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Apple to add fuel purchases to car software features — but not for India

Apple to add fuel purchases to car software features — but not for India

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By Reuters  IST (Published)

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Fuel apps are just the latest in a sustained push by Apple to make it possible to tap to buy from the navigation screen. It has already opened up CarPlay to apps for parking, electric vehicle charging and ordering food, and it also is adding driving task apps such as logging mileage on business trips.

Apple Inc wants you to start buying fuel directly from your car dashboard as early as this September, when the newest version of its CarPlay software rolls out, accelerating the company's push to turn your vehicle into a store for goods and services. Because of low-to-no adoption of CarPlay in India and myriad regulations, this feature may not come to India.
A new feature quietly unveiled at Apple's developer conference in June will allow CarPlay users to tap an app to navigate to a pump and buy petrol straight from a screen in the car, skipping the usual process of inserting or tapping a credit card. Details of Apple's demo for developers have not previously been reported.
But Dallas-based HF Sinclair, which markets its fuel at 1,600 stations in the United States, told Reuters that it plans to use the new CarPlay technology and will announce details in the coming months.
"We are excited by the idea that consumers could navigate to a Sinclair station and purchase fuel from their vehicle navigation screen," said Jack Barger, the company's senior vice president of marketing.
Fuel apps are just the latest in a sustained push by Apple to make it possible to tap to buy from the navigation screen. It has already opened up CarPlay to apps for parking, electric vehicle charging and ordering food, and it also is adding driving task apps such as logging mileage on business trips.
Apple currently does not charge automakers, developers or users for CarPlay; the business interest is putting Apple at the forefront as cars transform into rolling computers, said Horace Dediu, an analyst with Asymco and founder of Micromobility Industries. The new feature will hit hundreds of car models already compatible with CarPlay when Apple releases software updates this fall.
"Forget about Apple Car — Apple CarPlay is a bigger deal," Dediu said. "It's very likely to scale to millions and millions of cars, if not hundreds of millions."
To use the new CarPlay feature this fall, iPhone users will need to download a fuel company's app to their phone and enter payment credentials to set up the app. After the app is set up, users will be able to tap on their navigation screen to activate a pump and pay.
"It's a massive marketplace, and consumers really want to take the friction out of payments," said Donald Frieden, chief executive officer of Houston-based P97 Networks, which makes the digital plumbing that many fuel companies will use to connect their apps to cars.
Frieden said he has fielded calls from oil companies that are interested to make their apps work with CarPlay. BP, Shell and Chevron Corp did not respond to requests for comment about whether they plan to make their iPhone apps work with CarPlay.