By on April 19, 2018

GM marketplace

General Motors is updating its on-board digital marketplace to allow customers to purchase fuel without ever having to leave the vehicle. You’ll still have to leave the confines of the vehicle to actually pump the gas, unless you live in New Jersey, but the exchange of money is handled entirely by the world’s first “in-dash fuel payment system.”

What a time to be alive.

The new service is available via the Shell widget, which is already featured on GM’s Marketplace app (providing directions to the nearest Shell station). The corporate collaboration allows respective patrons to select a nearby Shell station, use the map to navigate there, park, select a pump, fill up, and drive away. Payment is automatically charged through Shell’s Fuel Rewards program. 

While Marketplace is available on all 2017 or newer Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac vehicles, the Shell widget is only available on the Chevys. However, Automotive News reports that GM intends to expand the service to other brands later in the year, eventually making it available on 4 million vehicles by the end of 2018. That includes late-model cars that have already been purchased, as GM will just update the vehicle’s infotainment system remotely. You might not even notice anything has changed.

This author has been particularly harsh on automakers dipping into data acquisition, e-commerce, and in-car marketing as a new source of revenue — as well as the increased emphasis on compulsory connectivity. People are essentially giving up their privacy so companies can offer a handful of contrived conveniences and make a little extra money on each customer.

However, that doesn’t mean regular folks don’t want these features — especially if they can dissociate themselves from the potential downsides of implementation. If you don’t mind corporate partnerships trying to curry your favor or the prospect of a company selling your personal information, then this is a non-issue. But if those things are not to your liking, then you’re about to become to be exceptionally unhappy with the direction new cars are heading.

As other automakers rush to keep pace, General Motors is leading this particular charge in the United States. Marketplace was an incredibly smart addition, from a financial perspective, and has already yielded partnerships with various companies hoping the technology will help them reel in additional customers.

Marketplace already allows drivers to order and pay for things like drive-thru coffee and using it in conjunction with various franchises can also garner customers unique discounts. But critics claim the system’s design, which intends drivers to use the app while driving, is potentially hazardous. We’re of a similar mind, especially when it wouldn’t be any harder to book a table or hotel room via telephone.

“There’s nothing about this that’s safe,” National Safety Council President Deborah Hersman said last last year. “If this is why they want Wi-Fi in the car, we’re going to see fatality numbers go up even higher than they are now.”

General Motors maintains that Marketplace is easier to navigate than a standard cellphone and has been developed to require fewer steps. The company believes its dashboard apps are a safer alternative and aid in keeping people’s eyes off their mobile devices.

For now, the gassing widget is being run as a pilot program in Detroit, Seattle, and Houston. But the partnership between General Motors and Shell says the service will expand to the rest of the country in the coming months, eventually reaching more than 14,000 stations.

[Image: General Motors]

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34 Comments on “GM Wants Customers to Pay for Gas Without Leaving the Vehicle...”


  • avatar
    Tstag

    You can do this already if you drive a Jag or a Land Rover. It’s a bit last year

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Now your car can rob you. Or do you expect the car’s signal not to be intercepted by some unauthorized receiver attached to the pump?

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      GM is doing this with Shell only, and I’ve not heard of Shell’s Speedpass being compromised. (Assuming that the concept is similar to Speedpass.)

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Speedpass (similar to Amoco/Exxon) still requires a near touch to the sensor–a distance of 1″ or less. This GM system will be no less than a foot away from the pump and with some drivers I’ve seen it as far away as four feet from the pump. That means the radio needs to be more than 8x stronger and therefore 16x more likely to be intercepted if a receiver is on the pump or even in the trash/windshield washer can at the end of the island. The card skimmer had to be less than ⅛” away to be effective.

        • 0 avatar
          Secret Hi5

          With Speedpass and similar systems, what information is transmitted? If CC info is NOT transmitted, then perhaps there’s no valuable info to steal. I don’t know how it works. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’ve nailed the question right on the head; we DON’T know what information is transmitted. We do know that it is possible to transmit personal data in the form of credit card numbers and pin numbers with some wireless systems while others use coded tokens that represent that data without sending the real data. Apple Pay, for instance, is a token system that offers among the best security for credit card transactions available. Certain of the Android systems, like Samsung Pay, work similarly while Google’s old Wallet transmitted live data (don’t know if it still does, however.) Whichever you use, learn its security processes if you can and make sure you can trust it to keep your data private even while in use.

          • 0 avatar
            civicjohn

            Secret Hi5,

            Speedpass (and some other forms of e-pay) can use ApplePay to complete the transaction. I doubt that there is any additional information gleaned other than your email address, locality, etc.

            If you’re down with what info you give Apple with your phone, I don’t think you’re really going to see anything else other than locality-based info to pester you with ads and email promotions (both of which you can opt-out of).

