Vehicle: Car: Fuel: Station
Conveyor Belt Petrol Stations   (0)  [vote for, against]
To cut down on the queueing.

Using the same technology as the steel conveyor belts that drag your car through a car-wash, you park on the first available slot opposite a bowser or in the queue and turn your engine off. When a pump is available you fill up your car all the while moving slowly forwards.

When you have filled up you walk into the station shop and pay for your fuel, while your car slowly shifts forward, allowing access to the pumps to those behind you.
-- st3f, Mar 10 2003

A couple of questions:

Do the pumps move at the same speed as the car and recycle to the beginning of the line? If not, I don't see how the guy behind you is going to use the pump to fuel his vehicle when the hose/nozzle is in use by your vehicle. Maybe I'm trying to make this too complicated?
-- half, Mar 10 2003

If you put the refueling station *in* the carwash, you would be able to cut down on those nasty service station explosions that Hollywood loves so much.
-- beauxeault, Mar 10 2003

Or how 'bout this: Have a single, central fueling station, which first pumps the fuel up a tall pole before it flows into the multiple, variously-colored hoses, attached at the top of the pole. You'd have two conveyor belts, one moving clockwise and the other counterclockwise around the pole, in intermeshing sinusoidal patterns. At the end of the day you'd have a lovely Maypole braid on the pole!
-- beauxeault, Mar 10 2003

The nozzles would have to move with the conveyor belt to stop the 'maypole' effect as described so beautifully by beauxeault. Unfortunately, at the momement, I can't think how to do it without creating a rotational or sliding valve that would probably fail at some critical point.
-- st3f, Mar 10 2003

The hoses could be suspended from overheard swinging poles.
-- waugsqueke, Mar 10 2003

I agree we should pay at the pump, preferably via a pre-approved credit card transaction. All you'd have to do is remember to remove the pump-line from your tank before pulling away.

This does not solve the queing effect.

I don't think the conveyor belt would either, as you'd still have to deal with sequential filling, different sized tanks and handle vehicles coming off the line.

You need to change the process from a sequential to a parallel one.

In Korea, the pump lines are attached to the roof on motorised reels. This gives a lot of flexability to vehicle placement and avoids entanglement. With enough space to the side, you could pull away from the pump without waiting for the guy in front to finish.

Few stations where I come from have enough lateral space to make this work. Instead, my solution flips this arrangement on its side: The queing effect can be solved through hydraulic platforms. When the vehicle is filling, the car is raised. When finished, the car comes back down to ground level, and drives away under the cars in front. The next car drives in under the cars behind and is raised for filling. Sensors prevent anyone or anything from getting crushed. In this way, you always have a free drive in/out path and the cars being filled are out of the way.

An alternative is the idea I previously posted as an anno to another idea: Fuel cartridges. A car would have 2-4 sealed fuel cartridges. When the car is low on fuel, you pull in at a gas station and replace one or more tanks with new, full ones. The old tanks are reconditioned or recycled later. The time spent at the gas station is reduced tremendously.
-- FloridaManatee, Mar 11 2003

Another idea just struck me.

The main problems (AFAIK) with rapid filling of a conventional tank are:
(a) Compression of the tank
(b) Splash back
(c) Vapor

This could all be reduced through a sealed, closed circuit filling of the tank (already seen in some filling systems) and pre-cooling of the fuel to reduce vapor emissions.
-- FloridaManatee, Mar 11 2003

random, halfbakery