Hey BP, Please Get Your Stupid Talking Gas Pumps Out of My Face

Seriously, why do we need this?

Subaru WRX at Fuel Pump
Aaron Brown

Pumping fuel is nothing special. It's a task every motorist with an internal-combustion car has to deal with, but in general, wishes they never had to think about ever again. It's mindless, time-wasting, and often wallet-gouging.

So I ask you, BP—why the hell do you find it necessary to have fuel pumps that actively try to interact with motorists who just wants to get on with their lives?

See, BP is testing new "Personality Pumps"—designed in partnership with The Onion and Pandora—in Chicago and New York City. The fuel pumps, which are named "Miles," are an attempt to make fuel-filling more fun. When a motorist approaches the pump, Miles attempts to engage them, by allowing customers to choose music via Pandora or record a video message that he or she can push to social media. The pump even has a built-in also a trivia game built-in.

To which I wonder...why?

There is absolutely no need to make a gas pump talk to you. No need for it to be interactive in any way other than to be able to take a credit card without issue. If someone wants to play music, let them blast the music from inside their car. If they want to take video messages, use a smart phone. Also, I'm pretty sure fuel-pumpers should at least be paying some attention to what they're doing while handling extremely flammable substances.

Think about how terrible lines at gas stations in crowded metro areas, where the Miles pumps are currently set up, could grow to be if people actually end up digging these interactive machines. Who wants to wait in their car for gas while the moron in front of you makes faces at their fuel pump?

“The BP Personality Pump is one of the biggest innovations at U.S. retail fueling stations in many years,” said BP chief marketing officer Donna Sanker in a press release shared Tuesday. “We believe this technology could change the way people think about the typical fill-up and give consumers another reason to visit our stations."

Right. Because going there to fill up your car with necessary gasoline isn't reason enough.

The good part about these machines is that, for those careless motorists who truly couldn't give a damn about this stuff, the controls for all the unnecessary features does not in any way interfere with actually pumping gas or paying up. When I visited one of the Personality Pumps in Brooklyn, I spoke to one motorcycle rider who seemed almost unaware of the additional hardware hanging off the pump.

I could see BP using these machines to pump up ad revenue. Its likely the tablet that hangs off of Miles could be a useful platform for a revolving display of ads, if not otherwise in use by a customer. And, hey, if that's what all of this is actually about, so be it.

But please, BP, just let us pump gas in peace and quiet while we still can.