“I’m off gas stations.”
That’s what I tell people.
“Haven’t been to one for weeks,” I say as if regularly fueling up my car is a smoking habit I’m proud of breaking and can finally brag about conquering the social stigma.
And it’s true that I’m off gas stations. Except in case of emergencies. And no, I didn’t get an electric car.
In a driving town like Minneapolis, you could certainly take public transit to many places. But the car culture is strong here. And anyone who follows my car on Twitter knows I drive a lot.
Stopping for fuel is a weekly headache but isn’t consistent enough to be a ritual. So about a month ago I started using Yoshi – a gas delivery and car maintenance delivery service that brings the gas to your car wherever it’s parked.
It’s like Uber, for gas.
Yoshi CEO Nick Alexander told Forbes, “Yoshi wants to make every vehicle a self-fueling, self-servicing vehicle. You should never think about how, when, or where to get gas, change your oil, check your brake pads, etc. Because Yoshi comes by every week and is always checking and servicing your car as needed.”
I’ve found the idea of being “off gas stations” extremely disruptive. Stopping for a snack, coffee or pastry in the morning is part of the routine for millions of Americans. The sales strategy for entire product lines — chewing gum, mints and beef jerky — revolves around the idea of convenience car culture needing to stop for fuel, and then impulsively grabbing something.
So while I’m parked in a downtown Minneapolis parking ramp sometime during the week, every week, a Yoshi gas truck drives up to my car, accesses the gas tank (you leave it popped open for them), and texts me a photo of them gassing up my car and the receipt.
The “catch” here is that there’s a monthly fee (~$16), but the ability to add on service, like changing broken windshield wipers, is extremely attractive to my personality and lifestyle — which would never ever involve going to an auto parts store to buy car parts and doing the work myself. On my commute this morning the “Check Tire Pressure” light came on in my car, so I pulled up the Yoshi app, clicked a button, and for an extra $2 they will check and fill my tires while fueling my car today.
Beyond being “off gas stations” there’s another disruptive feature of Yoshi, which is giving yourself the regular experience of starting a car you personally didn’t refuel with a full tank of gas. Other than picking up a rental car or perhaps buying a new car off the lot, there are very few times when you start a vehicle to find a full tank ready to rock. It’s the little things, isn’t it?
For now, I’m enjoying the novelty period where this service feels new and disruptive. In the coming years and decades there will be continue to be personal convenience services we haven’t expected that will change our lives, power structures and business models. So exciting!
See you on the internet!