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The UK has an app that helps you refuel. We should adopt it too!

15 June, 2021

By downloading an app, people who use wheelchairs could convince petrol station operators to make refuelling easier, writes VICTOR BIBBY.

People living with disability can access filling assistance at many petrol stations in the UK, thanks to an award-winning phone app that is available in Australia.

While we can get the app here, it won't do much for us without support from our fuel companies. I'd like everyone who needs help with refuelling to download the app, so that we can show fuel suppliers that people want them to use it.

The app, called fuelService, was developed and launched about 2019 by Niall El-Assaad, who lives with spinal cord injury. In countries where it has been adopted, it helps service station attendants provide driveway service to disabled drivers.

Mr El-Assaad says people in the UK can now use the app at 29 per cent of petrol stations there, including outlets operated by Shell and other major suppliers. The app is also used in Ireland, Canada, and the USA - but not in Australia.

My son opened my eyes

My son has been living with spinal cord injury from an accident early last year. He brought the difficulties of refuelling close to home after he made a journey from Bendigo to visit me recently.

I recall how his face fell at what a trial it had been getting fuel, and his later remark that being so close to fuel fumes nearly gave him a “fix”.

I had learned about this app from a Shell promotional video. I asked myself why it wasn’t used in Australia, and contacted Mr El-Assaad.

He told me that anybody in Australia could download the app, and that last year he had shown it to major fuel companies here. But none had yet shown significant interest.

He said the best way to get attention from fuel companies, would be to demonstrate strong interest from your community in using the App.

The app helps you find the nearest registered service station, and make an appointment for refuelling at a convenient time.

Let's make it happen

I would like to contribute to my son by encouraging people here to download the app and register to use it.

The app helps you find the nearest fuelService registered service station, and make an appointment for refuelling at a convenient time for you and an attendant.

You arrive confident that they will be able to help you, and you simply enter your pump number - no need to blow your horn or anything else.

An attendant comes and fills your tank, and you pay from your car in one of the many ways available these days.

Free and easy

The app is easy to use and free. Go to www.fuelservice.org, change the little flag at top right to Australia, and click Get The App.

Or search for fuelService at the App Store (for iPhone users) or on Google Play (for Android phone users), and download it.

Both methods ask for your phone number, so as to minimise fraudulent use.

After you open the app you can search for petrol stations. Of course, you will find none in Australia.

We can change that if lots of people download the app. Ask your friends to ask their friends to help.

There would be nothing more powerful than thousands of voices saying to the fuel suppliers: “Give us fuelService - we are ready, when are you going to be?”

Victor Bibby is a retired engineer living in Geelong. Victor's son lives with a spinal cord injury.

Tags: Blog, Travel & Leisure, Health & Wellbeing