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Sheetz announces gas prepay policy

June 24, 2008

In response to an increasing number of gas drive-offs, Sheetz announced Monday that customers must now prepay for gas at all of its stores in Hagerstown, Frederick, Md., and Martinsburg, W.Va.

The change will not affect credit card purchases, but customers using cash or checks must either pay first or swipe a new "Pump First" card the store is offering free, according to the Sheetz Web site.

"The cost of gasoline continues to rise and, unfortunately, so do the resulting drive-offs by a few dishonest individuals," executive vice president of marketing Louis Sheetz said in a press release. "Our increasing losses from these individuals who do not pay have forced us to go to pre-pay as a solution to control theft."

The Pump First card was introduced Monday as a convenience for customers, Sheetz said in the news release. The plastic card is linked to the customer's driver's license and serves as a method of identification to allow the customer to start the pump. After the customer is finished fueling, he or she must still go inside the store to pay.

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Future plans include adding other benefits for Pump First customers, such as coupon offers and reward programs, according to the press release.

The change is one of many ways local fuel companies have responded to rising gas prices. In Hagerstown Monday, the average price per gallon for regular gasoline was $4.003, up about 16 cents from this time last month and more than a dollar from a year ago, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

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