            I basically make the assumption that all of my personal crap is out there and I just have to monitor my savings. checking, and brokerage funds to see if I’ve been compromised. I deleted my Facebook account 8 years ago and won’t let either of my kids to be on any social network, since I pay the bills, I get to know their password, and if I see any of that crap the phone is gone.

            I do loves me some ApplePay when I need to send them some money, I can do it with a text message…

  • avatar
    JMII

    But getting out was the perfect excuse to buy beef jerky and a slurpee.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Who doesn’t just “pay at the pump”?

    Big time saver GM.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Much like push button start, I expect that this will be most popular with women by eliminating one more need to rummage around in the purse for something, in this case the credit/debit card.

      Both genders will think that this is somehow safer, as well, reducing the chance of having your card info stolen at the pump. But as Vulpine notes above, scammers will just shift their efforts to intercepting the radio signal from the car, and it will be even less noticeable than a skimmer on the pump.

    • 0 avatar
      ihateyourmustache

      Well, it gets pretty cold up north in the winter. If i can save one minute in the cold/wind I am all in.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Ideally, this app would itemize the taxes separate from the cost of fuel.

    Then, here in PA, people would see that every 20-gallon fillup (@ $2.93/gallon) actually costs the following:

    Total pump price = $58.60
    Fuel = $39.58
    Federal tax = $3.68
    State tax = $15.34

    Only when people realize how much they’re paying in taxes will anything change. Automatic payroll taxes, sales taxes, and fuel taxes are evil genius moves by the government.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      There is an app for that

    • 0 avatar
      jonsey

      Gas taxes are used to fund road construction and maintenance. How do you propose to fund the roads you drive on if you don’t pay gas taxes?

      I for one would pay more gas taxes if it meant more roads (less congestion) and better roads (less potholes). The federal gas tax has not been raised in decades. Since its not indexed for inflation, that means federal gas taxes are the lowest they’ve been in years. Combine that with better mpg of newer cars, and there isn’t enough money to properly maintain our infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Allow me to make a minor correction, jonsey: “Gas taxes are •MEANT• to fund road construction and maintenance.” It seems that certain government groups believe that money can be spent anywhere they want to spend it, just like they do with so many other dedicated, single-purpose funds.

        Oh, I agree; some form of road tax is needed, whether it be on the fuel or on the vehicle itself (on a per-mile basis.) But that road tax needs to not only be dedicated for transportation purposes (yes, railroads and airplanes pay fuel taxes too) but used exclusively for those purposes and not those costly, usually unwanted “pork barrel” projects.

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        jonsey,

        just do a quick Google search. States don’t “wall off” gas taxes and use them exclusively for roads. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – they use them to fund pensions, cover budget shortfalls, etc.

        In a perfect world that would be the case, just like the Social Security funds are currently residing in a “lockbox”.

        Yeah, right.

        • 0 avatar
          jonsey

          I agree with you there. I live in California, and the state keeps hiking the automobile registration fees, which are used to balance the state budget. It’s frustrating for sure.

          I work for a county agency, and I can tell you we don’t get enough money to maintain our roads. We are talking about letting some go back to gravel. I don’t know about the state, but there isn’t much waste here. Only two road engineers for the entire county.

          Road tax money shouldn’t be used for non road purposes, but it’s not sustainable to leave the tax at the same dollar amount without adjusting for inflation either. Maybe a good compromise would be raising the tax, and dedicating all money to the roads?

          • 0 avatar
            civicjohn

            jonsey,

            I have an office in Burbank, and one in Times Square NYC. It’s like they are racing to see how much they can tax my company. My NYC employees (one lives in NJ and has a 2-hour commute) get almost 50% of their paycheck sent to various Federal, state, county, borough, etc. Three years ago, I was assessed by the state of CA that we had not been paying taxes properly and I had a $40,000 tax bill.

            After dropping $3k in legal fees, I owed $400. Complete arrogance combined with coming down on every small business they can. If I didn’t have to physically be in either city, I would move everything to TN, where I live.

            I personally don’t have a problem with a rise in the gas tax, either on the Federal or State level (or both), but how in the heck can I know that money will go to the roads? We have so many roads that have just had a couple of layers of asphalt laid down, give it 2 winters and it goes to hell.

            When will somebody actually take ownership of the gas tax and force the revenues to be used on roads? If they can’t, that would be my only reason for not agreeing to a raise (as if I would have any effect).

