Gas Station Signage Requirements and Best Practices

With 80% of convenience stores selling gasoline or diesel, fuel pricing signage is a crucial bit of infrastructure to a location’s success. Also known as “pricers,” these signs serve as beacons for drivers running on Empty, or hunting for the lowest price in town. Although not every municipality requires gas stations to have pricers, it’s still best practice to include them at any location.

Store owners often have questions about pricers, like whether it’s better to have digital or analog displays, and how to manage repairs and maintenance. Since a gas station’s success depends on how many people show up to buy fuel, these key details definitely affect profitability.


Are Gas Station Price Signs Required?

This is a more complex answer than people might think. When it comes to gas station signage requirements, there are no federal laws whatsoever. Some states like New York and Maryland explicitly require gas price signage, whereas Florida and Colorado do not. Sometimes the laws in an area only regulate how signs must operate.

According to Jeff Lenard, a spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, a “patchwork” of state and city laws govern display requirements, including:

  • Whether price signage is necessary at all
  • The size the numbers on signs
  • The color of the numbers and their backgrounds
  • The order in which pricing signage must be updated
  • Informing people if prices depend on cash or card payments
  • Length of time a downed sign can go before being repaired

The simplest answer is that it's best practice to include a large sign to display the current price and it should be visible to motorists well before the entrance to the gas station. People expect them, regardless of whether they’re legally required.

Convenience store owner Jay Patel explains, "It’s psychology. People are used to seeing the signs and coming in. If they don’t see it, they might think you don’t have any gas."


Digital Example of Gas Station Signage


Benefits of Gas Station Signage Pricers

Regardless of the laws, investments in commercial signage deliver several benefits. With highly visible roadside signs, drivers have the time to:

  1. Recognize that a gas station is near
  2. Check their fuel gauge to see if they should fill up
  3. Make the decision to purchase
  4. Pull into the appropriate lane
  5. Locate the entrance without disrupting the flow of traffic

Beyond giving the gas prices, these signs also provide space for the convenience store to advertise other high margin merchandise to boost profits. After all, gas stations don’t make money by selling fuel; the convenience items inside the store keep the business running.

Commercial signage can promote caffeinated drinks, snack foods, or any other items that draw in drivers in need of a break. In fact, Jeff Lenard explains how some gas station convenience stores make their signage doubly effective:  "[Some] retailers use electronic signs that alternate gas data with the price of a gallon of milk, and this actually increases sales of both commodities."


Digital Gas Station Signage (1)


Are Digital Signs Better Than Analog?

For business owners thinking about new signage, the question of digital vs. analog should be considered carefully. Despite the digital world we live in, an impressive amount of gas station signs are still analog, and there are practical reasons for that. 


Benefits of Digital Gas Station Signage

Digital signs offer superior visibility in day or night, and all weather conditions. Prices can be updated instantly at one location or several all at once. Owners can even update the numbers from any place that has an internet connection.

Safety is another significant advantage. Since employees will never need to climb a ladder to change the numbers, the risk of falling is zero. This also saves countless worker hours spent on this manual task.

Digital signage can also display promotions for other products, which gives drivers more reasons to choose that particular gas station. This also increases sales of high profit margin products.


Benefits of Analog Price Signs

Cost is one of the biggest reasons for gas station owners to opt for analog signage. Production and installation costs are lower. These signs consume less electricity to operate. Even repairs and maintenance are less costly,

With fewer components these much simpler signs have less that can go wrong. Although routine maintenance is always recommended, analog signs have fewer failures, and can be restored much more quickly.

Where analog signs become more expensive is when it comes to manually updating the prices. The benefit of this, however, is that gas stations have an incentive to keep prices stable helping to prevent price instability in the local market.


The Importance of Quick Repairs

Among the gas station signage requirements that do exist, one of the most important rules is how long prices are allowed to be down. In some areas, signs must be attended to within 24 hours or else operators will face fines. Even where municipalities don’t have these regulations, signage downtime directly affects the number of customers who will come into the station, so expedient repairs are mandatory.

Signs can go down due to weather conditions like heavy winds or freezing rain. They can also come as a result of vehicle collisions. Regardless of the reason, owners and operators must be able to get a repair team on site immediately. Every hour of downtime is lost revenue.

When it comes to repairs and maintenance, a firm must be able to get a team on site immediately. In some circumstances, response rates should be as quick as 8 hours. Although the length of time for repairs depends on the extent of work needed, an ideal partner will not wait to get started.


Gas Station Signage Pylon Sign-min (1)


Choosing an Ideal Sign Company

Owners looking to upgrade their signage should seek a manufacturer that is familiar with the nuances of gas station signage and requirements. Since different municipalities will have their own laws on commercial signs in general, and may have additional rules for gas station pricers, it’s crucial to work with a sign company that knows these rules inside and out.

Gas station chains with multiple sites will still have unique needs based on their specific area and situation. New signage projects must treat every location as its own entity; copy and paste plans don’t work out in the real world. An ideal signage manufacturer can design signs that maximize visibility and maintain brand image without violating any zoning laws.

Case Study: 7-Eleven and Speedway Signage Partnership with Flexlume

The best signage companies offer national reach and a full range of services including design, manufacturing, installation, and repairs. The team at Flexlume, for example, can manage entire projects with a single point of contact, and handle both the signage and electrical work all in one. Reach out today for more information on specific signage needs.


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