Fuel cards, also known as fleet cards, are not only useful for vehicle fleet owners but also for any other business that maintains even a few vehicles. The fuel cards behave like credit cards but exclusively meant for buying fuel and vehicle maintenance items. Businesses that consume a large volume of fuel, diesel or gas, must work very hard to make every dollar count, especially by monitoring fuel usage and controlling operational costs. Fuel cards are just right for the purpose because it acts as a management tool and empowers business owners to have better control on fuel transactions and usage right from their tables. In addition to controlling fuel expenses, fuel cards used for the purchase of vehicle maintenance items help to control the maintenance costs too.
Fuel card issuing companies are connected to a network of gas stations and companies that provide vehicle maintenance and supply items that accept fuel cards and offer discounts and incentives to cardholders. From companies that have only two vehicles to those that operate a larger fleet of 100 vehicles or more can benefit in the same way by using fuel cards. Only the amount of benefit will vary depending on the volume of fuel purchased. Not only does fuel cards save the cost of buying fuel, but it also provides many other benefits that help to improve operational efficiencies in the trucking business.
Control fuel theft
The biggest concern for fleet managers is to keep a check on fuel buying and usage to control fuel theft, which is rampant in the trucking industry. Since fuel constitutes 30% of the operational costs, it is critical to avoid incidents of fuel theft and misuse. Fuel cards put an end to the concerns of business owners because the record of every fuel transaction is available real time that helps to control spending. Not only fuel transactions, but even driver activity is also on record that allows vehicle owners to track vehicle movements closely. Fuel cards have features that aid the process of controlling the cost of fuel and maintenance items purchased, which is not available with normal credit cards.
It is possible to set limits of fuel buying on the cards either based on specific fueling stations, or there might be a set limit on the volume of fuel that a driver can buy in a day. Restriction of buying the type of items like fuel only or fuel and maintenance item can also be set.
From the item purchased, its type, place of purchase, and all other details pertaining to a particular transaction are available in the report generated by fuel cards. It streamlines the work of fleet managers who need not match expense reports to drivers and issue checks for reimbursement. By analyzing the report, one comes to know about driver performance to point out fuel wastage and identify the causes of frequent maintenance.
Handling cash puts additional stress on drivers as they must pay from their pocket first and then reimburse it from the company. Use of fuel cards puts an end to this practice as they are relieved from tracking receipts and vouchers.