AAFES Service Station to close pumps for upgrades Sept. 10-14

  • Published
  • By Holly Birchfield
  • 78 ABW/PA
Drivers who use the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gas station will temporarily have to find an alternative way to gas up soon.

The AAFES gas station's fuel dispensers will close for a five-day stretch, beginning Sept. 10, to upgrade the station's fuel dispensers and to improve the services patrons enjoy.

Mike Deerhake, general manager for Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities at Robins Air Force Base and Moody AFB, Ga., said the AAFES gas station, which is located in Bldg. 922 across from the Base Exchange Complex, will bring an improved way for customers to get gassed up.

"What we're going to do is upgrade our fuel dispensers," he said. "We currently have nine fuel dispensers, and over the years, they've just gotten older. They've served their country well. We've had a lot of mechanical problems, so we're going to swap out the old ones and we're going to put in the new dispensers."

Mr. Deerhake said other changes are coming at the gas station to improve service for customers.

"We're also replacing what we call our Allied Box, or the communication between the credit card readers and my cash register," he said. "Right now, that infrastructure is located actually in the gas kiosk, and what we're doing is relocating it from the kiosk into the main building."

The change will mean less downtime for customers.

"Over the past several years, we've had three or four occasions when we've had a lightening strike or a bad storm and it knocks out the communication between our fuel dispensers and our cash registers," he said. "So, while our dispensers are down, we're going to replace all of those communications lines as well. So basically, when we reopen on (Sept. 15), we're going to have all new dispensers and all new communication lines in there."

Work in the project is being done by the Atlanta Petroleum Equipment Company and will be funded by AAFES. Mr. Deerhake said the upgrades will give the gas station what it needs to provide the best service.

"It's going to be absolutely dramatic," he said. "Customers are actually going to be able to come in and use the dispensers. Our dispensers, over the last two or three years, at any one time you may have one or two of the actual dispensers down waiting on parts or waiting on the folks to come in and repair them. Now, you'll have nine dispensers working or 18 handles and it's going to be much more reliable for the customers."

Mr. Deerhake said the changes will decrease the waiting lines at the dispensers, which will make refueling much more efficient and customers will be able to get receipts without having the hassle of going inside the gas station.

In the meantime, Mr. Deerhake encourages customers to fuel up in the days before the temporary closure or they will have to turn to off-base fuel sources to meet their refueling needs.

Customers can still enjoy other car care services throughout the period, Mr. Deerhake said.

The AAFES general manager said in the long run, the benefits will outweigh the temporary inconvenience of the project.

"It's sort of a short-term pain for a long-term gain," he said. "We've listened to our customers. We're looking forward to getting these dispensers replaced so that we can improve the customer service."