Blast From the Past – Missoula Gas Station Offering Full-Service Fuel
In an age where most transactions occur at a computer screen it may seem unusual that a gas station would be returning to days-gone-by. Visitors to Muralt’s Travel Plaza at the Wye just outside of Missoula today, December 05, received a blast from the past when they fueled up, owner Walt Muralt explains...
“We are going back in time,” Muralt said. “I am not exactly sure the year we stopped doing full service on the gas island, but late 70s, or somewhere along those lines, are when self-service kind of took over the country. We decided that we are going to provide full service on the gas island for free every Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m..”
Oregon famously prohibited self-service fueling, but Muralt says that folks at his station can fill up their car by themselves if they want to. On the other hand, he explains, there are lots of benefits to the free service.
“People are used to pumping their own gas now, but you don’t have to get out of your car if you don’t want to, especially in the winter when it is cold out,” Muralt said. “I imagine we are going to have even more takers when it is cold. We will pump your gas for you. We will grab your credit card and swipe it in the machine or you can go inside. We will wash your windshield. We will check your oil if you want. We will check your pressure in your tires if you want. You know, improving your gas mileage.”
The full service on Wednesdays is called “Hump Day Help.” When asked why Muralt’s Travel Plaza was making the change, Walt said the primary reason, was “That’s what I grew up doing.” Walt was pumping gas at nine-years-old after his family purchased the station in 1975.