There’s a law that was passed in 1999, that made it a requirement for service stations in California to provide free water, compressed air and an air pressure gauge to customers who purchase fuel.
A service station is defined as an establishment that offers gasoline or other motor vehicle to the public.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I was not aware of this law until just recently, when a few folks shamed me on paying $1.00 to fill the air in my tires. (That said, I was not a paid customer at the time. So technically I was not legally entitled to free compressed air.)
Section 13651 of the California Business and Professions Code further indicates “Every service station in this state shall display, at a conspicuous place on, at, or near the dispensing apparatus, at least one clearly visible sign which shall read as follows: CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES THIS STATION TO PROVIDE FREE AIR AND WATER FOR AUTOMOTIVE PURPOSES TO ITS CUSTOMERS WHO PURCHASE MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL. IF YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT NOTIFY THE STATION ATTENDANT AND/OR CALL THIS TOLL-FREE TELEPHONE NUMBER: 1 (800) ___ ____. “
So perhaps this post will save someone from unnecessarily paying 75 cents to $1.50 to fill up their tires.
There is no requirement to provide the air for free to non-paying customers.