          • 0 avatar
            HotPotato

            Or do like other counties: pass your own local roads tax. Not a magic bullet, but the voters in my county passed, and later renewed, an additional increment to our local sales tax. Because it’s subject to voter approval and periodic reapproval, there is a spending plan for it that reflects what the voters want; in our case that meant another freeway lane in one spot, more bike lanes and safe routes to school in another, and general pavement upgrades and maintenance in another. The trouble of course is when voters are so eager to screw the other guy out of what he wants (damn lefties with their bike lanes, damn righties with their freeway widening) that they screw themselves out of what they want too by voting no. Also, making a spending proposal that’s palatable to all these adversarial constituencies ends up costing money for market research and polling. Still, it beats the heck out of nothing at all.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @jonsey:

        Around here, I’ve been proposing replacing the fuel tax at the pump with a usage tax:

        Tax = GVWR x annual miles driven x tax rate

        Then everybody would pay an amount commensurate with their vehicle’s abuse of the roads, including trucks, EVs, and every other vehicle out there.

        Rising CAFE numbers mean that pump taxes can never keep up with infrastructure needs as cars become more efficient. And EVs – as much as I’m a fan – really shouldn’t get away without paying for roads.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Mark one up for SCE to AUX. He got this one right.

          Especially now that plug-in and battery powered cars are on the market.

        • 0 avatar
          jonsey

          That’s a good solution. Although a use tax based on mileage and weight doesn’t guarantee the money isn’t funneled to other uses.

        • 0 avatar
          civicjohn

          SCE to AUX,

          Agreed with what you say. Bring it on. Progressive and Allstate, among other insurance firms, have offered insurance based on driving habits if you put the dongle on your OBD II port. You can see what data can be collected by looking up OBD II on Wikipedia.

          Gas taxes are quite regressive and hurt the lower end of wage earners, kind of like freaking lottery tickets (but that’s a whole other rant).

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Says the man who has clearly never been to the Keystone State.

        “I for one would pay more gas taxes if it meant more roads (less congestion) ”

        I would gladly pay MOAR gas taxes if it meant fewer drivers were allowed to live near me and get in my way at all hours.

        Oh, can’t do that huh.

        Mark them zero. Taxation is theft. There is zero correlation between “your taxes” and “results”. ZERO.

        “Since its not indexed for inflation, that means federal gas taxes are the lowest they’ve been in years”

        Whose fault is that again? Hey, why is it the people with guns and nuclear weapons allow accountants from a money cartel to debase everything? Funny how that all works.

        • 0 avatar
          civicjohn

          28-Cars-Later,

          I can’t understand your point, is this about the conspiracy theory that society has to endure?

          That train left the station long ago.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          You say: “I would gladly pay MOAR gas taxes if it meant fewer drivers were allowed to live near me and get in my way at all hours. Oh, can’t do that huh.”

          Actually you can. There is a solution for that: toll lanes, even whole toll freeways. Driving in southern California, especially Orange County, they’re the bane of my damn existence: five lanes of freeway, three of them gridlocked and two of them empty because you have to have a transponder and an account preloaded with $dough to use them. If you’re lucky enough to live there and thus be able to get a transponder, and rich enough to drop a bunch of extra dough on your drive every day, you can whiz past the motionless fume-choked plebs at 80 mph. It’s a cruel mockery of public infrastructure—available only to those with $dough to spare, and the contracts often literally prohibit improving remaining infrastructure in order to guarantee profit for the freeway contractor—but it’s what you want and it’s possible.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      SCE to AUX,

      just install GasBuddy in there and let people find the CHEAPEST gas. Otherwise, this is a useless app when you have to get out anyway and pump.

      Pretty lame way to scrub more of my personal data, if they want it, give me some power in my choice of where I purchase.

      Re: showing the taxes paid, I have 13 employees in my company, I doubt any of them take a look at the withholding. That should change. Maybe if we only had to collect it every month, or every quarter, when they got their check that had 3 months of Federal taxes, they would be lined up at the door for an advance (and my average salary I pay is $60k +).

  • avatar
    slavuta

    it reminds me the company, which says, “and don’t you worry going out for lunch. We bring sandwiches every day”.

    What GM rally wants is to fatten America even more.

    Thanks, but no. Thanks. I would rather get out and stretch. And by the way, do they want me to pay for it too?

  • avatar
    notapreppie

    Wait… do people not already get out of the car to pump their gas?
    How is this adding value to people’s lives?

  • avatar
    TW5

    Corporate spy grid is on the verge of total global collapse, yet the car manufacturers are still daydreaming about monitoring your whereabouts, buying habits, and collecting a tuppence on every transaction?

    Didn’t the news just break today that Facebook is relocated 1.5B user accounts to the US to avoid global privacy regulations?

    They have internet access to media publications in Detroit, right? The writing is on the wall. Don’t get class-actioned out of existence (again).

  • avatar
    ernest

    Cool- another new app in search of a problem to solve.

  • avatar
    madferret9

    Privacy concerns aside, this hardly seems more efficient than swiping my credit card. And it also locks you into buying gas from 1 company. I can’t speak for everyone, but does anyone actually care/look at what brand of gas they are buying? I just go to the station that’s convenient.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Unless you live in a state with full-service gas stations (how many are left, two?), this is pretty pointless; you gon’ get out the car anyhow.


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