Monday, February 1, 2016

The rise of fuel-delivery services

In the same way that Uber and Lyft crowd-sourced taxis and ride-sharing, there are an increasing number of companies springing up who are catering to the laziest of lazy drivers - those who can't be bothered to fill their own car with petrol. PurpleDelivery, FuelMeApp, FuelDrop and FillD (among others) all offer the same basic service. For a small fee (usually $5) they will fill your car up anywhere. You just need to leave your petrol cap unlocked (or give them your keys) and give them your credit card details.
What could possibly go wrong?
Apart from the obvious issues with giving a complete stranger your credit card details and the keys to your car, there's the 'green' issue to consider. When you fill up, you drive your one car to the filling station and fill it up. When someone comes to you, you've driven your one car to where you are, and now they're driving to meet you, arguably doubling the CO2 emissions required to fill your car with petrol.
Then there's the cost consideration. All the services say their fuel is a 'fair price' but in checking, they're all a good 10¢ to 20¢ above the price you would pay at the pump if you filled your own car up. Add on to that the $5 service fee and it begins to look a lot less attractive.
What about grade? If you have a high compression engine, you need higher octane fuel. I think we can surmise with absolute certainty that most of these companies would happily charge you 20¢ above the premium price whilst delivering the regular grade petrol to you.
Then there's the liability of a crowd-sourced network of privately-owned cars and trucks driving around with jerry cans full of gas in the back. If you were a driver for one of these companies, I guarantee your insurance wouldn't cover you for transporting a volatile compound, nor conducting business. Plus, generally speaking, you need the volatile compound warning placards on the outside of your vehicle if you're using it to transport stuff like petrol. Do you really see people wanting to put this on this private vehicle?:
Don't be lazy. Just go and get petrol yourself like you've always done. It's really not that difficult.

1 comment:

Paul Canciu said...

Yes, I saw this US novelty the other week on the news... news in Romania!!!
I don't know if the idea was to show us a great idea or to mock the Americans. But they did tie it in with the car washing in parking lots (I mean, you park and then a mobile washer comes and cleans it where you left it while you do your shopping or whatever), so I guess it's the first option.

Anyway, I hope they don't get any ideas to start doing it here. :) On the other hand, most Romanians can't afford to pay extra for fueling, so I don't see this catching on. Also, leaving the fuel cap (or car) is a big no-no. Too risky.

But maybe the service is useful if you get stranded somewhere because you forgot to fill up. (Yeah, I know, everybody should check their fuel level or at least heed the warning light, but you know how clueless some people can be)