Uber Fill up

"Uber" For Gasoline Fill-ups

"Uber" For Gasoline Fill-ups

I just read an interesting article on Flipboard* this morning on a new “Uber-like “ service for gasoline delivery for fill-ups. So essentially these are start up companies that want to fill up your car, wherever you might be. Are they trying to make gas stations obsolete? I don’t know, but the way they work, is similar to Uber; tap an app and they will bring the gasoline to you and fill up your car.


You might be at work, at the gym, walkin the dog or at home. Wherever you are, the gs n the fill-up comes to you. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? No more waiting in line for gas, no more standing there mindlessly at the pump while you car fills up, or apparently according to some, risking life and limb by making a call while filling up.

It's Here Now


This so efficient - more multitasking than I had hoped for. I work out at the gym, and voila, magically, my car is full of gas when I am done.  San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, Nashville, Tennessee, and Atlanta, Georgia; If you are lucky enough to live in one these cities, you might already have taken advantage of this new service.


Filld, WeFuel, Yoshi, Purple and Booster Fuels have started operating in these cities. But, like any new idea, some people are resistant. Some top officials in these cities are wondering about the safety of these operations.  


Is It Safe?


Is driving around a city in a pickup truck filled with 100’s of gallons of gasoline safe? And according to one gentleman I talked to, filling a car from a gas can is not optimum. There are a lot more fumes that go into the air than when filling up from a well-sealed pump. So there is danger from this aspect as well, apparently.


I, on the other hand, applaud the ingenuity of these companies. I like the thinking outside the box. I am actually hoping the Helms man comes back next, you know, “Uber-Bakery”, and delivers fresh bread and donuts to my door, or office, or the gym, as well.


In San Francisco, it is the fire department that is rising concerns. According to the FlipBoard article “It is not permitted, said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a spokesman for the San Francisco fire department. Baxter said if San Francisco residents see any companies fueling vehicles in the city, they should call the fire department.”  I always like when they call on citizens to rat on other citizens.


The Flipboard article continues; “Yoshi, which operates in San Francisco, was surprised to hear Baxter's concerns. “We haven't talked to them. I don't know about that. It’s news to me,” said co-founder Nick Alexander. The next day, he said he believed Yoshi was following the law and that it had been careful to limit the size of their gas tanks to stay under limits outlined in the International Fire Code, a guideline followed by many U.S. states.”


In Los Angeles


However, the Los Angeles Fire Department seems to be more reasonable, and is rafting a policy around gasoline delivery. While they are concerned, and believe that it probably is a violation of the fire code currently, they are looking at ways to make it safer and allowable.  


Capt. Daniel Curry, a spokesman for Los Angeles city’s fire department was quoted as saying, “It’s just one of these things that nobody has really thought about before—kind of like how Uber popped up out of nowhere.” But he said it’s not a gray area: “All I can tell you at this time is it’s not allowed as per our current fire code.”  But he is on a positive move to change it. Yay for L.A. Another reason to live in L.A. versus San Francisco!


The Los Angeles company providing the service in Los Angeles is Purple, headed by Bruno Uzzan, who is CEO. He is trying to work with the fire department as we speak, and believes what he is currently doing meets code requirements.


In case this all is news to you, actually, in some cities this service has been available for some time. Filld is an 18-month-old startup with thousands of customers in Silicon Valley. And now they are branching out. Filld began service in San Francisco on Monday, May 2, deploying three delivery trucks to start off.


How Does It Work?


So, how does it all work? Just like many of the services you can now order through your phone. You order via phone, your payment information has already been entered, once your car has been filled, the receipt for your purchase is emailed or texted to you. Simple and no hassle.


In looking at the big picture, since gas stations are all self-service anyway, long gone is the advantage of pulling in somewhere that they actually know about cars, or can check your oil, etc., not that these services could not be provided by “Uber-Fillup” as well. So what is the advantage of a gas station anyway, other than dirty restrooms and bad coffee. Ah, I didn’t mean that! But, real estate is getting more and more valuable, particularly in well-populated cities.


Diesel and gasoline have actually been delivered to farms, construction companies, and rural locations, to name a few, for years, so fuel delivery is nothing new. People assume though that the larger tankers on the highways have safety features built-in, although spills from a tanker truck are horrendous when they do happen.  


What people are not used to is a smaller company, perhaps operating on a tight budget, who might be less cautious, hauling gas through local neighborhoods. All assumptions both ways, I agree. But this is what is worrying people I think.


The delivery startups are still fine tuning the business models, and are experimenting with several. However, they all agree on one thing; Owning a well-equipped truck is far less expensive than owning gas station. And the more fuel they sell, the less they have to pay for their gas. As far as charging customers, most charge a delivery fee; $5 as an example, and then charge per gallon of gas a price equal to the lowest price they can find in the area they serve.  


What Do You Think?


So, now my question to you. Do you like it? Would you use it? If you already have used the service, please let us know how it was.


Tags: uber fill up, Gasoline, New services, filling up, convenience, best car repair, murrieta car repair, american auto care

*This originally was a Bloomberg Technology article written by Eric Newcomer