NEW HOPE, Minn. — Starting Monday, Kwik Trip is changing how you have to pay when you fill up. In a statement, the company says it's hoping to prevent drive-off gas thefts.
It's a move several gas stations across the metro area have already made.
At Winner Gas in New Hope, employee Stevie Chaptini keeps a close eye on the couple pumps closest to him. They are the only ones he opens up to regular customers.
"Otherwise we will have a lot of drive-offs, of course, if we open up to anybody who's out there," said Chaptini.
The rest of the pumps at the location are pre-pay inside or pay at the pump only — a rule he says was implemented a year ago.
"If we didn't make that rule between us as employees, we'll get like at least two drive-offs a day, I suppose," said Chaptini.
However, the station rarely reports drive-off thefts to the police department, many of which no longer pursue them as a criminal matter.
Instead, the departments leave it for the station owners to pursue as a civil one.
The number of drive-offs vary widely at locally-owned stations in and outside the metro.
But Kwik Trip, one of the area's most recogniza ble service stations, reports workers spend so much time watching out for this kind of theft, it's now changing how you pay for gas.
In a statement, Kwik Trip says:
"Effective January 3, 2022, all stores’ fuel pumps will be turned to prepay inside or pay-at-the-pump only. Exception is for side-diesel islands, these fueling positions will continue to have the pay-inside option.
We are moving to prepay to improve our Guest Service. Our coworkers spend so much time watching the fuel islands for drive offs, they can’t focus solely on the guests in the stores.
Guests can still use cash or check or card to prepay for fuel inside the store or use their debit/credit/gift card at the pump.
Gift cards are a great way to prepay for fuel as they avoid any pre-authorization fees and the guest will be charged for the specific amount pumped right away."
Kwik Trip has at least 150 stations in Minnesota and hundreds more in the upper Midwest.
As for Winner Gas, Chaptini says it also upgraded the pumps and payment methods to make it easier, and safer, to always pay outside. He hopes he doesn't deal with a drive-off again.
"I mean, it is money after all and we're losing it," said Chaptini.
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