As a truck driver, you will need to make regular stops to fill up your vehicle. As you can imagine, the fuel cost of a truck amounts to a large sum of money.
The trick to keeping fuel costs down is to make use of a fuel card at the pumps. In this post we will explain everything you need to know about fuel cards. You can find recommendations for the best truck driver fuel cards below. To learn more about the benefits of fuel cards and how to use them, scroll down to the recommendations in our comprehensive guide.
Should all truck drivers use fuel cards?
First of all, if you've never used a fuel card, let's briefly explain what a fuel card is.
A fuel card is a type of card you can use to buy fuel at a discount. Its appearance is similar to a credit card. Fuel cards are sometimes referred to as "fleet cards".
Fast fuel card application
Truck Fuel Cards for Owner-Operators
Looking for the best truck driver fuel card?Here are some options worth considering.
To make sure you find what you need, we've included several options. Some of these cards offer big savings and smaller nets, and others offer bigger nets and smaller savings.
1. RTS fuel card
One of our favorite fuel cards is the RTS Fuel Card from RTS Carrier Services. You can save about 25 cents per gallon on average, which can add up to thousands of dollars quickly. Despite being a prepaid card, it has a credit line.
- You can enjoy a significant fuel discount.
- With more than 2,400 gas stations in the network, it's easy to find opportunities to use the card.
- The card includes a $3,200 line of credit per truck each week.
- The card also gives access to Pilot Flying J discounts at more than 750 locations across the country through the RTS Truck Care program.
- A handy mobile app makes it easy to find stations.
- This card has no annual fees or contracts, keeping things flexible and affordable.
- If you are looking for factoring, RTS also offers this service and you can combine it with your fuel discounts.
- Some customers have reported problems managing their accounts. In particular, closing an account can involve some hurdles.
Get your fuel card
2. TCS fuel card
Along with RTS, another of the most prominent names in the world of fuel cards is TCS. Like the RTS, the TCS is a prepaid fuel card. There are fewer locations on the network compared to RTS, but the discounts are higher.
- TCS claims you can save an average of 59 cents per gallon with their card, which is great.
- There are more than 1,500 network fuel stations with no transaction fees.
- You will never have to pay annual fees, monthly fees or membership fees.
- There are no activation fees.
- A mobile app comes with the card.
- There is a wide range of financing options available.
- There are many card customization and management features available.
- This is a prepaid card and does not include a line of credit. However, some factoring companies provide lines of credit for this card.
Get your fuel card
3. AtoB fuel card
If you're looking for a solid credit card option (rather than a prepaid card) to keep your fleet full of discounted fuel, consider the AtoB Fuel Card.
Many people choose AtoB because you can get this card with no credit check. Also, the company will usually raise your spending limit quickly if you ask. Plus, they report on-time payments to the credit bureaus, so you too can boost your credit score just by using the card.
- The card is universal, which means you can use it anywhere you can use a Visa card.
- A handy app makes it easy to find the best prices.
- AtoB places great emphasis on security, ensuring that no one misuses the card. This is possible thanks to integration with your telematics provider.
- It's easy to customize the cards with times and limits of your choosing and reassign drivers at will.
- Discounts can range from 2 to 25 cents per gallon.
- You can use the card to receive discounts on tolls, repairs, insurance and other things needed to maintain your mobile fleet.
- There is no credit check.
- You only have a week to pay off the card.
Get your fuel card
4. NASTC Fuel Card
If you are a member of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC), your fuel card may be an ideal option. In the last three years alone, NASTC members have received a combined total of $100 million in fuel rebates and more.
- NASTC's fuel network includes more than 1,100 QPN locations and 250 TA and Petro Shopping Center locations.
- Take advantage of additional special discounts at Petro Shopping Centers and Travel Centers of America, as well as 4,000 monthly maintenance events.
- The association also has 24-hour roadside assistance.
- NASTC says its members save about 41 cents per gallon on average.
- There are some fees associated with joining the NASTC and maintaining the card. Fortunately, these are easily offset by savings through the fuel card.
