Service while you wait: Kum & Go launches full-service fueling in Iowa

Saying it wants to provide a safer option to customers who are more susceptible to the coronavirus, Kum & Go is launching on-request full-service fueling in metro Des Moines.

Customers at several Kum & Go locations around the metro now may call from their cars and request that an employee pump their gas. The gloved employees will process the transaction using the customer's cash or card.

"Attendants will wear a new pair of gloves per transaction, (and) the only contact is through a crack in the window when passing the card or cash," Kum & Go spokesperson Ariel Rubin wrote in an email.

The service will be available at all Kum & Go locations. Across the country, there are just two states that still require full-service fueling: Oregon and New Jersey. Oregon, however, temporarily lifted its ban on self-service in late March, citing the same reason Kum & Go has decided to offer full service: coronavirus concerns.

The Oregon fire marshall's website says in an FAQ that allowing self-service ensures essential workers can fill their tanks even if fueling stations are understaffed, and that it also allows attendants to avoid close contact with customers. Rubin said Kum & Go's full-service program in Iowa is meant to provide more choices for at-risk customers. Drivers may still fill their own tanks, if they prefer.

"We want to offer people options for what feels safest for them," Rubin wrote. The Des Moines-based convenience and gas chain also will offer curbside pickup for purchases from its stores.

The curbside system works the same way as full-service fueling: customers place their order by calling the store and an employee will bring the items directly to their car and collect payment. Rubin said tipping fuel attendants and delivery runners is not allowed.