The fuel company Sinclair is the first gas station chain to announce plans to use a new Apple CarPlay feature that will allow drivers to purchase gas from their car dashboard rather than inserting a credit card into the pump machine. This comes as the newest car-based purchase option available through CarPlay, which has already been able to order food and pay for parking and electric vehicle charging.
But using this gas-purchasing feature is not just as simple as tapping a button. An iPhone user will have to download a given fuel company’s app and enter their payment credentials, and only then will the user be able to navigate their CarPlay dashboard to pay. While the feature could be attractive to many, it could cause frustration in dealing with gas company apps’ user interface.
This comes after a number of failed or unpopular in-car fuel pay features like Exxon and Ford’s Speedpass Plus app or GM, who tried to use a similar feature with Shell but eventually discontinued its app store. Many speculate, however, that CarPlay is already too big to fail and will continue to grow in popularity, potentially annoying automobile companies who have been spending time and resources toward their own in-car tech.
With CarPlay apps already able to pay for electric charging stations, pressure could be mounting for auto companies to adopt the popular Apple technology as they compete with electric vehicle-focused companies— not only due to fuel costs — but in tech adoption as well.