Get your fuel card
5. WEX fleet cards
WEX is a company that offers a number of different fuel cards, all of which are worth considering. They include credit cards and debit cards. Some examples are the WEX Fleet Card, the WEX FlexCard and the WEX Fleet Cross Roads Card. On their website, you can select "small business" or "large fleet" to find what's recommended for your company size.
- You can choose the type of card that best suits your business.
- 95% of gas stations across the country accept WEX cards. So while these cards aren't universal, they're close.
- You can find the best deals using the WEX Connect app.
- Along with fuel discounts, the WEX EDGE savings network gives you access to discounts on tyres, mobile phones, hotels and much more.
- It receives road services through the National Automobile Club (NAC).
- Advanced tracking data is available.
- Average savings are slightly lower than some of the other fuel cards we share; you can expect around 15 cents a gallon.
Get your fuel card
6. Fuelman Deep Saver Card
Another option if you want to prioritize a large network of locations over mid-high savings is the Fuelman Deep Saver card. Two options are available: the Fuelman Mixed Fleet Card and the Diesel Fuelman Fleet Card.
- While there is a monthly fee, you can choose a subscription that fits the size of your business. It is quite affordable and should pay for itself easily.
- There are over 50,000 locations on the Fuelman network, so you can use the card virtually anywhere.
- You will receive roadside assistance and 24/7 customer support.
- Fraud monitoring and alerts help keep your card safe.
- As you spend, you'll earn reward points that can be redeemed for additional savings on select items.
- The savings are quite modest, ranging from 5 to 12 cents per gallon.
Get your fuel card
Additional fleet cards to consider
While the above fuel cards are our top recommendations, there are many honorable mentions that may suit your needs. See the following:
- Multiservice OTR fuel card
- Comdata Mastercard
- Tarjeta Fleet One EDGE
- Shell Small Business
- Tarjeta ExxonMobil Fleet Pro
- MasterCard Business Solutions ARCO
- Tarjeta Fuel Plus de BP Business Solutions
- Serve American Express card
- Chase Ink Business Cash Card
- Texaco Chevron Card
Whether or not you need to personally purchase a fuel card depends on whether or not someone else has done it for you.
If you are an owner-operator, then yes, you will need to obtain a fuel card. You are the one who makes all the decisions about running your business, including how you will manage your fuel expenses. So you'll need to get cards for all your drivers (which might just be you if you're the only one driving).
If you are a company driver, you do not need to obtain your own fuel card. Your company will provide a card for your use.
Obvious and non-obvious benefits of using truck fuel cards
Here are some of the ways fuel cards can help you as an owner-operator.
- Save big on fuel costs:The main reason to get a truck fuel card is to reduce the amount of money you spend on fuel. The discounts offered by these cards can reach thousands of dollars per driver per year.
- Keep your cash flow: sometimes you can run out of money. Instead of struggling to decide whether to pay for gas or whatever else you need, you can rely on a line of credit to keep your cash flowing (not all cards come with a line of credit, but many do).
- control expenses: Employees may be tempted to use your fuel cards in ways you don't want them to (eg discounted snacks). If you wish, you can stop them from doing this with customizable spending limits.
- Take advantage of additional discounts: With some cards, fuel may not be the only thing discounted. For example, RTS has a truck maintenance program that allows customers to claim discounts for repairs and maintenance.
- view reports: You'll always know exactly how much money your drivers are spending and what they're spending it on, as you can see up-to-date reports in real-time. Even if you're the only driver, being able to track this data yourself can be helpful in establishing more efficient habits.
- build credit: If you choose a type of card that includes a line of credit, you may be able to find a company that reports your payments to one or more credit bureaus. This can be a practical way to build up your credit, which can open doors for you to save money while managing other aspects of your trucking business.
- Better than credit card: While a credit card can help you maintain your cash flow and offer some limited rewards, that's about all you can expect in terms of benefits. Also, there are often surcharges. Some fuel cards also include surcharges, but many do not. Plus, they come with the other benefits we just discussed. Even fuel cards are not always universal like credit cards; in general, they will save you more money and provide more conveniences.
