If paying for fuel is a pain, one of the easiest ways to manage your fuel costs is to get set up with a fuel card. If your current company isn’t offering you a fuel card, you might think that cash or credit card is the best way to go. But, a fuel card does more than just save you money. Here are six reasons why it’s a good idea to start paying for fuel with a fuel card.
- Save Big with Discounts: If you’re paying with cash or credit, you’re missing out on big fuel savings and discounts. When you pay with a credit card, you pay the credit price, which is typically a few cents per gallon more than cash price. When you use a fuel card, you could get the cash price or better at certain locations. Those savings can add up quickly to several cents less per gallon than if you paid the credit price.
- Theft protection: Paying with a fuel card is the safest way to fuel up. Paying with cash at the truck stop can put you in danger of being robbed. When you use a fuel card, you get an extra layer of protection because you’ll use a special PIN or company DOT number to make safer purchases. Fuel cards also protect you from fuel theft because you can monitor your transactions and cancel or deactivate a lost or stolen card.
- More control: Having a fuel card gives you more control over your fuel expenses. You can set dollar limits on purchases and/or restrict the products and services you purchase, which can protect you in case your card gets lost or stolen. You can also choose how you reload your fuel account. You can deposit cash into your fuel card account or get approved for a fuel credit line from your fuel card provider.
- Get reports: When you pay with cash or credit card, you lose valuable reporting features that often come with using a fuel card. These reports show your trucks’ performance and any maintenance needs or problems, which can help you track expenses. You can also say ‘good bye’ to juggling receipts, because you’ll have digital statements of all your purchases.
- Digital tools: Speaking of digital! Many fuel card programs offer real-time account updates online or via a mobile app, so you can manage your account while you’re on the road from a smart phone or tablet. This gives you complete transparency and control to see what’s going on with your account at any time. Using an account management system with your fuel card can show you current balances and card limits. It will also allow you to issue checks and view statements, and even create users and customize permissions and spending if needed.
- Help with IFTA: At the end of each quarter, you’re required to complete fuel tax reports as part of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA). These reports show all of the miles your truck traveled in each participating jurisdiction and the gallons purchased to determine tax liability. When you use a fuel card program, you can easily access all the information you need to fill out your IFTA reports.
Using a fuel card to pay for fuel is a great way to save money at the truck stops you visit, keep you safe at the pump, and make managing your fuel expenses easier.
Chris Courts is the Managing Director at TCS, a value-added reseller of the Comdata and EFS fuel card systems, helping small carriers manage their fuel expenses and control costs.