Testing out Cafu: the delivery service that brings petrol to you

Fed up of queuing at the pumps? Then this might be the app-based innovation for you

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Whether you have inadvertently run out of fuel, can’t face queuing at the pumps or don’t live within easy reach of a petrol station, new delivery app Cafu could provide a small but significant change to your life.

Rather than being named after the celebrated 1990s Brazilian footballer, Cafu takes its moniker from an Emirati saying used when someone has helped you and saved you – it is, the company says, akin to saying “you are the best”.

It is trumpeted as an “on-demand” service, which means you can order fuel for immediate delivery or schedule a time in the future.

I decide to try out the service –  which is currently available in Ajman, Dubai and Sharjah – with an order for immediate delivery, choosing a location at the farthest western reaches of the Dubai catchment area.

To order, you input a GPS location and your car’s make, model, colour and registration details, as well as whether it takes Super or Special petrol. You can save multiple cars in the app, as well as locations, for easy repeat ordering. Payment is by debit or credit card.

I am lucky enough to be driving a Ferrari Portofino during this test run, and I’m glad to report that the Cafu app has pre-filled options for such exotica – although I have to admit I’m slightly worried beforehand about how the delivery agents might treat a car that costs upward of Dh800,000.

I needn’t have worried, because the two immaculately attired gentlemen, who arrive with a small tanker lorry resplendent in Cafu’s soon-to-be-recognisable grey livery, are consummate professionals. I order at 10.45am. By 11.16am, Cafu has arrived. Refilling – from arrival to manoeuvring into position, including putting down road cones around the car, pumping fuel into the car and then moving on to the next job (which, handily, is filling our photographer's Nissan Patrol) – takes less than 10 minutes.

If necessary, you don’t even have to be with your vehicle during the delivery, so long as you leave your fuel cap unlocked.

That would prove handy for, say, refuelling overnight or while you enjoy a meal – and after this experience, I would certainly trust Cafu’s employees with such a task.

The only stipulation is that the area where you’re refuelling has to be outdoors, which obviously rules out underground car parks at home, work or the mall.

The fuel is obtained from Emarat and charged at the same price that you would pay at a petrol station, albeit with each order subject to an Dh18 service charge.

Regular users can benefit from Cafu+, a membership that, for Dh45 per month, allows you to enjoy an unlimited amount of deliveries without the Dh18 outlay every time.

Last year, Adnoc announced plans to introduce a similar service, but earlier this month told The National that it was still undergoing a "test phase" to ensure "the safest possible means to deliver this service". So for now, Cafu is operating in a field of one – and providing an impressively convenient alternative to your local filling station.

For more information, visit www.cafu.ae