Indian Oil to start automated fuel stations

Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) is mulling over ‘automation’ of its retail stations in the country a step that will change the way Indian fuel stations function.

“We have taken up a programme on automation of all the retail petrol stations. Initially we will cover 4,500 petrol stations which retail about 200 kilolitre of fuels every month,” RS Butola, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Oil, was quoted as saying by the PTI.

Butola added that in the first phase of automation, about 1,600 IOC petrol stations have been identified and are in the process of being automated. Further he said that, after completing automation of 4,500 petrol stations, IOC would move to petrol pumps that retail about 100 kilo litre per month.

Indian Oil owns about 19,000 fuel stations across the country and is a major player in the Indian context. Butola mentioned that automation would help the customer to identify whether he has purchased the correct quantum of fuel for his money and whether the fuel is a mixture of correct quantity.

DSL Prasad, Executive Director and Marketing Head of Indian Oil, stated that on an average Rs 16 lakh will be required for the process of automation per retail station. Also read: Petrol prices rise Rs.5, diesel to follow

Talking about future plans of Indian oil, Butola said that around Rs 14,000 crore has been fixed as the capital expenditure by the company for the current financial year.

When queries whether IOC was able to benefit from the recent fuel hike, Butola answered that only a ‘full compensation with cash support’ would yield suitable results. He added that, IOC is in touch with the Government and in their case; they should be fully compensated (by the Government).

He clearly stated that whatever decisions the government takes, IOC should be fully compensated by way of cash support. IOC’s decision to automate fuel stations has both advantages and disadvantages. Also read: 15 tips to improve the mileage of your car

For instance, as Butola mentioned, the customers can assure that they have filled the exact quantity of fuel. But owing to the vast number of road users in India and the crowd at fuel stations especially during working hours, customers filling fuel for themselves will only consume more time.

Also, two-wheeler users, who are in a hurry to get refilled, will try to avoid automated fuel stations of IOC, flocking towards other stations such as BP (Bharat Petroleum) or HP (Hindustan Petroleum).

On the other hand, IOC could be largely benefitted by cutting down man power at its fuel stations and thus running cost per station, would reduce substantially.