Do You Manage, or Work At, a Gas Station?greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Months ago, someone reported that ALL gas pumps are computer operated; the manual pumps are no longer in place. Are the oil companies doing anything to make it possible to pump gas into your tank after 01/01/00? How about asking managers at your BP, Texaco, Chevon, Arco, etc. stations? If anyone reading this works at, or manages such, I think a lot of us would like to know where things stand now!! Even if they aren't date-sensitive, even if our microwaves aren't, or our clocks, according to Grant Jeffries manufacturers went ahead and installed chips containing dating mode because it was just as cost-effective to do so as to install chips without such. Answers, please! Thank you! You're a great bunch of Y2K "educators!"
-- Holly Allen (Holly3325@juno.com), December 04, 1998
I know a little bit about this. I spent almost a year training gas station owners/managers how to use their computers, and I have had some exposure to gas station system installations. My experience relates to large fuel company chains, not small independant dealers.
There are a number of connected computerized systems in the average gas station:
1) The pump. This may or may not contain a card reader (CRIND), but it will always have a connection to the front office computer ("cash register") in the gas bar. It is not possible to manually operate a modern gas pump.
2) The front office computer. Sometimes a 486. Most companies have been upgrading to pentiums in the past year. Used for activating the pumps, accepting payment, processing sales of other items (like pop, cigarettes). Networked to the oil company Head Office, so H/O knows exactly how much fuel is sold every day. Also contains the system for changing the pump prices.
3) The POS terminal. Connected to the front office system AND the Head Office computer AND the bank. In gas stations that are part of an oil company "chain", the individual retailer does not get the money from credit/debit card sales - Head Office gets it. (Head Office "owns" the fuel in the ground, and collects money from the sale of this fuel. Fuel sales, other sales, cash collections, and CC collections are balanced daily, and either the gas station owes H/O money or H/O owes the gas station money.)
4) The back office computer. Receives info from the front office computer regarding details of daily transactions. This is where the inventory (non-fuel) database is kept, and this is where the routine bookkeeping is processed. Also connected to the Head Office, which polls the computer a couple of times a week.
5) The Veederoot (electronic fuel tank monitor). Keeps track of how much fuel is in the tanks. Also used to monitor water levels. This isn't connected to anything, as far as I can tell.
6) Numerous cables, modems and hubs to connect all of the above.
Scheduling of fuel deliveries is done by H/O, based on the station's tank capacities, sales history, and sales volume since the last delivery. It is rare for a site to run out of fuel, or have to call for a special delivery. Fuel sales are monitored via the network connection between the station and the H/O.
Fuel deliveries to an individual site are only made if the site is current in payment for past fuel sales.
-- Jo Anne Slaven (email@example.com), December 04, 1998.
>1) The pump. This may or may not contain a card reader (CRIND), but >it will always have a connection to the front office computer ("cash >register") in the gas bar. It is not possible to manually operate a >modern gas pump.
Are you sure about this? I have a friend who claims to know about this stuff and has worked in several gas stations. He tells me that if you peel back the steel outer covering of any gas pump, that there is a manual handle in there whereby you can pump the gas by hand. Anyone know if this is true or is my friend full of it? Or is it just certain older pumps? He claims it works even for the newest ones.....
-- Bobbi (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 1998.
When the power is off, you can only pump Y2K compliant equipment with a back up generator. Might what to see which stations in your local area have one.
-- Diane J. Squire (email@example.com), December 04, 1998.
My local (Exxon) station can operate from a generator. He has to, because power outages aren't uncommon. He doesn't have the built-in credit card reader, but the pumps are connected to the front office sales meter.
Obviously, he doesn't have to worry about gas for the generator, either :-)
-- rocky (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 05, 1998.