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The Benefits of ALPR for Gas Stations: Improving Efficiency and Security

How people view gas stations has changed, and convenience store owners are struggling to adapt. Not long ago, gas stations occupied a warm spot in the hearts of travelers. They were beacons, havens even where weary travelers and busy commuters alike could grab a cup of coffee and a newspaper, exchange friendly words with a familiar attendant, then resume their journey refreshed.

The Benefits of ALPR for Gas Stations | Plate Recognizer

Car fuelling at a Gas Station. Source: Canva

Now so many are sterile cookie-cutter boxes, with nothing to set one apart from the next, but your station could be different with one simple addition. ALPR for gas stations helps owners bring back a personal touch and unique experience that drives repeat business and increased revenue.

By using advanced license plate recognition technology to track vehicles coming in and out of your gas station, you can provide personalized service, reward loyal customers, and even simplify payments. With ALPR, you can bring back the one-of-a-kind experience and personalized interaction that gas stations were once known for. So don’t let the changing times get you down. Embrace convenience store ALPR and bring back the good old days.

Gas Stations in the Future

ALPR to Improve Security and Efficiency | Plate Recognizer

Retro gas station. Source: Unsplash

Which way is the future headed? Aren’t we all switching to electric vehicles (EV)? Is it even worth investing in ALPR for gas stations, or should you be trying to get out of the business altogether?

Just as dinosaurs once roamed the earth and ruled the land, gas stations were a ubiquitous presence on highways and in cities. Now they still evoke feelings of nostalgia left over from days gone by when attendants pumped your gas, checked your oil, washed your windshield, and sent you on your way with a cheery smile. The kids bouncing in the back seat scoured every curve for a chance at souvenirs and a soda fountain. Fathers were happy to pull in to check out the classic car show and road-weary mothers welcomed a chance to stretch and freshen up.

However, just as dinosaurs eventually went extinct due to changes in the environment, things have changed for gas stations. Huge chains like Shell and Exxon Mobil have tens of thousands of locations, all with a mind-numbingly similar look and feel. The rise of electric cars and changing driving patterns threaten to make gas stations a thing of the past. Many wonder if gas stations are going the way of the dinosaur.

Pressure can be a good thing when it causes businesses to innovate. ALPR for gas stations allows convenience store owners to leverage technology to evolve and serve a valuable purpose in a changing society so they can look forward to a bright, profitable future.

Gas Station Proof of Life Statistics

Electric vehicle manufacturers would like to think gas stations are on their way out, but the data just doesn’t point in that direction.

Gas station sales in the United States between 1992 and 2021 have been on a mostly upward trend, starting at around $150 billion a year in the early 90s and rising to just under $600 billion even during the pandemic. Other countries follow a similar pattern.

Sales are solid, and the number of fuel stations or petrol stations also shows the rumors of gas station death have been greatly exaggerated. Here are a few proofs of life statistics:

  • According to the American Petroleum Institute, there are more than 145,000 fueling stations in the United States.

  • Gas-powered light-duty vehicles accounted for 92 percent of US transportation energy consumption in 2021.

  • The number of gas stations in Brazil has been increasing annually, reaching 42,401 in 2021. Brazil ranks second globally in gasoline consumption, using over 905,000 thousand barrels per day.

  • As of 2020, Canada consumed 772,000 barrels of gasoline daily, making them the third largest consumer globally (which is why we’re proud to offer ALPR for Canada.)

  • Europe had 140,165 petrol stations as of 2021, with 21,700 service stations in Italy alone.

  • In 2020, fossil fuels accounted for approximately 90% of Australia’s energy consumption. Of that, 33% was petroleum for vehicles. Our ANPR for Australia is seeing a massive surge in popularity as the country experiences ongoing changes in how people use transportation.

EV Adoption Rates are Actually Low

Automatic Number Plate for Gas Stations

Tesla superchargers. Source: Unsplash

Electric vehicles have gotten so much press lately that one might think they’re about to dominate the roads, but that’s not actually the case. The World Economic Forum points out that in 2020, electric vehicle sales only accounted for 4.2 percent of vehicles sold worldwide. 

