SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - While only two percent of South Korea's gas stations currently operate as self-service facilities, amid rising fuel prices, that percentage is increasing rapidly, The Korea Times reports.
Hyundai Oilbank, the country's fourth-largest refiner, plans to build 20 self-service stations this year, adding to 28 self-service stations already in operation. Prior to this year, the company maintained only 13 self-fueling stations.
"Self-service filling stations can save labor and management costs, and benefit customers with reduced fuel charges," a Hyundai Oilbank spokesperson said.
GS Caltex also said that it plans to steadily increase its self-service roster. While it currently operates 142 self-service gas stations, it expects that number to reach 200 by year's end.
Analysts say that switching to self-service generates 20 to 30 percent more in sales volume, a result of the format's price edge over full-service. For instance, Hyundai Oilbank's self-service stations sell gasoline 3 to 9 cents cheaper per liter than at their full-service stations.
Individual gas station owners are concerned with the trend, saying that the cost of switching to self-service is prohibitive.
"A self-fueling machine costs up to 30 million won ($26,190 US). This means most self-serve gas pumps will be built by major business owners," said a Korea Oil Station Association official.