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Fuel can be one of the largest expenses incurred by a trucking business. Rising fuel prices often mean exponentially rising costs for your fleet. But a fuel card program can help business owners manage fuel usage and costs. Additionally, when a fleet fuel card solution is coupled with fleet management software, analysis and improvement of driver behavior, idle time, and driver routes can lead to additional reductions in fuel usage across a fleet of vehicles.
Benefits of fleet fuel cards
Business fleet cards to use in your small business or large fleet operate much like consumer credit cards, and are sometimes co-issued by credit card providers such as MasterCard, American Express and Visa. Much like traditional credit cards, fleet fuel cards have annual or monthly fees, and are usually paid off monthly. By using fleet fuel cards, you stand to benefit in many ways:
- Fleet cards offer volume rebates, card offers and other perks to give you fuel discounts when you fill up, or in some cases cash back on certain purchases.
- Fuel card providers offer mobile apps to help monitor expenses and control spending limits
- Gas cards can be secured with additional pin numbers required to authorize each fuel expense
- Can be used at a wide range of fueling locations, gas stations and truck stops across the United States, with near universal acceptance.
- Fuel cards can help simplify accounting and remove the need for drivers to file expenses.
When coupled with a fleet management system, the data from fuel cards can help identify further areas in your fleet’s operations that could be improved.
Pinpoint fuel card misuse
Using GPS tracking information it is easy to see where company vehicles were when a fuel card was charged, and zoom in on possible misuse. Also fuel usage information and odometer readings that telematics systems collect can help to identify a mismatch of vehicle fuel use and fuel expenses.
Reducing Non-Productive Engine Idling and Engine Wear and Tear
A long-haul truck will idle approximately 1,800 hours per year and use 1,500 gallons of diesel, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (Source). With the average cost of diesel fuel right around $2.75 a gallon, that’s more than $4,000 a year per long-haul truck wasted on engine idling. While some engine idling is necessary, much of it is unproductive and can be eliminated.
The only way to know whether the idle time your drivers are engaging in is useful or unproductive is by monitoring engine idle hours and driver behavior. When fleet managers can identify wasteful engine idling, it becomes easier to coach (and incentivize) drivers into correcting fuel-wasting behaviors. You can also employ in-cab notifications to drivers when they begin to engage in fuel-wasting behaviors so that in near real-time they are able to correct their behavior and prevent wasted fuel.
Non-productive engine idling also increases wear and tear on an engine, leading to higher costs for maintenance and a shorter vehicle life. Reducing idle time can lead to a direct reduction in the cost of maintenance and total cost of ownership (TCO).
Reduce fuel consumption with improved route planning
When drivers have better route planning, they travel shorter distances and reduce their overall fuel consumption. Improved routes help drivers avoid high traffic areas and to job sites efficiently.
Save on fuel costs with fleet fuel cards
Fuel management is made easier with fleet fuel cards. The right fuel cards enable you to monitor GPS and fuel transactions together - eliminating the need to compile data from multiple sources for reporting while helping you identify patterns for improving efficiency. Below is a short list of the best fleet fuel cards and card options available that can help you increase profit and meet your business needs.
AmeriFuel fuel card integrations can process updates daily to bring together fuel transaction details for review compared to the vehicle GPS data. Users can leverage the fuel reporting suite to see a summary and history of fuel transactions, fuel efficiency data, and incidents of possible fuel card misuse.
Fuel cards from AmeriFuel integrated with VerizonConnect offer powerful reporting features including the following:
- Fuel Purchased Report - shows all fuel purchases made and includes driver and vehicle information.
- Fuel Efficiency Report - shows which vehicles exceed MPG targets, along with driver information, so you can target behaviors that are wasting fuel.
- Lost Fuel Report - shows fuel transaction details with assigned vehicles. This can be used to determine fuel card misuse.
AmeriFuel can be used to promote a reduction in fuel usage and costs and improve overall management of your fleet’s costs.
FLEETCOR fuel cards can be used to view a summary and history of fuel transactions, fuel efficiency data, and incidents of possible fuel card misuse. With FLEETCOR you can review detailed reports, highlight vehicles that are running less efficiently with lower target MPGs, and you can identify drivers who may be misusing their cards for personal vehicles or excessive purchases.
WEX fuel cards are accepted at almost every major fuel station in the United States. WEX cards are highly secure and require driver ID to be entered for every transaction. They are designed to be flexible and reporting heavy to help fleet managers make smart decisions about fuel management.
Shell fuel cards are designed to be accessible, secure, and easy to monitor transactions on. Fraud prevention is core to Shell Global’s fuel card standards. Data from fuel cards can be accessed in reports that help you view trends in fuel efficiency and other key performance indicators.
Reducing engine idling time, monitoring driving behavior, improving routes, and choosing the best fuel cards for your fleet are all essential in reducing fuel consumption and increasing profits. To learn more about how to improve fuel consumption and choose the best fuel card, contact a Verizon Connect expert today.