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Fill 'er up: Windshield washer dispensers popping up at area gas stations

Canadian Tire gas bar on Tower Road in Fergus is one of over 300 spots in Canada with a tank installed, with ones planned for Guelph soon

You may have seen one pop up at a gas station in your travels.

At the end of gas pumps across the country, windshield fluid dispensers are showing up, quickly becoming an alternative to buying jugs of washer fluid.

The tank at the Canadian Tire gas bar at 843 Tower Rd. S. in Fergus is one of over 300 installed in four provinces in Canada. The Fergus tank opened in January.

There is also one at a Petro-Canada station at 900 Jamieson Pkwy. in Cambridge, put in last August.

EcoTank, the company behind the idea, confirms there are “some Petro-Canada” sites in Guelph in the process of getting tanks later this year too.

It’s an environmentally-friendly option, removing the need for the plastic jugs.

“Now you’re not using single-use plastics,” said Victoria Meneses, operations manager with EcoTank Canada, which is based in Orangeville.

She said the plastic jugs are contaminated, and end up getting disposed into landfills.

“It’s hard to recycle them. A lot of recycling companies stay away from recycling them.”

Meneses feels it is only a matter of time before these jugs will be included in the federal government’s single-use plastics ban.

Beyond the obvious environmental benefits, the convenience factor is a huge draw, she said.

“When people buy windshield washer fluid by the jug, usually they don’t use up all of the fluid,” Meneses said.

“There’s a portion of it left in the jug, and you either have it in your trunk, which is sometimes annoying or it will be in your garage because you don’t want to lug it around in your vehicle and then you forget about it when you need it and then you’re purchasing again.”

Now, you have windshield fluid available to dispense, all while gassing up your vehicle – or charging it, there are tanks being installed beside Tesla chargers – without having to move the vehicle.

The local tanks contain windshield fluid only.

But there are others that also have a chamber with air to fill up your tires.

“Everybody’s time is so important,” Meneses said. “Everybody’s busy, so when you’re stopping for your fuel, which you have no choice – your car won’t run if you don’t have the fuel – you may as well.”

The company has been rapidly growing in Canada in the last two years.

The first pump opened at a 7-Eleven in Orangeville in the fall of 2021. Deals are put in place with gas station companies to install the tanks.

She said the fluid is good for temperatures as cold as -40 C, and has a bug repellent mixture too.

Much like a gas pump, there is a keypad option to prepay for the windshield fluid and you only pay for what you take.

The prices “will be competitive” to buying jugs from big box stores, Meneses said.


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Mark Pare

About the Author: Mark Pare

Originally from Timmins, ON, Mark is a longtime journalist and broadcaster, who has worked in several Ontario markets.
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