New iOS 16 CarPlay feature could let you pay for fuel from your car’s screen

At WWDC, much of the attention was on the fancy next-generation CarPlay Apple previewed, but those experiences won’t appear in cars for several years.

Near term, something new for CarPlay in iOS 16 is the addition of new supported app categories for “fuel and driving tasks,” according to the iOS 16 feature preview page. A report from Reuters today says that some gas station chains are already preparing to take advantage of this and allow drivers to pay for fuel through the car’s infotainment center.

These new CarPlay apps will let developers make apps that help users fuel up from their car, access toll road information, and get towing assistance from the CarPlay-enabled display.

Reuters spoke to gas station chain HF Sinclair about the new feature, which runs about 1,600 gas stations in the US. Sinclar said it plans to use the technology and is excited that “consumers could navigate to a Sinclair station and purchase fuel from their vehicle navigation screen.”

Reuters also quotes Donald Frieden from P97 Networks, which manages the infrastructure behind digital fuel payments. Frieden says he has spoken to oil companies that want to make their apps work with CarPlay, although no brand is named explicitly.

From Apple’s developer guidance for developers, driving task apps should help enable tasks that people need to do while driving that are unrelated to navigation (e.g., a feature to find nearby shops is not allowed, as customers are expected to use the Maps app for that purpose). An example of a potential driving task app is a tool to help log mileage for business trip expenses.

Fueling apps must enable “meaningful functionality” relevant to driving and cannot merely be a list of nearby fueling stations.

The new driving task and fueling CarPlay app templates join previously supported activities such as audio, messaging, EV charging, parking, and quick food ordering.

iOS 16 is currently in developer beta and will be available for everyone this fall. It’s unclear how long after that customers will have to wait for a gas station chain to release a CarPlay-compatible fueling app.

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