GAS UP, WITHOUT OPENING YOUR WALLET
THE ADVENT OF THE SELF-service gasoline station may have made filling up the family car quick and easy. Now, Mobil Oil Corp. has found another way to make it even faster and simpler.
The giant oil company, along with Texas Instruments Inc. and Dresser Industries Inc., has developed an electronic payment system for gas stations. Called the Mobil Speedpass, it uses radio frequency signals, similar to the technique used for electronic payments at tollbooths. Customers fill out an application at a Mobil station, including their credit-card number. They then get a tiny electronic device that attaches to a key chain. At stations equipped with the system, drivers pull up in front of the gas pump, wave the Speedpass tag, and start filling up. The bill is automatically put on the credit card and included with the monthly statement.
Mobil has been testing the system for six months in St. Louis and plans to roll it out this year, starting in Boston, Chicago, Orlando, and San Diego, among other cities. To offer Speedpass, station owners will have to install new pumps costing up to $17,000--minus a $1,000 rebate from Mobil for each pump.
EDITED BY IRA SAGER
Updated June 15, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.