An ever-changing technologyscape keeps us all on our toes as manufacturers scramble to design solutions to meet deadlines for demanding regulations and strive to stay abreast developing security hacks to combat personal identity theft at the pumps. Add to this the penchant by ubergeek developers and consumers for the latest ultimate gadgets for interacting at the pumps, and we have a fascinating array of necessary and strictly indulgent features available at fuel pumps. How is all of this technology connected to provide the fuel that keeps us moving and generate healthy sales for all lined up in the pipeline from pumping the crude to delivering the refined and transacting every step along the way?
Why The Changing Technology At Gas Pumps
Earliest fuel pumps did two things: Beginning in the 1880s, they dispensed and measured kerosene. Attendants calculated costs, and consumers paid in cash or ran a tab. Fuel dispensers with dials followed, then calibrated glass cylinders, and finally, what became the first metered gas pump to dispense multiple fuels heralded the concept officially dubbed the “filling station.” The evolution of fuel pumps has driven through many crossroads marrying present technology to future demands.
Modern hybrid vehicles offer cleaner-burning energy options but require very different dispensing, one of which can take hours. Regulations are continually issued requiring cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Someone has to fund all of the research, development and deployment of the solutions and eventually, that cost is collected from consumers at the pump.
What used to be highly personal social interactions between tightly-knit community members has become a glitzy shopping experience for a global community complete with commercials hopefully leading to inside sales. With the swipe of plastic, scan of a QR code or touch of a fingerprint, we can tap our way to pay for our fuel purchases, refreshments, and all kinds of merchandise inside. Here are highlights of current and upcoming technology at fuel pumps.
Transacting includes not only paying for the fuel but also redeeming points and other incentives to lower its cost while driving traffic inside. AvaLAN Wireless said, “Self-serve fuel pumps need to deliver fuel and accept payments quickly to enhance safety and convenience.” They must protect against data theft and fraud, which are a top priority for fuel pump manufacturers and retrofitting.
Enhancing Customer Experiences
The drive to attract traffic inside that used to be directed from stickers and small signs on or near the pumps are now backdrops for modern fuel pump media platforms. They can give convenience store retailers complete control over the content, sales and enhancements while it manages the logistics and reporting functions. Wayne reports an average of 33 percent of consumers a day convert to inside purchases. Appealing advertisements and entertainment make for better customer experiences that net handsome returns on investments in repeat business and impulse buys.
ID and Other Theft Prevention
EMV Chips make every transaction unique so that data from an integrated circuit card (IC) cannot be used to forge cards and commit fraud. Credit card issuers are scrambling to meet increased Europay, Mastercard and VISA (EMV) standards issued October 1, 2015, as they migrate from outgoing magnetic strip-based technology to the EMV chip card technology at automated fuel pumps. New dispensers and systems are easily installed, but regulatory and implementation challenges include having enough regulatory-compliant hardware and software to effect upgrades on existing ones.
InstaKey has a technology for padding security at fuel pumps and inside stores using “restricted keys individually serialized, rekeyable lock cylinders and cloud-based key tracking software and reporting capabilities” to stop fuel theft and credit-card skimming.
Hydrogen Fuel Pump Dispensers
Mainstream hydrogen fuel infrastructure will have to be refined before we will see widespread adoption of fuel-cell vehicles like Hundai Tuscon, but SimpleFuel is using a one million dollar prize from the Department of Energy to develop home refueling stations.
As the October 2017 deadline for chip-enabled cards approaches, non-chip enabled gas stations most vulnerable to criminal theft of customer payment data may take the hardest hits when it comes to chargebacks for fraud. Since the least EMV-compliant entity in a fraud case will shoulder the most liability, those backed by corporate conglomerates will fare better as they spend deeper resources to keep their technology and fuel pumps secure.