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The Quick Guide to Fuel Cards for Fleet Owners


Jun 20, 2023, 6:39AM EST


Fuel costs can make or break your trucking business. Therefore, maximizing every fill-up should be a top concern for your operation—whether you’re an owner-operator or a large fleet. One way to combat uncertain fuel costs and fuel fraud is to implement a fleet fuel card program. Here’s what you need to know about fleet fuel cards and how to put them to work for your fleet.

What is a fuel card?

A fleet fuel card is a tool that allows your business to purchase the fuel you need from a select network of authorized gas stations and other merchants. Fleet fuel cards work similarly to credit or debit cards. In addition, many fuel cards offer cash-price fuel discounts on diesel and gasoline and other perks for qualified purchases, like cash back.

Functions and benefits of a fuel card

Fleet managers can use a fuel card to get more than just cash discounts on fuel. In addition, a fleet fuel card is an excellent fuel management tool that can help you control your total fuel expenses in a few different ways. Here’s how fleet managers can use the full functions of a fuel card for maximum benefit:

Fuel savings

A commercial truck can consume upwards of $70,000 of diesel fuel annually. While this number can vary, it represents a considerable outlay in your operation. Multiply that estimate by the number of rigs you’re running, and your total fuel costs can skyrocket quickly.


Therefore, the per-gallon cost savings with a fleet fuel card can really add up. With a fuel card, you’ll get discounts at in-network fueling locations. Fleet owners largely implement fuel cards for these cost savings.

Fraud protection and spending restrictions

Another feature of a fuel card is the ability to set specific spending controls. For example, many cards allow owners to limit per-transaction costs and set daily spending limits, daily gallon limits, and geographic limits. These cost-control functions can reduce fuel fraud and overspending incidences and protect your fuel expense budget.

Oversight of fuel spending

Fleet fuel cards make it easy to see your fleet’s fuel spending all in one place. Dashboards give you real-time spending alerts that include fuel price, location of fuel purchase, which truck driver made the purchase, and the truck’s odometer reading. Seeing your fuel transactions in one place can help paint a clearer picture of your fleet’s fuel spending.

IFTA reports

International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) reporting can be tedious if you do all the calculations yourself. But a fuel card program can categorize your fuel expenses by state and generate quarterly IFTA reports, saving you a lot of time and headaches.

Simplified reimbursement

Fleet fuel cards can also help you manage your expenses and simplify reimbursements. For example, your drivers simply swipe their fleet fuel cards instead of worrying about paying with cash and collecting receipts. You eliminate extra bookkeeping for your drivers and your business by providing them fleet fuel cards.

What to look for in a fuel card

The best fuel card for your trucking company will depend on many factors. While a fleet fuel card can benefit your business, here’s what you’ll want to consider when deciding between fuel card providers.

Where can your fleet use the card?

Each fuel card will have a preferred network of truck stops and fuel stations. Discounts only count when drivers fuel up at these eligible stations. Therefore, consider your truckers’ gas station preferences (Shell and BP, for example) and their truck stop preferences, such as Pilot Flying J and Love’s. A fuel card is less useful if drivers don’t fuel up at in-network locations.

What spending controls does it offer?

You’ll want to check what types of spending controls each card offers. Whether these are daily, weekly, or monthly transaction limits, geographic spending limits, or per-day transaction limits, these parameters must work for your preferences.

Are there additional account management tools?

Many fleet fuel cards offer additional tools to help you run your business. Whether it’s a mobile app that alerts your drivers to nearby in-network fuel stops, automated IFTA reports, or integrations with your fleet management software, a fleet fuel card can help your business far beyond the price at the pump.

What are the card’s fees?

Each card has a different fee structure. Some cards have have annual or monthly fees per account, while others have per-card fees Check card transaction fees, as some charge for fuel purchases. Contact the appropriate fuel card companies to get a complete list of fees.

Fuel card best practices

Once you’ve decided on a fuel card, you’ll want to maximize the benefits. Here are a few best practices for implementing a fuel card:

  1. Assign a card to each vehicle or each driver, depending on your needs
  2. Set up fuel card spending controls
  3. Opt-in to purchase alerts to see when drivers try to make unauthorized purchases
  4. Set up online reports for the metrics most important to your operation
  5. Train drivers on your fleet fuel card policy which should outline acceptable behaviors

Take care of your fleet's needs with Fuelman

Fuelman fuel cards provide benefits at the pump and beyond. With industry-leading fuel rebates, Fuelman fuel cards can save your operation in fuel costs. Plus, with advanced cost controls and detailed fuel and tax reporting, you’ll get fleet management tools that keep your fleet moving forward. Apply now to put the Fuelman fleet card to work for your business.




Have  one of our Fuelman specialists help you find the right fleet card.

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