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ALTOONA, Pa. -- Sheetz Inc. introduced a new Pump First card yesterday in the Hagerstown/Fredrick, Md., and Martinsburg, W. Va., markets. Under the program, customers wishing to pay for gasoline with cash or check no longer have to pre-pay, and can swipe their Pump First card to start the pumps themselves, then go into the store to pay, the company stated.
"The cost of gasoline continues to rise and unfortunately, so do the resulting drive-offs by a few dishonest individuals," Louis Sheetz, executive vice president of marketing for Sheetz, said in a statement. "Our increasing losses from these individuals who do not pay have forced us to go to pre-pay as a solution to control theft. While this change will help relieve the pressure of gasoline theft, we also know that it could cause loyal, honest customers to feel unjustly penalized."
The free, plastic Pump First card is linked to the customer's driver's license and can be obtained at any designated Sheetz store. The card is a method of identification that activates a gasoline pump, and is not a method of payment. In the event that a customer uses the card to turn on a pump and then drives away without paying, Sheetz can identify the card and deactivate it, according to the company.
"We are pleased that we don't have to inconvenience our loyal customers. Pump First offers a solution to help us control gasoline theft and still maintain a high level of convenience for our customers," said Sheetz. "Future plans include adding other benefits for our Pump First customers, including exclusive coupon offers and even reward programs."
Subsequent to the program launch, Sheetz made all its convenience stores in the Hagerstown/Fredrick, Md., and Martinsburg, W. Va., areas to pre-payment for gas.