WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Hy-Vee Inc. has debuted free full-service fueling at all its convenience stores, making it the latest operator to offer the service to customers concerned about contracting COVID-19 at the fuel island.
On April 14, the chain announced it would offer full-service fueling at its more than 165 c-stores in eight states, including at its Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh stores. The service will be available at designated fuel pumps from at least 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. To use it, customers select the fuel pumps’ “Fuel Help” button or call a dedicated phone number on signs hanging at each pump. They can also order food and other items from the c-store for delivery to their vehicle during fueling.
A Hy-Vee employee will walk out to the customer’s vehicle and process the transaction and fuel order, which can be paid for with cash or credit. Employees will wear gloves with each transaction.
- Hy-Vee is No. 40 on the Top 40 update to CSP’s 2019 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets. CSP will release the complete 2020 list in June.
Hy-Vee joins another Iowa-based chain—Des Moines-based Kum & Go—in offering full-service fueling during the pandemic. Kum & Go rolled out the service recently to all its nearly 400 stores in 12 states after a pilot at 13 sites. Like Hy-Vee, Kum & Go is offering full-service fueling from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and is accepting cash and credit for payment. Kum & Go debuted full-service fueling at the same time as curbside pickup for in-store purchases.
As full-service reemerges in many states, Oregon is expanding the availability of self-service fueling. Oregon, along with New Jersey, has had a ban self-service fueling for decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged the state to revisit its policy. On March 28, the state’s fire marshal announced guidelines that enable fuel retailers to offer self-service if they meet certain conditions. This was after fuel retailers complained about not having enough employees to fuel up cars during the pandemic. The initial self-service measures were set to expire April 11, but Oregon’s fire marshal has since extended them to April 25.
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