In the United States, there are only about six electric car users for every 1,000 people. In China, only 5.6 out of every 1,000 citizens drive plug-in cars. Even in countries with the highest adoption rates, EV drivers are a small percentage of the population.

While the demand for gas remains high, change is on the horizon and gas station owners are wise to plan ahead. The number of electric vehicles on the road is only going to increase and with it, the competition for drivers is still behind the wheel of internal combustion engine vehicles. That’s why it’s a good idea to implement ALPR for gas stations now. Savvy gas station owners who find ways to encourage consumer loyalty will have steady revenue no matter how things change.

ALPR Camera Fuel Station | Plate Recognizer

Security camera in use Source: Canva

What is ALPR?

Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) is a technology used to capture and read the license plate numbers of vehicles passing through an area. Think of it as the digital equivalent of a gas station attendant manually recording the license plate numbers of cars filling up at a station.

The ALPR system consists of cameras, software, and a database to store and analyze the collected data. It’s used by law enforcement, paid parking lot owners, and even to track shipping containers and manage car washes.

With ALPR, gas station owners can monitor the number of vehicles entering and exiting their stations, track customers’ visits, identify potential threats, and more. For more on how license plate recognition works, see our in-depth guide.

Gas Station ALPR | Plate Recognizer

Car at a gas station in dim lighting. Source: Pexels

ALPR for Gas Stations Uses

 ALPR technology can do a lot more than just identify license plates. At gas stations, it can be used to make every visit more convenient and secure. For example, ALPR can be installed at the entrance and exit points of the station, making it easier to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. This allows workers to identify and greet frequent customers and to monitor anyone loitering, vandalizing property, or creating safety hazards. It also helps prevent criminals from installing skimming devices or committing other crimes that happen when it seems no one is looking.

ALPR can also be installed at each individual fuel pump to aid in preventing drive-offs and other types of fuel theft. As drivers fuel up, the ALPR system can capture an image of their license plate, giving evidence law enforcement can use if drivers leave without paying. This acts as a deterrent to repeat offenders, ensures that only authorized vehicles are able to fuel up and reduces the risk of theft or fraudulent activity.

Gas station attendants can also use ALPR to provide more personalized service. With ALPR, they can see a customer’s previous visits and preferences, allowing them to greet regulars by name and recommend products they may enjoy. This creates a friendly and welcoming environment that keeps customers coming back time and time again. Plus, with the added security and convenience of ALPR technology, consumers can feel confident that their visit to the gas station is safe and hassle-free.

ANPR for Gas Stations

Convenience store at night. Source: Pexels

How ALPR for Fuel Stations = Increased Value

 In a changing world where many convenience store owners struggle to make a profit, ALPR for gas stations can increase revenue and delight consumers because it can be used to do the following:

  • Increase perimeter security by tracking vehicles entering and exiting the gas station. This is especially useful for high-crime areas and questionable neighborhoods where loitering and other criminal activities are more common.

  • Monitor and track vehicles that are parked on the gas station lot for the amount of time you choose. For example, you might want to receive an alert when drivers hang around for more than an hour or two so you can keep an eye on what’s happening. This can help prevent loitering and unwanted behavior.

  • Identify vehicles that are still on the property after the gas station closes. If your gas station isn’t open 24/7 you already know vehicles there after closing time are typically up to no good.

  • Use ALPR to identify and reward loyal customers. This not only includes customers who frequent a specific gas station but also those who are loyal to the brand across multiple locations. Imagine customer delight if you automatically reward consumer loyalty with discounts on their favorite snacks and drinks or reduced-cost fuel after so many visits.

  • Gain insights into customer behavior by researching what percentage of customers are repeat customers for a typical gas station.

  • Identify fleet customers to enable fleet sales and potentially attract more business from commercial vehicles.

  • Offer a convenient method of payment where customers can sign up with their bank information and license plate number. Based on the license plate, the gas station can bill the customer directly, saving on credit card fees that can add up fast for gas stations.

