June 30 (Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) wants you to start buying gas directly from your car dashboard as early as this fall, 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.
A new feature quietly unveiled at Apple’s developer conference this month will allow CarPlay users to tap an app to navigate to a pump and buy gas 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 (DINO.N), which markets its gasoline at 1,600 stations in the United States, told Reuters that it plans to use the new CarPlay technology and will announce details in coming months.
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“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.
Fuel is a major expense for car owners. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimated in April that the average U.S. household will spend about $2,945 on gasoline in 2022, or about $455 more than last year.
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…