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The Role of Fuel Cards in Fleet Management

April 12, 2024 |
FuelStream Fuel Card For Truckers

One tool — the unsung hero of fleet operations and management: fuel cards. Those little plastic cards aren’t just for swiping at the pump. They’re the secret behind efficiency, cost savings, and even sanity in the world of fleet management.

Pumping Up Efficiency

Of course a fleet fuel card offers customers discounts on diesel fuel, but what are some other advantages that come with having a fuel card in your truck?

  • Most travel plazas don’t accept debit/credit cards at the pump. So drivers have to walk inside to purchase the fuel, walk back out to the pump, and then back in to complete the purchase. This costs time, and we all know “time is money.” With a fuel card a driver can complete the entire transaction at the pump.
  • Access to online reporting for your transactions. A fuel card eliminates the need to keep track of paper receipts. Whether it’s for your business taxes or your quarterly IFTA reporting A fuel card keeps those purchases in one place and you can access the information at any time.
  • You can set up your fuel card to purchase other products as well, to keep all fleet expenses in one place. Customers can use a fuel card to pay for oil changes, repairs, tires, and other products needed for the operation of the truck.

Related: Why Maintaining Your Truck is Good for Business

With FuelStream customers get more than just a fuel card. Customers get access to the FuelStream mobile app which takes your fuel card to the next level. The FuelStream mobile app is like having your personal fuel planner in your pocket. It also provides transparency on driver purchases, so you know exactly where your money is going and how much you’re saving.

Keeping Costs in Check

Efficiencies and everything are cool, but how much are you going to save? This is the one area where every fuel card is going to be different. An important part of knowing what you’ll save is understanding the type of discount the fuel card offers. Most fuel cards do not specify their discount structure, but you can typically tell by the language they use.

Types of Discounts

  • Retail Minus: This is a straight discount off the pump price when you use the card at specific merchants. Most retail minus discounts will range in the 5-15 cents per gallon range. Merchants don’t like to give big retail minus discounts because at certain locations a merchant can lose money if the discount is too large. A retail minus can be nice because you know how much you are saving every time.
  • If the fuel card is promoting a set discount at certain locations, chances are they are a retail minus program and you should ask them if there are any stipulations on that discount (i.e. gallons per month, number of trucks, etc.)
  • Cost Plus: With a cost plus discount a customer pays a set amount above the merchant’s cost for the fuel. Cost plus typically saves customers more than a retail minus. The downside is the discounts will vary depending on location and fuel prices, so discounts are not predictable.
  • If a fuel card is promoting an “up to” or “average” discount, they are typically a cost plus program, but set your expectations appropriately. If a fuel card is promoting an “up to” discount, they could be taking the highest discount one customer received six months ago. So don’t expect that to be your typical discount.

In full transparency, FuelStream negotiates both cost plus and retail minus discounts with their partners to help their customers save the most. The FuelStream mobile app clearly shows the discount at each location so customers can always find the best price no matter where they are at. On average a customer that pumps 1,000 gallons a month can save $500 or more on their fuel using the FuelStream card.

Related: FuelStream FAQ’s

Tightening Security

As the price of diesel has increased, the risk of fraud has followed suit. A fuel card can help minimize this risk, by allowing customers to control which products can be purchased with the card, setting daily limits for those products, and updating PIN numbers and other prompts required to authorize the card for purchases. FuelStream strives to help customers reduce the risk of fraud and in the event of fraud they are there to help their customers navigate the process to make them whole again.

The Big Picture

Fuel cards are more important in fleet management than you’d think. Fuel is one of the biggest expenses for any trucking company, so it makes sense to choose a partner that can help you manage that expense. Remember some of the benefits of a fuel card and what to look for when choosing your partner.

  • Operational efficiencies
  • Spending control options
  • Reporting access
  • Savings and what type of discounts

Related: How Driving Habits Affect Fuel Economy

FuelStream checks all the boxes above and more. Want to learn more about the FuelStream program?

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