasis gas and service station on the southwest corner of McClintock and Elliot roads. “Mostly it’s the mothers with kids. They don’t want to leave their kids unattended while they go inside.”

Some of Stewart’s regular customers use the service every time they fill up, he said. Others throw it in once a month to make sure their car is looked at by a professional and is in good repair. Some just stop by before a long road trip to make sure their car can survive the journey.

“It's well worth it for what you’re getting in return, as far as the full check-over, to make sure your car’s in good shape to go and drive around, especially tire condition when it’s hot like this,” Stewart said.

Most U.S. stations stopped offering full service after the 1973 Arab oil embargo, except in Oregon and New Jersey, where self-service is still prohibited.

The Americans With Disabilities Act also mandates attendant service to drivers whose cars display a handicapped license plate or placard, except in cases where only a cashier is on duty. Such service cannot result in an added charge, even at a full-serve pump if additional services are not provided.

Yet even that rule doesn’t fully address the needs of handicapped drivers, who ADA observers say are finding fewer stations that offer repair facilities in combination with gasoline service.

Stewart’s station is one of the nation’s few still offering both.

Stewart said his family-owned station has offered the service for 18 years, first at a Mesa location, then in Chandler and now at its current McClintock and Elliot perch.

Customers looking to utilize the station’s full service simply need to pull up to the pump and wait. The lone pump, the one closest to the service center, is designated for full service. When a customer sits at the pump, a mechanic will step outside and fill the tank within a few minutes.

“It’s usually no more than a two-minute wait at the pump before we start pumping the gas,” Stewart said. “We have to make sure what we’re doing in the shop is good enough that we can stop and go outside and get them taken care of as fast as possible.”

Stewart said he hears a lot of positive feedback about the comfort the service provides.           

“It (results in) peace of mind for whoever comes to the full serve to know that their car’s getting looked over and they’re going to be okay until their next major service,” he said.

Stewart estimated that about 15 to 20 people use the premium service each day.


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