AUSTIN, Texas—Dover Fueling Solutions (DFS) has released its first-ever Future of Fueling Report, exploring current U.S. consumer trends, where the industry is headed and how fueling and convenience store owners can future-proof their businesses amid fluctuating fuel prices, increased demand for electric vehicles and a COVID-driven technological revolution at fuel sites.
“In The Future of Fueling Report, we set out to better understand end user preferences to prepare the fueling and convenience retail industry,” said Kendra Keller, vice president and general manager, North America at Dover Fueling Solutions. “We believe the findings in this report provide direction and actionable proactive steps c-store owners can take now to begin delivering on consumer expectations for the fueling experience of the future.”
According to the report, the top three features that consumers want to see most at the pump/convenience store are payment security/no card skimmers on pumps (70%), fast payments (66%) and the ability to pay for store items at the same time as fuel (51%). Gen Z answered this question a bit differently. The top three features this generation values most are in-store, self-service checkout/contactless shopping; contactless/touchless payments or mobile payment options; and loyalty programs.
When it comes to EV charging, the majority of Gen Zers and millennials would be more likely to consider purchasing an EV if more gas stations offered EV charging. But there are generational and location-based discrepancies inhibiting uptake, indicating that c-store owners should consider their local market and customer base before installing, says DFS.
When asked what amenities would be most valuable in an EV-dominant future, respondents selected coffee shops/cafes (39%), followed by sit-down restaurants (29%) and business centers or places to work (11%).
The services that Gen Z most want while waiting for their EV to charge are dry cleaning (22%), fitness center (20%) and business center/place to work (20%). Baby boomers on the other hand want a dog park (20%), a coffee shop (20%) and a business center/place to work (13%) while they’re waiting for their EV to juice.
Looking at the traditional customer, gas-station owners should evolve their services both at the pump and in the c-store, according to DFS. “All generations indicated that they often don’t feel incentivized to enter a store while shopping for gas,” writes DFS. The top reason they do not go inside the c-store is that they don’t have a need for the items offered in store (40%).
DFS found that consumers envision future gas stations to model the retro, animated series The Jetsons, according to anecdotal report data, including touchless and automatic self-services. DFS believes that these futuristic concepts could come to life via dedicated fueling lanes that offer fully contactless, digital-first experiences.
Also, amid increased instances of skimming schemes, economic instability and fluctuating gas prices, a significant number of respondents cited payment security and price transparency as top concerns. Only 12% of Gen Zers and 16% of millennials feel they get the amount of gas they pay for.
“One solution gas station owners can consider is providing consumers with a more granular breakdown of their fueling stats, using pumps that provide fueling stats to the thousandth decimal place,” writes DFS.
Read and download the full Future of Fueling Report.