(Ed. Note: The “Innovation Fact of the Week” appears as a regular feature in each edition of ITIF’s weekly email newsletter. Sign up today.)
As more filling stations in the European Union switch to fuel pumps with self-service payment technologies, the productivity gains are passed along to consumers in the form of lower fuel prices. Since customers can pay by swiping their own debit or credit cards, stations need fewer attendants and shop managers. The automation thus lowers overhead costs, allowing them to charge less.
An analysis of close to 3,000 filling stations in the Netherlands found that as manned stations were automated from 2005 to 2011, their fuel prices dropped by 1 to 2 percent. As of 2012, just under 8 percent of filling stations in the EU were automated. But Holland was far ahead of the adoption curve, with 12 percent of its stations automated as of 2005 and twice that many as of 2011.