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Fuel Card Comparison
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Fuel Card Comparison

As you evaluate which fleet fuel card is right for your company, you will need to research which fleet fuel card is best for your business. The coverage area, purchase controls, and possible discounts and fees are the most important features to consider when researching the best fleet fuel card. 
 
To make your decision simpler, we've broken down the pros and cons of each fleet fuel card option. 
 

Universal Fuel Cards

 
Universal Fleet Cards, like Voyager or WEX, are a popular option for companies that value convenience for their drivers. With access to over 90% of all fuel locations in the United States, your drivers will be able to easily fill up with gas or diesel with minimal hassle. Universal fuel cards also provide purchase controls that can limit fueling by time of day, day of the week, number of transactions, and spend per day, week or month. Level III data is captured at 99.5% of sites so that you know the card number, dollar amount, gallons, fuel type, date, time, and location for each purchase. Discounts are typically only available to the largest fleets and may come with other fees, so check your terms and conditions carefully. 

Pros: Universal acceptance, optional maintenance, fuel card controls, Level III data

Cons: Limited discounts

 

Fuel Credit Cards

 
Fuel Credit Cards are affiliated with vendors like Visa or MasterCard and are issued by ComData, Fleetcor and US Bank. However, unlike traditional credit cards, purchases can be restricted to gas stations and other merchant codes. While purchase controls are available, they are often less customizable than the controls on universal or cardlock cards. In addition, 5-10% of fuel sites lack the technology to capture Level III data and provide purchase controls essential to fleet management. 

Pros: Universal acceptance, optional maintenance, Level III data at most sites

Cons: Limited discounts, limited data capture and controls at 5-10% of sites

Major Oil and Gas Cards

 
Many major oil companies offer co-branded cards that may offer a rebate or discount at their own sites. However, these cards can limit the stations you fuel at, and the discounts are often capped at a certain rate (like the first 5,000 gallons or the first three months of use). Companies should research these restrictions before signing up. Purchase controls are similar to what is available with universal fleet cards, but sometimes vary by provider.

Pros: Rebates or discounts (for qualifying purchases up to a limited amount), purchase controls

Cons: Limited access to branded sites, extra fees may offset rebates and discounts

Cardlock Fuel Network Cards

 
The Commercial Fueling Network (CFN) and Pacific Pride are the two largest cardlock networks in the country. Their sites are specifically designed to accommodate large commercial vehicles, conveniently located off major freeways and in metro areas, and include features to get your drivers back on the road quickly. However, the most substantial benefits are the potential discounts available and the industry-leading purchase controls that limit transactions based on the size of your vehicles’ tanks, time and day, and product (i.e., diesel only). These cards also include optional access to 50,000+ retail fuel sites and truck stops for additional convenience, giving companies the best of both worlds. However, the discounts and product controls often do not apply to the retail sites.  

Pros: Discount pricing (at cardlocks), industry-best controls (at cardlocks), sites designed for larger vehicles, Level III data

Cons: Not universally accepted, maintenance unavailable

Over The Road Fuel Cards

 
Over-the-road fuel cards (OTR cards) are typically accepted at truck stops across the country. They are best suited for companies engaged in long-haul trucking, because the trucks have large fuel tanks and long ranges which minimizes the issue with limited access to truck stops. Truck stops are usually near major highways and have easy truck access for convenient fueling. They also offer a variety of driver services such as truck parking, showers, lounges, and restaurants. OTR cards can offer fuel discounts, but often come with transaction fees so companies need to evaluate the fees versus discounts for their particular needs. In addition, OTR cards often have smaller credit limits and shorter terms than other fuel card options.  

Pros: Discounts, driver services

Cons: Limited number of sites (especially in metro areas), transaction fees, shorter credit terms 

 
Have questions about which fuel card is right for your fleet?  TALK TO AN EXPERT
 

 
Benefits of Using a Fuel Card
 

Though the benefits of using a fuel card will vary depending on your card and provider, here are the features that you can expect when using a fuel fleet card:

Save Drivers Time

Choosing a card that minimizes the amount of time your drivers need to fuel is one of the most important factors. Driver wages and truck utilization are important to all transportation businesses, and here are some ways to optimize using fleet fuel cards:

Access fuel sites conveniently located along driver routes

Mobile apps that help drivers instantly find the closest locations

Pay at the pump

Use of Cardlock sites and truck stops designed for larger vehicles

Reduce Fuel Costs

It is essential for fleets to do what they can to reduce the price that they pay for fuel, as this tends to be the largest expenditure for commercial driving businesses. There are a variety of ways that fuel cards accomplish this:

Discounts available with certain fuel cards

Universal site acceptance so drivers can fuel at low-cost sites

Refunds or dyed diesel for off-road use

Tax exemptions for government offices and other public servants

Reduce Unauthorized Driver Spend

Unauthorized driver spend should be clearly defined for drivers in a fuel card policy. Some of the more common examples include fueling of personal vehicles, purchase of non-fuel or maintenance items and fueling with higher grades of fuel. To minimize these risks, you should have the following in place:

PIN or driver-protected ID Cards

Purchase controls and restrictions to prohibit unusual spending

Limit by gallons or dollars per transaction, day, and/or week

Email alerts that quickly notify you of suspect behavior

Streamline Accounting and Taxes

Fleet fuel reports simplify the tracking and reporting of your fleet expenses for your fleet managers and accounting teams and simplify your process during tax season. Essential accounting capabilities include:

Department or GL summaries that simplify allocation of fuel expenses

Reporting for miles per gallon and cost per mile with odometer tracking

IFTA reports that detail usage by state and vehicle to simplify your taxes

Off-road reports summarize usage for simple filing of off-road refunds

Improve Administrative Efficiency

Fuel card vendors’ customer portals should allow you to manage your fuel card program easily, simplifying processes for fleet managers, administrators, and business owners. Important features vary by vendor but will include:

Invoices and statements available online and by email, fax, or mail

The ability to view transaction data before invoices are issued

Adjusting card limits, and adding or cancelling cards immediately

Exception reports to show fueling outside of your fuel card policy

 
Looking for a fuel card?   GET STARTED
 

 

Industry Guide

Any company that operates vehicles can benefit from a fleet fuel card. Trucking and construction companies have specific needs that are best met by different cards.

