The company which spent $10,000 providing free and heavily discounted fuel to Canberra motorists last week has rejected criticism its app system is a gimmick.
Go2 said motorists who used their Rewards smartphone app would make ongoing savings and "thousands" of people had already signed up.
A Go2 spokesman confirmed on Friday between 170 and 180 cars had filled up with petrol for free or just a few cents per litre at the Metro Petroleum station in Fyshwick on Wednesday as part of the Go2 Rewards app Canberra launch. Metro had been reimbursed based on consumption, so had not made any extra profit, he said.
ACT Fuel Watch co-founder Benjamin Ling, whose price watch website has been credited with helping lower petrol prices across the city, said the Rewards app would not have the same wide impact.
"It's the same as the 4 cents per litre shopper dockets' discounts, it's the introduction of another gimmick," he said.
"Pinching from Peter to pay Paul."
The Go2 Rewards app allows shoppers at nearly 1100 connected businesses across Canberra to earn fuel discounts, which can be used at any petrol station and are paid by direct debit by Go2 once a petrol purchase receipt is uploaded to the app.
A company spokesman said there were two types of Go2 partners, with shoppers who spent at an"outlet" getting an entry into Go2's national daily reward competition, where one winner each day received a $1 per litre off a tank of fuel, while shoppers at "partner" stores got a guaranteed per litre discount based on amount spent.
He said the discount rates differed, but at one store shoppers received one cent per litre off for every $10 spent.
Motorists also get an entry into the daily reward competition every time they enter a petrol receipt or a petrol price, helping to create greater awareness of prices across the capital.
"There are so many parts to the app, we're not the ACT Fuel Watchers, we're simply trying to reward our members and we're not trying to encourage members to overspend," he said.
The business said it aimed to provide petrol savings worth $40 million to Canberra motorists in a year.