We are not surprised if you are thinking about your swelling fuel cost right now. When the annual average operational cost of a commercial truck comes close to a stressful $180,000, closely monitoring every single penny is a must for an owner operator.
But don’t worry,
Every problem has a glimpse of solution in itself and we are here to help you identify that. With fuel cost contributing to an eye-bulging 39% of this total cost, it also makes it one of the biggest areas of scope to cut significant cost of your trucking business.
It is getting increasingly difficult to keep the fuel costs on check when the fuel prices are constantly going up.
In this case, it’s not unusual if you find it overwhelming to control the ever-expanding fuel costs. But it’s also not impossible. While fuel prices are not under your control, you can definitely save crucial dollar bills by using one of the most effective fuel-cost-saving methods that is fuel cards for truckers.
In one of the recent blogs, we discussed the most effective ways to manage the basic unavoidable expenses of a trucking business. Continuing with smart expense management ways, in this one, we are going to cover the best fuel cards for owner operators available in 2022-23. Before that, let’s quickly understand what fuel cards are and how they work in your favor to help you save fuel cost and reduce your trucking expenses.
What Are Fuel Cards And How They Work For Owner Operators:
Fuel cards, also sometimes called fleet cards and savings cards, are unique payment cards that help you get good discounts on your petrol or diesel purchases as well as maintenance. Fuel cards are becoming more common and popular with time. As trucking-focused customers bring in great revenue, every gas station wants that they purchase fuel only from them. That’s why every fuel card is designed with attractive offers and discounts that support your trucking business in saving cost.
However, every fuel card is different. And the US market is full of so many kinds of fuel cards offered by different brands.
So, which fuel card is best for owner operators?
To help you decide the best one for your trucking business, we have done a deep research into the best fuel cards for owner operators in 2023. Before picking the most suitable one for your trucking business, these are the most vital factors that you need to consider to make it an informed decision.
Factors To Consider Before Choosing The Best Fuel Card For Your Trucking Business:
Do you know some fuel stations may not accept the fuel card you have? Also, all the companies do not offer the same discounts and benefits on maintenance. Hence, it is very important to keep these vital factors in mind while selecting a fuel card.
This is the most important factor that influences your decision. You need to know within which area or region your fuel card is accepted. If you are a local and small-feet owner operator who operates in a particular area, choosing a branded fuel card with limited territory might be more cost effective for you.
On the other hand, if you have a bigger fleet, cards with more universal reach will be the wiser choice.
2. Type of Vehicle
Type of your truck is also very crucial while buying a fuel card. You need to enquire in advance in what all stations your fuel card will be accepted depending on the type of your vehicle.
If you own a small fleet, your travel itinerary will be even more diverse. You need to look for more flexible fuel cards in this case.
3. Type of Fuel
While most fuel cards are diesel fuel cards for owner operators or mixed-use fuel cards. This can work as a crucial filter for your fuel card purchasing decision. For this, you might want to determine whether you want to go for a fixed-price or a pump-price fuel card.
A pump-price fuel card allows you to pay the price displayed at the time at the gas station. While a fixed-price card allows you to pay the fixed price despite the price at the gas station.
With fixed price fuel cards, the fuel rate is fixed for the whole week. As in this card, you are informed a week ahead, if you expect a rise in fuel prices in the upcoming days, you can refill at lower prices.
Different fuel card companies offer different types of discounts. They can broadly be categorized into two: point-of-sale and rebate models.
Point-of-sale gives you discounts in the fuel cost at the time of purchase. On the other hand, in the rebate model, the owner operator receives the fuel receipts for the total amount of fuel purchased at the end of the month.
A fuel card when chosen wisely will also help you monitor and optimize fuel expenses for your fleet if you are a small business owner. There are fuel card providers that integrate you with app-based robust fleet management software to empower you with a clear and well-rounded picture of your assets.
It includes important things like price per gallon, location, driver, etc. With this useful information, you can optimize calculations such as cost per mile, asset utilization, fuel economy, and so on.
After you are done assessing these factors, it’s time to shortlist the best fuel card options available for you to finalize one that suits best for your requirements. We have curated a refined list of some of the best fuel cards for owner operators available in the market.
The Best Fuel Cards For Owner Operators:
Average Discount: 6 cents per gallon
Network: 14,000+ sites
Shell fuel cards are one of the best in the market to save a good amount of money. There is no monthly fees card and it gives you a 6-cent per gallon discount at Shell gas stations, great rebates, and also discounts on Jiffy Lube. This fuel card can help you save thousands of dollars per year. The factor worth noticing is that you can use this card only at Shell gas stations which have 14,000 of them across the country. You are always likely to have one near your location.
Average Discount: 8 cents per gallon
Network: 50,000+ sites
Fuelman cards are one of the best choices to save big. Another significant reason is its wide reach: this card is accepted at over 50,000 gas stations around the country. This card comes with generous offers on rebates for diesel fuel tool. The periodic loyalty rewards are worth mentioning here. One downside of this card is that it incurs you a heavy monthly fees including a $5 dollar penalty if you purchase gas outside of Fuelman’s network. But with 50,000 stations available to you, you can easily avoid this amount.
Average Discount: 25 cents per gallon
Network: 2,000+ sites
This fuel card offers a massive 25-cent per gallon discount at associated gas stations including point-of-sale discounts at 1,000 Pilot Flying J and Speedway truck stops all across the country. It doesn’t end here with this one, it also offers you discounts on truck repair, tires, and other maintenance costs at over 90 different locations. The downside of this program is limited availability. This fuel card is accepted in 2,000 sites across the U.S.