Fuel Cards for Trucking

In addition to possible discounts, IFTA Filing, and ELD reporting support, fleet fuel cards also offer apps that allow truck drivers to search for essential amenities, including gas stations designed for larger vehicles, car washes, and 24-hour services. 

Best Option: For trucking companies that operate across the United States, we recommend an OTR card which provides access to truck stops and driver services. Some fleets may travel to out of the way areas where there aren’t truck stops. In these cases, a universal card may be a better fit.

Fuel Cards for Construction

If your company works with off-road diesel, it is essential to have a fleet fuel card that automatically tracks your off-road or dyed diesel purchases. Off-road fuel reports make it easy to submit your fuel tax refund when the time comes. You can also find discounted off-road sites using the CFN Card.

Best Option: The best fuel card option for construction companies will depend on where you operate. Given the wide range of operations, most companies prefer a universal card like Voyager or WEX. However, if you’re located on the west coast, a CFN card with retail acceptance may provide valuable discounts with enough fuel site coverage.

 

Fuel Cards for Business Fleets

Regardless of industry, any company that operates several vehicles can benefit from a fleet fuel card. Fuel cards allow managers to enact controls, get alerts on suspicious spending, and prevent employee theft and fraud. Common users of fuel cards for small businesses include plumbers, exterminators, food distributors, movers, air conditioning repair units, and even firefighters. 

Best option: The ideal fleet fuel card for your company will depend on several factors including location, routes, fleet size, desired controls and balance of convenience and discounts. Reach out to a fuel card specialist to find the best fit. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that looking for a fuel card can be a confusing business. That's why we've compiled the most common questions to make your search simple. 

How do I choose the best card for my business?

Fuel card companies are often the best resource to assist you with choosing the right product for your fleet. Find a vendor that has a few different fuel card solutions for your type of fleet and allow their account specialists to assist you with making the right decision.

How do fuel card providers make money?

Fleet Fuel Card providers earn a percentage of the pump price from merchants when you use fuel cards at their locations and/or charge a transaction fee. Some (but not all) fuel card vendors also charge fees, so check their Terms and Conditions before deciding.

Are there minimum purchase requirements to setup an account?

Some fuel card companies have minimums and others don’t, so check with each early in the decision-making process. Most fleet fuel card providers only setup business accounts, so individuals who are not owner operators may not qualify.

Do Fleet Fuel Cards Have Many Fees?

Like all fuel card policies, this varies greatly depending on the vendor. It is essential to research the fees and the Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) your cards will be subject to. The most common fees include account setup, monthly card, transaction, invoice, late, and program administration. The fees vary in how they are charged and the total impact, but here is an example for a fleet buying 5,000 gallons or $15,000 per month:

  • Account Setup: $40 per = $3.33 per month for the first year
  • Monthly Card: $2 per card per month (25 cards) = $50.00 per month
  • Transaction: $2 per transaction (100 transactions) = $200.00 per month
  • Invoice: $3 per invoice (2 invoices per month) = $6.00 per month
  • Late: up to 9% of invoice (3 times per year, 2 invoices per month) = $168.00 per month
  • Program Administration: $0.05 per gallon = $250.00 per month

 Some Fleet Fuel Cards have no fees, so it is essential to do thorough research on your fuel card provider to ensure you're finding the best fit for your company. 

 

Helpful Resources for Fleet Managers and Small Businesses

The following resources are an excellent source of news, announcements, and information for truckers, owner-operators, fleet managers, and business owners. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 

A complete database of the laws and regulations for U.S. Commercial Driving Companies

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association 

An advocacy group dedicated to representing truck drivers and owner-operators

The IRS Trucking Tax Center

Information for Owner-Operators and Small Businesses

FleetOwner 

The information source for commercial truck fleet operations, equipment and technology

Automotive Fleet Comparison 

A comprehensive guide to professional details with estimated operational costs

The American Trucking Association 

Promotes highway safety, security, environmental sustainability and profitability.

Off Road Diesel Locations 

Find locations that provide off road/red dyed diesel

IRS Form W-9 

Request for taxpayer ID and certification number

Gasbuddy.com 

Find the lowest fuel prices in your area and monitor fuel pricing trends

P-Fleet’s Blog 

Keep up to date with the latest industry news and fleet fuel card updates.


 

How-To Guides

As you begin setting up your fuel card program, these comprehensive guides will help you follow the best practices for your industry and fleet size. 

Compare Fuel Cards To Find The One That Fits Your Fleet 

Determine the best card for your company based on the size of your fleet, locations, discounts, and fees.

How To Secure Your Fuel Card Program 

Once you have your cards up and running, you can adjust your restrictions and alerts to prevent fraud or misuse.

How To Choose Between Driver and Vehicle Cards 

Most Fleet Fuel Cards will allow you to choose between driver and vehicle cards.

How To Reduce Unauthorized Charges With Driver Monitoring 

Quickly spot irregular fueling with driver monitoring and alerts.


 
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