When I first heard of Fuel Bank, I honestly thought it sounded like a fantastic idea. Buy gas at the prices of the day then put the purchased gallons on a prepaid gas card, as to use it later. As the price of gas goes up, you end up winning as you already paid by the gallon — not by the dollar. It may not be as cool as developing your own gas, but it seems like an interesting place to start.
So where is the problem? Well, there are a few issues of concern here.
- First of all, despite all of the hoopla, I have fears of copycat schemes popping up around it.
- The listed patent numbers on the bottom of the page, as of Jan 7th, 2008, make little to no sense at all.
Maybe I am nuts here, but something smells fishy with this operation, despite the fact that the mainstream world is buying into it at every turn — at least back in 2006, anyway.
All it takes is a fast trip to its “how-it-works” page. Right there in black and white, it states that all you have to do is sign up! Yet, while it provides a login area on its main page, there is NO PLACE to sign up for this allegedly awesome service…
Wait, it has not launched yet.
Hang on a minute, it appears that it simply has not launched yet. Fair enough, I can understand that something like this must take all sorts of work and money. So it sounds like that this, indeed, could be legit, right? Maybe… but here is what all of the reporters appear to have missed completely.
- Why does the Web site look so incredibly low-end? If you want to be taken seriously, you had better take extraordinary precautions to protect your users from fraud. Using a non-protected login is not showing that these guys are off to a great start.
- Why is this news coverage all of sudden quiet? Could it be because it is Jan 2008 and this Web site offered could not possibly offer less information about the program? You should have Flash presentations about what is happening, how it works, and so on. Yet there is nothing there?!
So is Fuel Bank legit or is it a scam? As far as I am concerned, it could go either way at this point. The economics behind the project make sense and the mainstream media did, at one point, provide some fair coverage. We know that its parent company has obtained at least one real patent from both the US and Canada.
Yet we bloggers are more familiar of the concept of vaporware than the mainstream media. And, because of this familiarity, I cannot help but feel like the entire project might not be anything more than a PR stunt. Can’t speak for everyone, but to gather that much interest with a site that poorly designed only to then suddenly stop promoting it says one thing — the whole thing could be little more than a PR stunt designed to test the public interest or worse, woo the public away from lynching the oil companies with regard to crazy gas prices. But this is merely my opinion, as I can only speculate based on the limited information the company has provided its sites visitors.
Update: Looks like things are getting stranger with those looking to get into fuel hedging – Genesis 255 review!