We get our shopping and our takeaways delivered, so why not acquire petrol and diesel the same way? That’s the thinking behind Refuel, a locally-developed app and service that wants to convince you that having your fuel delivered is the way to go.
And, on the surface, it seems like a cool idea. Whip out an app, and await a custom-built refuelling truck that’ll top your car up for R20… plus the price of the petrol you put in. Refuel, which operates in Johannesburg for the moment, uses trucks that “[meet and exceed] all safety regulations and requirements and exceeds municipal guidelines for the safe storage and transportation of fuel.”
No more waiting to Refuel?
But the app seems like a solution in search of a problem. Most drivers take routes to or from the office that take them past filling stations, meaning that it’s not that far out of your way to top your tank up. And petrol stations are placed where they are because they’re convenient for the vast majority. The time-saving factor seems like a bit of a stretch, particularly when you factor in actual delivery.
When awaiting delivery, you could leave your petrol cap open, one of the options when it comes to refuelling your car. But there’s nothing to stop someone siphoning your existing fuel in the interim — unless you’re really certain about your security. And if you’ve got to head down from your office to your car to open the cap for the attendant/delivery guy, you’re not saving much time at all.
It’s (mostly) just business
Which might be (partly) why Refuel isn’t really targeting the average person. Instead, its creators are looking to fuel up fleets of cars and generators — options that make far more sense. Taking one truck to a fleet of cars is much more cost effective than taking one truck to several consumers. Refuel seems aware of this, which is why they originally planned to team up with large companies and office parks to deliver fuel at central locations — without having a whole lot of back and forth for the truck (which isn’t exactly environmentally friendly).
As a service for the average person, however, Refuel still makes less sense than just driving your own car to your nearest petrol station. Still, if you’re drawn to the novelty of the idea or just really, really hate going to the petrol station, then the app is available on both Android and iOS. Payment via the app is through your credit card, and users can request a rand or litre value when requesting a Refuel. Both petrol and diesel are available, from the same truck. But not the same nozzle, obviously.