Their monthly service seems a bit steep. I am assuming they are passing the Electron sim charge as is to the end-customer, and if you are using the Photon, it’s their enterprise/cloud cost that Particle charges.
There are a few competing services that use zigbee/zwave + an “ethernet station hub”, and those seem to charge $15-20/year.
A co-worker looked up the “Consumer Oil” market, and it turns out it’s very small. Most in the US, on the East coast (really Maine/NH and a bit in towns in MA, RI, CT, upstate NY, etc).
Someone could really take over this industry easily enough with any kind of intelligence, and it seems these guys are trying to do exactly that. One change I would suggest is placing the cost not with the end consumer but with the oil companies. They are potentially saving them so much money (especially w/ the custom routing that I saw on their site, if they can really do it well), that the $3-5/month for each user is pennies to the oil company compare to what they will save off of each person.
To give you an example of this - ours gives you 10 cents off per gallon if you pay within 10 days. That means on an average fill up (which is ~half a tank @125 gallons, sometimes as low as 80ish and sometimes as high as 130ish), this is already at $10-20/month per customer per fillup (average ~$60/year/customer). Given this service, everything could be auto linked to credit cards and they could get their $ instantly.
As you can tell, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately