Gas and groceries: Booster Fuels is expanding with a new consumer service that features its mobile gasoline trucks in Safeway parking lots in Seattle. It’s the first time Booster’s service is available to the general public. The 6-year-old “energy-as-a-service” company has traditionally partnered with employers to fuel up employee vehicles in private corporate parking lots, or worked with businesses to refuel fleet vehicles.
Why it matters: It’s the first time this type of operation has been permitted in Washington state, according to Booster. Last year state legislators approved a law that makes it easier for companies to provide mobile fueling. Mobile gas startups such as Booster have had to navigate fire and environmental regulations. It also comes amid a pandemic that has driven adoption of contactless tech.
How it works: Booster brings one of its tanks to a Safeway parking lot. Users pay with their smartphone. The consumer service is available at three Safeway locations in the Seattle region. There are no plans yet for further expansion.
The prices are based on the average per-gallon cost from the three closest gas stations. This weekend at the Safeway in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood, the per-gallon price for unleaded regular was $4.09. Booster also offers unleaded premium.
Booster is able to charge similar or even lower prices than competitors because it doesn’t incur the capital-intensive costs associated with operating gas stations.
It declined to share details about its business agreement with Safeway.
Booster background: The company has raised nearly $90 million from investors, including Seattle venture capital firms Madrona Venture Group, Vulcan Capital, and Maveron. Former Boeing engineer Frank Mycroft founded the startup in Seattle before relocating it to the Bay Area. Mycroft previously spent three years at Planetary Resources as vice president of strategy before starting Booster with Diego Netto and Tyler Raugh. Booster is now live in eight major markets; has more than 300 B2B customers; and more than 200 employees.
Booster said it grew its B2B business last year to meet the rising number of corporate fleets and increasing environmental-related concerns. The company helped customers avoid more than 2.2 million vehicle miles traveled. But it also dealt with the lowest level of annual motor gasoline consumption in the U.S. since 1997, according to the U.S. Energy Industry Information Administration, a trend largely due to the pandemic. Earlier this year Booster announced a new on-demand electric vehicle charging to its offering.