Fuelling changing social practices – music to our ears?

´╗┐Imagine this scenario. You are driving up in your car, doing your daily jobs, and then realise you are running low on fuel. So you take the nearest opportunity to fill up as you drive up to a petrol station – it may even be part of your local supermarket. Would you expect to pay for your fuel first and then be refunded?

There may be some that question the practicality of this. How is it possible to pay for fuel first before you have even filled up the car? This method would require you to estimate the amount of fuel you need, and then pre-pay it in advance. But what if you simply wanted to fill the car up to its maximum before embarking on a long drive? Would you be forced to buy fuel in large increments, perhaps by ten pounds’ worth at a time, before inching your way in five, and then one-pound increments, so as to avoid paying more than you actually bought? And don’t forget, each purchase would have to be pre-paid.

This system seems rather impractical at first glance. The above scenario would require you to make numerous purchases on your card, and multiple attempts at topping up the fuel. In the past, it would have meant a simple trip to the fuel pump, one attempt, and one payment. Making multiple attempts at both would simply mean spending longer time at the pump, resulting in delays and lost revenues for service stations. Service stations would simply have to raise their prices to make up for the lost custom.

But why is this scheme of pre-paid filling up being considered in the first place? It is because drivers have been filling up, then driving off. This theft of fuel costs the UK millions of pounds each year.

This new social practice is in response to how society has developed.

Ideas usually start out on the periphery before they graduate to the mainstream. This is no further more evident than in the alternative group Nirvana, who – as the Stroud Green piano teacher website tells us – were alternative way beyond the time before “alternative” became a mainstream genre in the music industry! Perhaps, in a similar vein, there will be changing social practices starting from daily areas such as fuel pumps.

Put it this way – ten years ago you wouldn’t trust supermarket staff to pick your fruit and veg for you, yet online shopping has grown and it has become commonplace in daily life. Why not other practices too?