On-Demand Fueling Steps Up

Yoshi adds AI, fuel discounts as it grows subscription business

SAN FRANCISCO -- On-demand fueling service Yoshi, which seeks to disrupt the gas-station model, is making enhancements to its own offer as it grows across the United States.

Yoshi has had a growth spurt over the past year, expanding beyond its original Bay Area and Nashville markets into a total of 16 markets, with Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., Cleveland and St. Louis added in 2018 alone. Most recently, it has debuted in the Washington, D.C., area, including parts of Maryland and Virginia, The Washington Post reported.

Its growth has been fueled by $13.7 million in Series A funding led by ExxonMobil Corp. and General Motors. By the end of 2018, Yoshi is slated to launch in nine additional markets.

A Yoshi membership costs $20 per month, and includes weekly deliveries of gasoline (there is also an a la carte $7 delivery fee). Members also get free tire checks and air fill-ups, and the ability to earn points toward future gasoline purchases and vehicle services such as car washes and detailing, wiper-blade replacement and oil changes. Yoshi provides ExxonMobil’s Exxon or Mobil regular or Supreme Plus Synergy-branded gasoline and Mobil 1 and Mobil Super lubricants.

Customers can schedule appointments in Yoshi’s app, with the help of “Rachel,” an artificial intelligence (AI) bot. Yoshi’s field technicians keep customers updated on their progress through the smartphone app.

“Every time a field technician fills up a vehicle, we have them take pictures so you know if there’s a dent in your bumper or a scratch on the vehicle,” Bryan Frist, co-founder of San Francisco-based Yoshi, told the newspaper. “If we notice your passenger side wiper blade is broken, then you’d get an email and a push notification on your phone, and with one button, you could schedule to get it replaced.”

According to Yoshi, customers save an average of $240 per year by using its services instead of fueling up at a gas station. That’s because it claims to price fuel below the local market average thanks to cost efficiencies it has gained by fueling up cars parked together at corporate offices. It also offers a discount of $1 per gallon on fuel purchases if a customer also buys an oil change. Those who purchase a car detailing earn a free tank of gasoline.

Yoshi is banking on the premium consumers are increasingly placing on time over money.

“The more demanding my career has become, the more I’ve realized I don’t want my free time to be consumed by mundane tasks that I don’t want to be doing—and that includes going to the gas station to fill up,” Whitney Block, a nurse practitioner and Yoshi customer from Redwood City, Calif., told the Post.

“It’s not fun, it’s not stimulating and it’s not enjoyable,” she said. “If I can pay somebody to get it done for me, I will totally do that.”

Photo courtesy of Yoshi. 

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