Just when you thought the cost of motoring was becoming ludicrous, a new scheme to charge more based on AI and a crafty algorithm looks set to go ahead in the UK.
Danish company a2i Systems has developed software that monitors usage at the pumps. If there’s a spike in activity and the pumps are being drained at a rapid rate, the AI kicks in and adjusts the cost per litre. The cost may well rise by 2p at busier times. Doesn’t sound like much. However, for a 60 litre tank on a car that’s used to doing some miles, it’ll soon add up.
Similarly, if activity at the pump decreases and the trend is for the pumps to be relatively inactive, the AI will mark the cost per litre down.
The Express states (quite alarmingly)
DRIVERS could soon be forced to pay more money for their petrol during the school run and on bank holidays.
But this is a little misleading. It is based on the assumption that school runs and bank holidays are the busiest periods for motorists. I was never keen to disrupt the already frantic school run with a 10 minute detour to the filling station.
The scheme isn’t anything new and is being used extensively throughout Europe and the US. And it’s due to arrive in the UK in just a few months!
We at Man Towers love our cars and love to travel and visit family and friends across the country. Malcolm, our esteemed editor in chief, takes his 1969 VW Camper to the west coast of Scotland every summer!
During a conversation in the office yesterday we tried to think of the best and worst aspects of AI driven fuel pricing. I think it’s fair to say that we saw very little positives but it’s the one negative that we arrived at that alarmed us the most. Hoarding fuel in your garage that was bought when prices were at their lowest.
According to the Express, Luke Bosdet, a fuel analyst at the AA, said:
This represents a huge change which would be most unfair on commuters and families visiting relatives during the holidays.
It will wind them up no end as they will become wise to the fact that retailers can exploit price movements.
We concur. Motoring could and should be a lot of fun. Adding this frustration at the pumps isn’t going to win the fuel corporations and supermarkets too many friends.
I’ll be watching this story with some interest in the coming weeks and months.