You can save thousands of dollars on fuel with a fuel card.
Let's say you're paying an average of $5 per gallon of fuel and you use 12,000 gallons total.
This is what you would save on fuel during that time, depending on your discount.
- 3¢ per gallon: $360
- 4¢ per gallon: $480
- 5¢ per gallon: $600
- 8¢ per gallon: $960
- 10¢ per gallon: $1,200
- 15¢ per gallon: $1,800
- 20¢ per gallon: $2,400
- 25¢ per gallon: $3,000
- 30¢ per gallon: $3,600
- 35¢ per gallon: $4,200
- 40¢ per gallon: $4,800
As you can see, it pays to get the fuel discount as high as possible. Being able to save thousands of dollars on gas over the course of a year is a big deal.
Get your fuel card
Types of fuel cards
When looking for a fuel card, one of the decisions you need to make is what type of fuel card you want. You have three basic options.
- prepaid cards: If you want the most substantial discounts, consider using a prepaid card. Load the card using any of the available methods and then spend the balance. Prepaid cards sometimes include lines of credit for situations where you need to spend more; other times not
- credit cards: This is a card that includes a line of credit. You usually have to pay off the balance in full fairly quickly; the default billing cycle is approximately one week.
- Credit lines with balance: This is similar to the charge card type above, except you can get away with not paying the balance when the billing cycle ends. At that point, you'll top up a balance as you would if you were using a credit card.
As you can see, there really is a whole spectrum of options, allowing you to prioritize flexibility and discount sizes as you see fit.
What to Look for in a Truck Fuel Card
When purchasing a fuel card, here are some factors to consider:
- the type of card: As we just discussed, you must decide which type of card will be most suitable for your trucking business.
- Credit line: Does the card come with a line of credit? How big is it? Will it be enough for your needs?
- Deadline to settle the balance: If you have a balance, do you have to pay at the end of the billing cycle? If so, how long is the billing cycle? What happens if you don't pay on time?
- network size: Check the network size for the card. How many stations participate and where are they located? Remember that larger networks often have smaller savings and vice versa.
- personalization: Some cards let you customize security features, payment options, cash advances, and more. Others are more limited in the level of customization and security available. That said, if you operate a fleet of one vehicle and you are the driver, you may not need as much in terms of safety as someone who operates a larger fleet.
- application: Check if there is an app you can use to find stations within the network and manage your account. Discover how easy it is to use.
- Additional savings opportunities: While some cards only offer fuel savings, others offer discounts on a variety of other services at participating locations (eg repairs).
- Taxa: Just as you would when opening a bank account or getting a credit card, you should look out for any and all fees associated with a fuel card. Do the math and make sure your savings significantly outweigh the fees so the card remains the best option.
- credit requirements: You may or may not need to get a credit check when applying for a fuel card; varies from card to card.
- Customer service: Finally, there may be times when you need help from customer support, especially if you're trying to do something with your account (like closing it). 24/7 friendly, knowledgeable and helpful customer service will be essential in these times.
How to use a fleet fuel card
Believe it or not, we've heard from many drivers who don't know how to use a fuel card.
The exact instructions for using a fuel card depend on which one you have. But in general, you'll find that using a fleet card is a lot like using a credit or debit card.
1. Go to the pump as usual.
2. Swipe the card in the same way you would a regular debit or credit card.
3. At this point, the system may request additional information. For example, you may need to enter a driver number or vehicle number.
4. Fill your vehicle with fuel.
5. Get your card and receipt.
That's all you have to do. Soon you will hardly think of using the fleet card; it will feel as natural to you as any other payment method.
You can check your account dashboard to see how you're doing in terms of funds and if it's time to top up or pay off a balance.
Start saving on fuel costs now
Now you are familiar with the benefits of fuel cards, what to look for when choosing a fuel card, and much more. You also had the opportunity to discover some of the most competitive fuel cards for truckers based on discount levels, network size and more. To start saving hundreds or thousands of dollars on fuel now, let us help you with our simple quote form.