Have you got with the program? Your carrier’s fuel network program? Besides driving at your “sweet spot”
and reducing idling, joining your carrier’s fuel network is one of the easiest ways an owner-operator can help control costs. And even though you are no longer a company driver, carriers want you to succeed in your business and try to help you control costs so you continue to work with them. That’s why they allow owner-operators to continue to utilize their fuel network, because helping you helps them.
Most owner-operators who use their carrier’s fuel network program don’t realize the benefits they receive from using their network. If you need a refresher on why you joined in the first place, are a new owner-operator, or have not joined, here is a list of benefits an owner-operator receives from joining a carrier’s fuel network:
Savings. You can save an average of 6 cents per gallon when you refuel at in-network truck stop. Running through approximately 12,000 gallons of fuel a year, a .06 savings per gallon can save you over $700 of hard earned cash (12,000x.06). Your carrier’s discount is negotiated with each truck stop based on the amount of fuel they consume. Keep fuel discounts in mind when you are thinking of switching carriers. The largest networks typically have the best discounts negotiated. Even when pay per mile is higher at smaller carrier, the pay increase may not be enough to cover the lower discount on fuel.
Fuel Cards. You will receive a fuel card to make your fuel purchases on. Most carriers will provide their owner-operators a fuel card and automatically deduct the fuel expenses from your settlement. Having the fuel charges automatically deducted means you no longer have to manage this expense in your cash flow, make fuel purchases on your own credit card, or track fuel receipts. You won’t see the carrier’s fuel discount applied to the price on your receipt, but you will see the discount applied on your settlement. (Carriers may not want to have their specifically negotiated discount rate shown on paper at the pump.)
Fuel Tax Reports. Another benefit from having a fuel card is that it will track where you make fuel purchases. It’s tempting to fuel up in a state with a lower fuel tax rate but this can be a big mistake for drivers. The fuel card helps track how many miles you ran in each state and its information is used to determine your quarterly fuel tax report. The last thing you want is to owe more money on your next settlement because you refueled too often in states with lower fuel tax rates.
Fuel Efficient Routes. One of the best benefits is having access to the most fuel efficient routes created for you with the in-network truck stops along the way. Carriers create these routes for their company drivers and make the drivers follow these routes for a reason. Carriers do the research to determine the most efficient ways to a destination because it saves them thousands. Why not use these already established routes for yourself? It will save you time trying to figure out the best routes yourself and money by not paying too much at the pump or having to buy expensive fuel optimization software.
If you are in the business of trucking, utilizing your carrier’s fuel network is a great way to save money on fuel and has lots of benefits to help you be more efficient. If you are a new owner-operator or haven’t joined yet, you can easily get started just by calling your fleet manager. Stop spending more on fuel than you have to and get with the program today!