Average Discount: 6 cents per gallon
Network: 7,500+ sites
With BP’s you can avail a discount of 6 cents per gallon at any BP or Amoco gas station. A great thing about this card is that this will also be accepted at other gas stations without fees. This card does have a $10 monthly fee but this fee can be waived if you buy more than 5,000 gallons of fuel per month. There are close to 7,500 gas stations nationwide. You can earn rebates of 15 cents per gallon for the first three months of using your cards.
Average Discount: 63 cents per gallon
Network: 1,500+ sites
TCS fuel cards are one of the best for small companies and individual owner-operators. This card is conveniently accessible through both – the app and website. This offers you one of the highest savings of all cards. With an average savings of 63 cents per gallon, the TCS card also offers services like snapshots on a dashboard, and fueling location finders.
Average Discount: 15 cents per gallon
Network: 3,400+ sites
The coverage of the WEX CrossRoads Freight Card is brilliant. With a large nationwide network, you can find the savings in favor of your trucking business regardless of its size. Additionally, you also get great discounts on tires, wireless plans, office supplies and more. This card can be accepted at more than 16,000 truck stops nationwide. Some of the other perks include 24/7 customer service support based in the U.S., station finder app and daily savings reports.
Average Discount: 12 cents per gallon
Network: 8,888+ sites
Compared to other fuel cards, Multi Service Fuel Cards have flexible discount options. While it does not have transaction fees, it’s also known for its prompt customer service. It also offers trucking software that keeps you updated with real-time data like available fuel types, accurate gas station location etc. If you own a fleet, Multi Service Fuel Card offers you special fleet management tools that help you streamline all your account-related operations.
Average Discount: 6 cents per gallon
Network: 12,000 sites
The best perk offered by ExxonMobil Business Pro Card is the flexible payment options. It offers owner operators the option of carrying a balance or a revolving balance. It comes with a monthly card fee of $2 and a one-time card set-up fee of $40. It also has the option of extending your network coverage if that’s your requirement. It also has an easy-to-use mobile app for managing your payments and other operations.
Average Discount: 10 to 25 cents per gallon
Network: Can be used anywhere where Visa is accepted
The highlight of A2B is its claim of being a no-hidden-fee platform. Another distinct feature it has is that it doesn’t depend on in-network gas stations. It can be used anywhere Visa is accepted. With its in-built security suite, cards can be easily monitored and tracked. There are no out-of-network fees but a late fee of 3% is automatically deducted when occurs. Its app shows discounts available on your route. It can be used for all kinds of fleet-related expenses. This universally accepted Visa-backed card offers integrated management software tools too.
10. EFS Fuel Card
Average Discount: 15 cents per gallon
Network: 12,000+ sites
This is recommended for small business owner operators who work in specific locations in the country. While it may not provide nationwide coverage, it helps you save upto15 cents per gallon from more than 2200 EDGE Discount stores. It also does not have any transaction fees on the fuel purchases.
Benefits Of Fleet Fuel Cards For Owner Operators
1. Huge Savings On Fuel Money:
As an owner operator, you already know how costly it can be to operate a trucking business. When spending is limited, you have to save max on the expenses you can not avoid like fuel. By owning a fuel card that comes with benefits that suit your business, you can save huge fuel money every time at gas stations. A few cents might not sound a lot but when calculated annually that’s a saving worth hundreds of dollars a year.
2. Gain Improved Security And Control:
The security and control features that come with fuel cards are very useful for your business. Advantages like adjustable spending controls, daily gallon and transaction limits, postal code restrictions, and more help you manage your bookkeeping better. They also help prevent fraud and theft.
Many fuel cards offer user-friendly apps that enable you to use the features you require, with ease. You can track the cost per mile, monitor your overall spending, compare fuel costs at varying locations and manage all of your other necessary tasks for an enhanced financial security and management.
3. Enhanced Accounting And Fuel Monitoring With Latest Mobile Apps:
Gone are the days when you had to keep fat books and record every fuel usage and other spendings with a pen every time while fearing the loss of data constantly. Now, you can simplify your accounting, budgeting and expense management with the right kind of apps. Fuel cards today come with the right apps for your business that help you maintain your data easily and securely. They make it more convenient for you to understand how your fuel card is performing while making it easier to find gas stations along your way.
4. Smart Time And Cost Saving:
A fuel card reduces the risk of misplaced receipts and saves huge time that you would otherwise spend on scanning dockets. It’s all automatically taken care of for you on a single tax invoice and statement. It prepares you for the tax season in advance. It also eases out the process of filing expense claims. One of the biggest advantages of using a fuel card is that it ensures you don’t miss out on any tax filing due to misplaced receipts.
5. Find Useful Locations Instantly Without Hassle:
Almost all the fuel cards are committed to assist you in finding connected gas stations for you to be able to enjoy all the benefits it offers you. In addition, the associated mobile apps to your fuel card also help you find the best service stations on your route to maximize your profit and plan your trip accordingly. Fuel card companies often provide you with an easy-to-use system to find the nearest service station whenever you are running out of fuel, no matter where you are.
Fuel expenses are a huge burden for an owner operator whether you own a single vehicle or a small fleet. Fuel cards come as a big relief that not only help you save huge money per gallon but also assist you with managing your bookkeeping, financial record and much more. With a fuel card that offers you 5 cents or more per gallon on every purchase you make, you ultimately end up saving hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. Additionally, with a fuel card, you can also enjoy benefits that make managing your trucking business better such as tracking fuel purchases and costs, setting spending controls, auditing expenses, helpful apps, and much more.