Chevy and Shell Let Owners Pay for Gas From Their Cars

It's a new feature of General Motors' Marketplace.

Chevrolet drivers who fill up at Shell stations will soon be able to pay for fuel using their cars' dashboard touchscreens. It's the latest expansion of General Motors' Marketplace, which already allows drivers to order food, make restaurant reservations, and find hotels or parking from their dashboards.

To start refueling, drivers need to open Marketplace in their cars' infotainment systems and select the Shell icon. Once the driver selects their location, the system generates a code to activate the pump. Payment is automatically charged to whatever source the driver has on file, and connects to the driver's Shell Fuel Rewards loyalty account, if applicable.

Marketplace is currently available in certain 2017-model-year and newer Chevys, but the Shell payment feature is only in the pilot phase right now. Chevy says the feature will roll out nationwide "throughout the coming months."

Shell was one of the first companies to integrate with Marketplace when the commerce platform launched late last year. Drivers can already use Marketplace to find nearby Shell stations and sign up for the Fuel Rewards program. Other companies collaborating with GM on Marketplace include Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, TGI Friday's, and Applebee's.

Marketplace is one of the first tangible manifestations of the much-discussed connected-car future, but it's also been criticized by safety advocates, who believe allowing drivers to order coffee from their cars could be a major source of distraction. GM has said Marketplace can be used with minimal distraction, and that its interface is simpler than a smartphone.

Driving is one of the few remaining parts of the average day when a person isn't bombarded with advertisements, but built-in data connections may put an end to that. Because it lets companies generate revenue from drivers, Marketplace likely won't be the only platform of its kind. In time, the expected rise of self-driving cars will eliminate the safety argument, and give vehicle occupants more free time to buy things.