Fuel cards help you save on one of the biggest expenses in a trucking business. Depending on your provider, it can also come with other features and exclusive perks for added savings. Still, it’s important to know that each fuel card for truckers is different and the right choice depends on what your company needs.
To find the best fuel card for trucking, the first step is to understand how it truly works. Keep reading to know more about fuel cards, how it works, and how you can maximize them for your company’s benefit.
What are trucking fuel cards?
Fuel cards are similar to credit cards that allow truckers to purchase diesel, gasoline, and other types of fuel. Most fuel card trucking providers also add fleet maintenance discounts as a benefit.
Aside from the exclusive discounts, fuel cards allow fleet owners to manage their operating costs. This is possible through spending limit features to prevent truckers from making unnecessary fuel purchases.
Moreover, fuel cards also streamline International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) reporting. All the fuel purchases are automatically recorded digitally, which means truckers no longer have to track physical receipts for compliance.
How fuel cards work?
Fuel cards for a trucking business work in different ways. If you’re planning to get one or already received yours, here’s a quick rundown of how it works for your company:
You can use it within a network of gas stations.
Fuel cards are accepted in a network of gas stations that the provider has partnered with. These gas stations and stops are usually located along common hauler routes throughout the country.
For example, here at Factoring Express, you can enjoy all our fuel card perks at 1,900+ locations nationwide. We also partnered with major chains like Petro and Hess.
Aside from that, fuel cards are often enrolled in a system with a fuel finder feature. This way, you can easily map out partner gas stations along your route. You can also choose to get gasoline or diesel fuel cards based on the type of fuel you’re using.
You can use it at select service centers.
There’s also a multiservice fuel card, which is accepted in select service centers. A fuel card for owner-operators often has this feature, more so for those designed for large fleets.
This card gives you access to special discounts on repairs, parts purchases, and maintenance products. With us, you can get a fuel card with up to 25% discount on all these expenses.
It has multiple controls and reporting options.
One crucial function of a fuel card for owner-operator is reporting. This can free up your staff from too much paperwork and manual tracking of expenses.
Also, it will reduce the hassle on the part of truckers, especially if they are covering very large distances.
Here are a few controls and features that a fuel card often comes with:
- Spending limits
Owner-operators can set a specific amount within a specific period to control spending per fuel card. It’s a level of protection to avoid unauthorized spending on the part of the drivers.
- Transaction limits
Similar to spending limits, transaction limits on a fuel card allow fleet operators to set a specific number of transactions per day, week, or month.
- Fuel restrictions
This feature helps fleet managers prevent incorrect or unauthorized purchases of fuel. This means that the owner-operator fuel card can be used exclusively for premium or regular fuel; diesel or gasoline. You can also block specific purchases.
- Location restrictions
You can limit the areas where the fuel card can be used. A gas card for truckers with this feature is used within a specific radius, city, region, or mapped-out route.
- Fuel efficiency reports
Other fuel card providers also offer fuel efficiency reports, including data for miles per gallon to help fleet owners optimize their budget.
- Transaction reports
Each transaction is recorded on the fuel card system, complete with all the necessary details. This allows owner-operators to easily create compliance and financial reports without going through a sea of paper receipts.
- Benchmarking reports
Through easily accessible data on fuel cards, truckers can compare their fuel usage to industry averages. This is crucial in identifying ways to reduce fuel costs and increase efficiency.
Some are bundled with insurance and legal protection.
A few fuel discount cards for truckers also offer insurance and legal assistance. However, it often comes at a higher fee. Still, these inclusions are particularly useful for long-haul truckers.
You can also find fuel cards with roadside assistance benefits. This includes discounts on roadside repairs, VIP membership, and so on.
It's also available for independent truckers, not just owner-operators.
A prepaid fuel card for truckers isn’t just for large fleets. Even independent drivers can secure one to enjoy the same discounts and perks.
In fact, fuel cards are excellent tools for solo truckers to save money and expand their business. It will also save them a lot of time on fuel reporting, expense analysis, and budgeting.
How do fuel card companies make money?
If fuel card companies provide discounts to truckers, how do they make money?
The truth is these companies actually get a small cut for every purchase through their fuel cards. They do this by entering into agreements with fuel retailers and service centers.
But this means losses to the gas stations, right? Not necessarily. Since the fuel card will drive more customers to gas stations, more fuel will be purchased.
Not only that; these customers will also purchase other items at gas station stores. This means more accumulated income for fuel retailers in the long run. As you see, it’s a win-win situation for fuel card companies, fuel retailers, and truckers.
Also, in some cases, fuel card companies charge monthly annual fees similar to credit cards.
Tips when using your fuel cards for trucking
Whether you own semi truck fuel cards or other types, it’s important to make the most out of its benefits. Here are some tips to consider:
- Compare your options. When choosing a fuel card, make sure you check different providers. See how many discounts you’re going to get and what other perks are included.
- Create a fuel card policy. Create an agreement between you and your drivers indicating that they are responsible for every purchase on the card. This sends the message that the card needs to be used responsibly.
- Deactivate unused cards. Did a trucker quit? Have you downsized your fleet? Whatever the reason is, you must cancel the fuel card right away. This is to avoid unauthorized use when the card gets in the wrong hands.
- Utilize card controls. Fuel card controls are there for a reason. Tweak it to your advantage to prevent unauthorized transactions.
Get your fuel card today and start saving!
Are you looking for the best fuel card? Here at Factoring Express, we offer a trucking fuel card where you can access fuel discounts, service discounts, controls, and multiple reporting options. Track your fleet’s expenses easily and without excessive paperwork.
Here’s more: our fuel cards have zero setup fees, and you can get approved as quickly as 24 hours.
So if you’re ready to start saving, call us and get your fuel card today! A long list of benefits is waiting for your trucking business!