Man putting gas in his car. Source: Canva

Why Choose Our Convenience Store ALPR?

License plate recognition capabilities can be a game changer for gas stations…if you choose software that works. Plate Recognizer’s ALPR stands out from other solutions with several unique features that can help gas station owners improve their security and customer service.

One of Plate Recognizer’s most notable features is our software’s ability to decode images or videos of plates taken at tough angles. Gas stations have a limited amount of space, and drivers don’t always pull up to the pump in predictable ways. Some license plate recognition technology struggles to decode plates when images aren’t captured dead on, but not ours.

Our algorithms are also designed to reduce false positives caused by bumper stickers, phone numbers, or other non-plate objects on cars. Unlike other ALPR systems that may report multiple license plates on a single car, Plate Recognizer is able to accurately identify and detect the correct plate number.

Even dirty license plates are not a problem. When drivers pull in after a camping trip or a long trip down muddy dirt roads and their plates are caked with debris, our ALPR can still identify and decode the characters on the plate. 

Another feature that sets Plate Recognizer’s ALPR apart is its ability to process live camera feeds directly from the camera as the data is collected. It can also make quick work of images from a Fuel Attendant’s mobile device. This gives gas station owners real-time information on the vehicles entering and exiting their premises, enabling them to take immediate action if necessary.

And when you do take action, word gets around. Your property becomes a place where criminals can’t get away with doing bad things so they don’t even bother.

Additionally, Plate Recognizer’s ALPR system is highly customizable, so gas station owners can tailor it to their specific needs. This ensures that they get the best possible results and the most value from their investment. With Plate Recognizer’s ALPR system, gas station owners can improve their security and customer service while reducing costs and improving their bottom line.

Improve Gas Station Effiency APLR

Caption: Gas pump displays amount due Source: Unsplash

I Didn’t Know ALPR for Gas Stations Could Do That!

ParkPow allows owners to use one technology to solve a number of problems and grow their businesses. Just ask JSC WenGeorgia, a Wendy’s franchisee that recently reviewed how our ALPR software helped them increase site traffic, differentiate between new and repeat clients and improve customer service. 

Like fuel stations, Wendy’s locations face fierce competition. They experience success when they offer quality fare and fast, friendly service. A Republic of Georgia location partnered with us to differentiate between new and repeat customers to both reward loyal patrons and offer first-time visitors incentives to keep coming back. Return visits increased by 36 percent and drive-thru customer satisfaction was more than 90 percent after deployment.

One of the simplest ways to leverage the data you collect is by setting up alerts. Your system can let you know when a loyal customer arrives so you can offer a personalized greeting they won’t get anywhere else. Your staff will find it easier to put names with faces and customers will feel noticed and cared for. 

Notifications also alert you when there’s a potential problem. For example, you might elect to receive a message when vehicles repeatedly stop in but drivers don’t make a purchase so you can identify why they’re coming by if not to buy gas or shop in your store. Or, get notified if visitors park on your lot for several hours without a valid reason so you can monitor for suspicious activities.

ALPR Plate Recognizer Features

Man ordering at a drive-thru. Source: Pexels

Don’t Be a Dodo Bird – Test Drive ALPR for Gas Stations for Free

Future-proof your business when you use ALPR for gas stations to turn your petrol station or fuel station into a well-oiled machine. Find out how easy it is to enhance security, streamline operations, and boost customer loyalty.

Plate Recognizer’s ALPR stands out from the competition with its ability to decode tough angles, reduce false positives, and process live camera feeds from multiple sources. If you’re a gas station owner who wants to take advantage of this technology, now is the time to act. We’re offering a free test drive of our ALPR solution, allowing you to experience the benefits firsthand.

Don’t let your gas station fall behind the times – try Plate Recognizer’s ALPR today and see the difference it can make for your business.

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About Plate Recognizer

Plate Recognizer provides accurate, fast, developer-friendly Automatic License Plate Recognition (ALPR) software that works in all environments, optimized for your location. Sign up for a Free Trial!

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