Whether you’re an owner-operator, a member of a twenty-person team, or part of a fortune 500 company, you can use a diesel fuel card to minimize your workload. Commercial fleets of all sizes can reduce the time it takes to refuel, while easily generating reports for monitoring drivers, allocating fuel spend, and filing IFTA taxes. Read our overview of all fleet fuel cards to learn more about the different types of cards in the market.
What is a Diesel Fuel Card?
It allows your team to quickly refuel at gas stations and truck stops around the country, while automatically capturing data on every transaction. If your company is operating on a per diem, cash, or reimbursement system, this program will instantly cut down on the time it takes to manage your team. You also gain access to comprehensive controls so you can monitor your team’s spending and customize when and where you want them to refuel. This eliminates a large part of a fleet manager’s workload, so they can focus less on busywork and more on high-level operations.
Where Can I Use My Diesel Fuel Card?
The locations you can access will depend on which diesel card program you choose. If saving money is your priority, you may want to utilize a cardlock program, which provides wholesale-based pricing at exclusive sites. While there are fewer sites to choose from, this solution is ideal for companies who prioritize saving money. In 2020, cardlock fueling offered an average savings of 28.0 cents per gallon over retail sites and 49.7 cents per gallon over truck stops. For trucking companies that operate along the west coast, the CFN cardlock program can help your drivers refuel quickly while saving money at the pump.
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However, if there are not enough cardlock locations in your area, you can opt for a universal card program, like the Voyager card. This card provides access to over 320,000 locations across the United States, including gas stations and truck stops like Chevron, Circle K, Pacific Pride, Texaco, TA (TravelCenters of America), Speedway, Shell, and more. This allows you to shop around for the lowest prices and ensure that you’re never far from a fueling site.
Do These Cards Have Fees?
While most companies focus only on the discounts a program will provide, it is essential to look at the fuel card fees that come with each vendor. Some diesel fuel card providers include card fees, transaction fees, monthly fees, reports fees, and more that will cut into your savings. Be sure to review the Terms and Conditions of each company and look up online reviews to be sure you’re finding the best card vendor.
How Do I Find Locations?
When you sign up for a diesel card program, your team will gain access to a mobile app that guides you to the nearest locations. You can filter by fuel type, amenities, and even plan out your route to simplify long hauls. Additionally, you can search gas and diesel prices in your area to find the best deal before you make the journey to a different site.
Full Control of Your Fleet Fueling
It can be difficult to monitor a large fleet, but using a diesel fuel card provides the tools you need to keep a bird’s eye view of your spending. You can create customized controls that only allow fueling during certain times and days, ensuring that drivers aren’t using your cards outside of work hours. You can also set card limits for each day, week, and month, and opt in for email alerts for all cards, or just those of new drivers. You will also receive flagged notifications of unusual spending and be alerted if someone starts spending drastically more than average. All these controls help you stay on top of your fleet and follow up with your drivers immediately if you suspect an issue.
IFTA Filing Made Easy
One of the biggest benefits for companies that cross state lines is the automatic tracking of the fuel taxes you spend in each state. Your program will automatically total spending by state and vehicle, making it easy to file your IFTA taxes without saving receipts or having your accounting team create a spreadsheet. If there are other reports that you need generated, your vendor can work with you to find an easy solution that saves your team time.
Reports for Off-Road Diesel Tax Refunds, Accounting, and GL Code
If you operate a boom truck, cement mixer, refrigerated van, tank truck, or other dual-purpose equipment, your company can deduct certain fuel taxes when you file. These taxes are spent on maintaining roads and highways, so gallons that are not used directly for the purpose of driving can be deducted. If your vehicles have a separate off-road tank, your diesel card can track when off-road diesel is purchased, making it easy to create a separate report at tax time. If you have a single tank, your provider can help you calculate the correct amount of fuel to deduct, making your life simple when it comes time to file for a refund. Additionally, if you have vehicles that operate entirely off-road, you can automatically include all of these gallons in your off-road reports.
You can also generate reports that break down your spending by whatever parameters your accounting team needs. The most popular of these reports is a GL Code report, which allows you to easily track spending by department. You can also create reports based on fuel type, location, or state, allowing you to create customized reports based on how your business operates.
Apply Your Exemption for Agricultural Haulers
If you qualify for a tax exemption for agricultural haulers in California, you can automatically utilize a sales tax exemption on fuel right at the pump. The partial exemption reduces the sales tax by 7% for businesses that engage in agriculture, livestock, or horticulture. Before you can take advantage of this program, you will need to submit your exemption certificate to your card provider. They will then be able to apply this reduction at the pump, allowing you to avoid filing for refunds on overpaid sales tax.
Regardless of your size, a diesel fuel card can reduce the menial work that your fleet has to do. By automatically tracking your purchases and fuel taxes, creating reports, monitoring driver purchases, and helping you find sites in your area, you can optimize your business and save money along the way.