Genius fuel idea could save every motorist money
Motorists could soon save hundreds of dollars a year in fuel costs via a new app.
Entrepreneurs Daniel Devine and Luigi Antonuccio are gearing up for the launch of their app, Refueler, which allows users to pre-purchase fuel and avoid costly price hikes.
Users will be able to pre-purchase up to $250 worth of fuel at the advertised price and will then be given ten days to redeem the purchase at the selected petrol station.
Following more than two years of research and development, the app went live in a single petrol station in Melbourne today, ahead of a national roll-out planned before Christmas.
Mr Devine said the launch came at the perfect time, given recent price fluctuations which saw fuel prices hit ten-year highs earlier this month, prompting renewed calls for real-time fuel pricing in South Australia.
"The RAA's biggest recommendation is to fill up while it's cheap but sometimes you can't because your tank's full, you might be at work or you just can't get to a servo," he said.
"If you see that fuel prices are rising you can just download the app, pre-purchase fuel at the cheaper price at whatever servo on our platform and then you can pick up the fuel later.
"Our plan is to roll this out in SA before Christmas, especially to help the Christmas budget."
An Australian Consumer and Competition report, released earlier this month, found motorists who filled up at SA's cheapest fuel retailers saved up to $159 last year.
The Refueler co-founders believe their app, which is free to download and use, will deliver even bigger savings.
Mr Antonuccio said 500 petrol stations across the country, including around 20 in South Australia, had registered interest in joining the app ahead of a major fundraising campaign kicking off today.
Refueler is hoping to raise at least $500,000 via equity crowdfunding website Birchal, which
offers start-ups a way to tap the "crowd" for investment in exchange for a stake in the business.
"We feel like this is a big enough cause for the public to want to get involved in, and investors will also get discounts on tanks purchased through the app," Mr Antonuccio said.
"The funding will allow us to develop extra features and actually install the app into the servos, and marketing as well.
"The other features that we're developing are a peer-to-peer sharing system where, for example, parents can buy fuel for their kids and transfer it through the app.
"And in our reward system any retailer can be involved - so even a cafe could offer 10 per cent cash back in fuel credits and so you could earn unlimited amounts of fuel."
Businesses and fleet users will be able to buy in bulk and send credits to drivers, Mr Antonuccio said.
"Our future plans will be global expansion, and AI (artificial intelligence). We could predict for example when you're going to run out of fuel, and the app will be able to auto-buy your fuel at the cheapest price, close to work or close to home."
RAA spokesman Mark Borlace said the Refueler app was worth investigating.
"In principle it seems positive news for motorists, although we would need to see the full details of how it would work to provide a more informed opinion,'' he said.
"Apps such as these would greatly benefit from the introduction of real-time fuel pricing, which reveal the cheapest prices available at fuel outlets across the state.''
Refueler has been endorsed by MTA Queensland and last year took out second prize at the Startup World Cup in Dubai.