Pre-pay pumps prevent gas drive-offs - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pre-pay pumps prevent gas drive-offs

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March 12, 2008

Albany -- You will see a pre-pay sign at most of the gas pumps in Southwest Georgia. "We are pre-pay at all of our location," said Woodall's Gas owner, Wright Woodall.

And that sign is helping keep thieves at bay. "Well a lot of them are detoured because the service stations make them pay for the gas first," said Albany Police Lieutenant, Joe Moored.

"When you've got $3.50 gasoline or $3.25 gasoline that becomes a valuable commodity for people who can't afford it, but have to have it. In a lot of cases they will do what they have to do to get it," said Woodall.

With gas prices being so high, customers understand why they have to come inside to pay first.

"I used to really think it was an inconvenience, but in light of drive-offs and the cost of gas, I can understand. I feel bad for the clerks inside who at many times are responsible for the drive away. Its not a real good deal for them," said Tom Seegmueller.

Pre-paying also helps keep prices at the pump down. "As prices rise generally as a rule our margins shrink. When we do have a drive of it takes longer to recoup," said Wright.

"I think drive-offs are like any other form of theft. You are taking something without paying for it. In essence that price is passed on to all of us like shoplifting in a store," said Seegmueller.

So though it may seem like more trouble to have to go inside first, that walk makes filling up your gas tank easier on your wallet.

It is a misdemeanor to drive off without paying for gas. Thieves can receive up to a thousand dollar fine, a suspended license and spend time in jail.

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