With such an uncertain fuel economy and price fluctuation ever more apparent, fuel cards exist to offer businesses a more predictable, money saving alternative for fleet vehicles across the globe.
What is a fuel card?
Fuel cards are much like a credit card, and depending on your fuel card provider, you can use them at thousands of selected petrol stations across the UK. If your business operations rely on transportation on a day-to-day basis, fuel price increases can have a significant impact on your profit margins. Providing your fleet drivers with a designated fuel card will cut costs, save time and improve security.
According to FuelGenie, fuel cards have saved company Parasol Logistics Limited an average of 2.5% of their total annual fuel spend. With fuel card providers such as MileageCount promising an approximate saving on diesel of 10ppl, businesses with large and small fleets can manage fuel expenses more effectively and push those costs down with vehicle fuel tracking systems.
Considerations when choosing a fuel card
Before selecting a fuel card, you first need to consider which fuel card is the most appropriate to meet the needs of your fleet.
Where are you based and where are your drivers most likely to need to use petrol cards and diesel cards? Some providers may only service a certain area, meaning your drivers could end up wasting valuable time and extra fuel searching for a selected petrol station. If you do your homework you can find the most appropriate provider for the locations your fleet operates in.
Always identify what you are currently spending on fuel and the potential savings you could be making with a range of fuel card providers. Different providers will have varying pricing methods allowing you to purchase fuel at fixed wholesale prices on a weekly basis, while others will encourage a collective method and batch your fuel purchases together after a certain period. Both have their benefits, but you need to decide which is right for you.
You need to consider whether the petrol stations included have all the amenities needed to successfully support your fleet. If your fleet contains mostly of HGV vehicles or lorries and trucks, you will need to ensure your fuel card provider supports this necessity with high canopy petrol stations and low diesel prices.
Most fuel card services will have exceptional tracking and recording options so you can easily detect any fraudulent activity. All transactions are documented and registered to specific drivers, so you can identify their fuel consumption and any indications of inefficiency or changes you need to make. In some instances, you will be alerted by SMS of any suspicious transactions happening within your fleet.
Managing your account
Managing your account is of top priority if you want to track how effectively your fleet are utilising their fuels cards. In most cases, it will be one of your staff members who will manage your account, which you can access online. You need to identify whether changes can be made in real-time, whether you can order or cancel cards easily, or review transaction reports in an easy to download format.
Here are a few of the top fuel card services available across the UK for you to consider.
Scania fuel card
Offering bulk fuel prices and no charges for the first 12 months, Scania offers all the major fuel networks including BP, Shell, Esso and Texaco. Every business will have a dedicated account manager to handle all enquires, and reports are available 24/7. Scania also offer a pay-as-you-go option with no minimum spend.
AllStar fuel card services
AllStar fuel card services boast the largest network of fuel stations in the UK with fuel cards to cover a wide range of fleets. Each fuel card purchasing option can be locked down to an individual driver, restricting transactions to petrol only, diesel and petrol only, as well as other vehicle related purchases such as oil.
UK Fuels offer access to some of the most competitively priced stations across the UK. No contract or joining fee is necessary and the cards will be issued to you for free. UK Fuels work alongside Velocity, the market-leading provider of account management software, which you will receive as standard with their cards.
Shell Bunker Card
The Shell Bunkercard offers fuel cards specifically for hauliers and provided by HGV experts. Their fuel cards provide highly competitive discounted rates for over 185 Shell sites across the country, with additional discounts at another 219 sites. All cards are PIN protected if your fuel card is lost or stolen and there are no administration fees or charges for any cards required.
FuelGenie Fuel Card
With discounted rates available at over 1000 forecourts at Tesco and Morrisons, FuelGenie offer fuel savings at an average of 3p per litre. There are no ongoing management costs and it’s free to apply. They have a 45 day credit facility and all transactions are easily accessible on one invoice and pre-approved by HMRC for simple VAT reclaim.
Keyfuels Fuel Card
Offering over 1,800 sites with a mix of supermarkets, Motorway Service Stations, truck stops and oil company sites, KeyFuels cover the most convenient locations across UK cities and towns. With a 24 hour online and offline account management system and high security measures in place, they minimise all risk of fuel card fraud.
Getting a fuel card quote
Fuel cards offer businesses a way to minimise fuel costs, but it’s always important to gather and compare quotes and find out which fuel card provider is best for the needs of your business and your fleet.
Consider whether the solution provided is within budget and offers a pricing structure to suit your needs. Ensure it covers all the vehicle types within your fleet and the petrol stations covered are easily accessible to all your drivers. Lastly, always ensure the software included within the quote is easy to use and manage for data analysis, and all cards are security protected against fraud.