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RFID-based Petrol Pump Automation and Fuel Management

  • Abhishek Shukla
  • Apr 19, 2024
  • RFID
RFID-based Petrol Pump Automation and Fuel Management

“RFID technology in fuel management and petrol pump automation allows easy refilling, quick and transparent payment, and eliminates manual intervention, saving cost.” 



You might have seen manually operated filling stations in India where you pay in cash, UPI, or credit card and an assistant will fill up the fuel tank for you. In the United States and UK, the system was manual as well but that was in the 90s. Since then, most filling stations have become automated, accepting contactless payments and offering self-service where you can pick up the nozzle put it into the fuel tank of your car, and press the trigger to release gasoline/petrol.  

Automation in fuel management and at filling stations is absolutely necessary everywhere given how crucial it is to save fuel and ensure proper supply and distribution. Gasoline, petrol, and other petroleum gases are essential in transportation and logistics, carrying a nation forward.  

RFID technology can be used to replace manual fuel dispensing at filling stations, as I explain here. In developed countries as well, depending upon the forecourt, the refilling of fuel in vehicles is completely automated with slight variations in the payment mode. At some forecourts, you have to pay first, using a credit card, cash, or fuel card, and at others, you can fill the fuel tank first and then pay for the same.  


RFID-based Petrol Pump Automation and Fuel Management  

RFID technology is a wireless, automatic identification and data capture technology, utilizing radio frequency waves. RFID-based automation is a simple solution that utilizes an RFID-based fuel card, which has an in-built RFID chip and a small antenna, an RFID reader, and an antenna. The system is designed to streamline refueling at petrol pumps/filling stations.  


RFID Fuel Card 

An RFID fuel card is basically an RFID PVC card (HF RFID, 13.56 MHz) that is connected to a digital wallet, allowing automatic payment. Since HF RFID offers a read range of a few centimeters, the users need to tap on the reader installed at the refilling kiosk.  


For Electric Vehicles, RFID based smart cards are also being used at EV charging stations, bringing automation, transparency and seamless charging of EV vehicles at public and privately funded charging stations. In 2023, TATA Power launched EZ Charge, an RFID based smart card that allows people to access the TATA Power EV charging stations across Indian cities.  

RFID-based Petrol Pump Automation and Fuel Management


RFID Reader 

An RFID reader is installed at the fuel station/petrol pump kiosk, where it detects the RFID fuel card upon tap by the user and tallies it with the database. It also checks out the balance amount on the card and displays it on the LCD screen at the kiosk. It makes it easy for users to recharge their fuel card before they proceed to refill the fuel tank of their vehicle.  




An RFID antenna is connected to the reader and ensures seamless data capture and smooth refilling at the filling station.  


When a person goes to a filling station, he can choose the amount (in liters) of fuel and once the fuel is dispensed into the fuel tank, the money is automatically debited from the person’s account and he is notified by an SMS alert which mentions the time, GPS location of the filling station and the amount debited for a specific amount of fuel. This SMS alert brings transparency and also alerts users if their card is misused.  


Fuel Management and Automation with LF RFID

Another way to use RFID to manage fuel and automate filling stations is to use an LF RFID system where an LF RFID Tag (125 KHz) is mounted near the fuel receptacle, on the fuel tank of the vehicle. An RFID Reader is also mounted on the nozzle of the fuel dispenser which scans the RFID tag on the fuel tank and verifies the user through a central database. 

This RFID-based petrol pump automation also utilizes an LCD that accurately displays the amount of fuel dispensed and the billing amount, which is shared with the users through an SMS as well.

Since LF RFID has a low read range of up to 10cm and is impervious to interference caused by metal and liquid surroundings, it is the apt choice among UHF, HF, and LF RFID systems.

The self-service at filling stations allows users to pick up the fuel dispenser and refuel their vehicle where 360-degree calibrated sensors measure how much fuel is dispensed. The automatic refilling station also allows users to select the amount of fuel they need, visible on an LCD screen, therefore ensuring accurate billing.

Advantages of RFID-based filling stations  

 Now that we understand how automatic refueling works at filling stations, let’s see some of the main benefits of this extremely useful solution:

1. It is fully automatic, which ensures a better customer experience.

2. Being automatic, it eliminates the need for people to help customers fill their fuel tanks. 

3. The RFID-based fuel card and fuel refilling system are quite efficient and remove the possibility of theft.

4. RFID technology makes fuel refilling at filling stations transparent, and the SMS alert ensures that the user is not charged unfairly. 

5. Since the deduction of money is automatic and digital, it also ensures that refilling stations are not duped anyway. 

6. The time taken by a user at the fuel station is also minimized, preventing overcrowding at filling stations. 

7. The system is designed to consume low power.

8. The system is also flexible and scalable and can be implemented in all places.

9. The automatic fuel refilling at petrol pumps with RFID fuel cards is particularly helpful for businesses in logistics that have huge fleets to manage. The fuel card brings transparency in terms of how much fuel a vehicle uses, miles covered, vehicle location, etc. 

10. It is also quite helpful for the public transportation system, allowing buses to refuel while the payment is made transparently, preventing corruption and loss of revenue to the exchequer.  


To conclude, an RFID-based fuel management system and automation at filling stations bring great efficiency and transparency. The RFID-based fuel cards ensure that users can easily refuel their vehicles at petrol pumps/filling stations and be on their way. The use of RFID technology makes this process seamless and brings accuracy and transparency.  

RFID technology is also cost-effective when it comes to overall operations at filling stations, eliminating the need for manpower and manual interventions. The RFID fuel card ensures that customers are accordingly charged, and the payment being digital, contactless, and automatic brings peace of mind to customers.  

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Apr 18, 2024

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