Free Air Versus Coin Operated Air at the Gas Station – Why $0 is the Future of Business

If this totally frustrates you then here is my recent experience. It was Saturday morning, the 22nd of May 2010 and I had errands to run. As I was getting into my car, I noticed my front left tire looked as though it needed air. I took out my tire gauge and sure enough, it did. I did not want to drive a long distance in that condition so after my first errand, I pulled into a Shell station and there was a fee to use the air. Can you imagine paying for air? I refuse to unless I am traveling on the highway and have no alternative.

I drove off and pulled into a Sunoco and they also charged a fee. This particular station used to be another name brand station within the last 2-3 years. I cannot recall the name but the air was free at that time. I headed to the Chevron across the street. There is also a fee for using their air. I left and drove about 2 miles approaching another Shell station. I was in the left turning lane and could see the air pump and it looked as though it was a coin operated one. I did not bother to stop.

As I was continuing on to my next destination, I realized that I was near a Wawa station and made a quick left turn before going straight through the traffic signal. I knew that 2 other Wawa locations offered free air and I would have gone to one of them but they both were off my route and I did not want to backtrack. I pulled into the Wawa, used the air pump, and was on my way when done. I wasted a lot of time that morning trying to locate free air.

In this economy, why would they continue to charge us to use their air all the while increasing their gas prices? I am an internet marketer and I need to make a point about offering something for free because that is what we do. Why do you think Wawa offers free air? In my opinion, they offer us something for free in order to get the up sale later. In other words, we will not charge you to fill up your 4 tires and spare, because we will offer you our reasonably priced gasoline and you will come inside our convenience store to purchase breakfast foods, sandwiches, salads, snacks, coffee or a soft drink totaling 3-4 times the amount the air will cost. They do not need to charge us.

I have gone inside to pay cash for my gas and there are almost always a line of people purchasing coffee and breakfast foods in the early morning. Lunch is no different. This business decision is one that will truly pay off for them for years to come. Way to go Wawa. Maybe the others will develop the good business sense to follow suit.