The air you breathe is free. The air for your tire is 75 cents. Bring correct change.


free air

I’ve been driving around lately with a slow leak in the right front tire, meaning to get in and get it patched. During the procrastination window, I’ve discovered more “gas stations” have bolted a coin slot to the air compressors.

Really corporate guys? Air? You’re now charging for air?

If you’re a baby boomer or thereabouts, you remember back in the day when the family pulled into a service station and a man in a clean, crisp shirt and sometimes wearing a bow tie would come up to the window and ask if he could check your tires.texaco1

No fooling, you drivers under 30. He would also open the hood and check the oil.

I’m dying if I’m lying.

And while he’s doing all that, another man in uniform would clean your windshield.

It used to be service with a smile.

The smile was also free.

texaco3Now it’s self-serve and 75 cents for a few squirts of air–and sometimes the smile wanes if you ask the clerk for quarters for the compressor without also buying a maple bar.

You probably should bring your own tire gauge, too.

Personally, I will not pay for air. I’ll use my bicycle tire pump; I will be sweaty and late, but I’ll have the satisfaction knowing I didn’t patronize those air sellers.

(And here’s a shout-out to the Mini Mart at the corner of Washington and First in Downtown Kennewick. It’s the one convenience store remaining that I know of where air is still free, though the last time the compressor was out-of-order.)

BTW, Les Schwab patched my tire free, recognizing that I’ll return when I need new tires.

And the smile was free too.

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1 Comment

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One response to “The air you breathe is free. The air for your tire is 75 cents. Bring correct change.

  1. Heather

    Last I checked, the gas station south of the Road 68 exit in Pasco was free. I haven’t been there since Shell was bought out.

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