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Pay for gas with a text, or your E-ZPass

PayByCar is offering 30-cents off per gallon at 27 local Alltown gas stations. 

David Paul Morris
A person holds a fuel pump nozzle at a gas station.

Filling up your tank just got a little easier, and a bit cheaper.

A Boston startup called PayByCar and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation have teamed up for a low-touch “fuel payment solution,” according to a statement from the company.

The program allows customers with an E-ZPass transponder to perform contactless payments for gas at 27 participating Alltown stations across the state, including Braintree, Concord, Lowell, Roxbury, Swampscott, Wellesley, and Yarmouth.

Users register on the company’s website and pay by confirming a text message when they drive into a participating gas station. There’s no need to open a wallet or touch a fuel dispenser keypad.

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It also cuts transaction time in half, according to PayByCar.  

To sweeten the deal, customers can claim a 30 cents per gallon discount through Feb. 10. It will be applied to a maximum of 20 gallons of fuel per visit for up to five visits at the participating Alltown stations in Massachusetts.

Gas purchases won’t appear on the customer’s E-ZPass account, but on the card the customer registers with on the PayByCar website. Drivers without a toll transponder can request a free PayByCar Smart sticker, a non-toll RFID tag.

“Nowadays, in the era of social distancing, commuters want to be in as little physical contact with others as possible when buying coffee or filling up their tank,” said Anand Raman, president and co-founder of PayByCar, in a statement. “PayByCar helps solve that problem by offering an easy-to-use, app-less, text-based platform where the customer’s only requirement is to respond with their pump number when prompted by a PayByCar text notification.”

PayByCar founder Kevin Condon told The Boston Globe that the service was developed in cooperation with the E-ZPass Group, the consortium that runs the toll payment service in 19 states.

Condon told the paper that the PayByCar service marks the first time that E-ZPass has been used to pay for something other than highway tolls. But he hopes to expand the payment option to other services, from parking to fast food.

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