A full service gas station is a gas station where an attendant pumps the customer's gas. These stations are relatively uncommon in most places today, but in a few locations — including certain parts of the US, like Oregon or New Jersey — gas stations are legally required to be full service. Some people prefer not having to get out of the car or risk having the smell of gasoline on their hands, and would rather pay a little more for the extra service.
Full service stations used to be the standard in many places, but an interest in cutting costs led many businesses to begin offering self-serving stations. Since no attendant was required to pump the gas, this usually translated to a slightly lower cost in gasoline. Especially as gas prices rose in the 1970s, many people were interested in saving even a few cents if they could.
In addition to providing gas-pumping services, an attendant at a full service gas station may also wash the customer's windows, and some may even check the oil and water levels in the car. This is indeed full service, and most agree that such attendants should receive a tip. The standard for tipping these attendants is $1 to $2 US Dollars (USD) if windows are washed and gas is pumped, and about $5 USD if the attendant also checks oil and water levels. Customers who don’t want to offer this high a tip can always ask the attendant not to do these additional checks.
Since people who go to a full service pump will pay more in price for gasoline, especially in stations that offer both full serve and self serve, some people contend that attendants should not be tipped. It is true that they are paying extra for the service, but most gas attendants aren’t getting paid any extra to perform their jobs. A tip is a nice gesture if the driver can manage it. Furthermore, many attendants will go the extra mile and check air pressure in tires if a customer requests it, at no extra charge.
Some places may require that certain people don’t have to pay the extra price for gasoline if they use a full service gas station. In California, for instance, someone with an updated handicapped sticker on his car is usually charged the self-serve price, and it is the attendant’s obligation, provided the station offers full service, to pump gas for the person. A tip should definitely be offered when these services are rendered because they don’t profit the gas station, and they certainly don’t profit the attendant.