Fuel is a major concern for trucking companies and truck drivers everywhere. In fact, everyone is talking about it. It’s not uncommon for me to walk into the office and comment about fuel prices being on the rise again. It's a water cooler conversation at offices everywhere.
Sure, the cost of diesel is a concern for truck drivers everywhere, but it can potentially have a huge impact on your bottom dollar as an owner-operator or trucking company. If you’re paying full price for fuel and not taking advantage of discounts, you’re letting your competition beat you.
When you’re moving several loads per week, you can fill up your tank as often as every other day and easily spend a few thousand dollars at the pumps per week.
At Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we know how frustrating diesel prices are for you; it’s something that none of us can control even though we wish we could. If you can save a few cents per gallon on fuel by utilizing a fleet fuel card or an app on your phone, that’ll go a long way.
In this article, you’ll learn the key benefits of using fuel discounts, the types of fuel discounts you can utilize and the best apps for saving money at the pumps this year.
Challenges with Fuel Expenses
If fuel isn’t your biggest expense on the road, it’s at least one of the top expenses. It’s an uncontrollable cost you simply can’t avoid. Your only option is to do what you can to improve your fuel efficiency and find ways to save money at the pumps.
If you’re paying the asking price of fuel, then you’re losing your competitive edge. You’re missing out on profitability. Look at it this way: That small trucking carrier down the road is using a small fleet fuel card and getting cents off for every gallon of diesel they pump. You aren’t. As a result of that discounted fuel rate, they can bid lower on freight. That means they have a far better chance of winning the bid over you.
Take advantage of every chance to be cost-efficient and competitive in this lean market we’re in. If you aren’t doing it, you can bet your competitor will be.
Key Benefits of Using Fuel Discounts
Using fuel discounts provides immense benefits for every driver or small trucking company trying to lower their bottom dollar.
Every dollar makes a difference in a market where profit margins are so thin. You simply can’t afford to lose out to your competitor. Getting those fuel discounts can help you bid lower and win more freight bids to keep you and your small fleet running.
Types of Fuel Discounts
Thankfully, there are a ton of ways all types of drivers can earn fuel discounts, including:
- Fleet fuel cards
- Broker fuel cards or reward programs
- Truck stop rewards programs
Let’s talk about each of them in turn.
Fleet Fuel Cards
A fuel card or fleet fuel card works just like any other type of payment card but with countless benefits — from fuel theft protection to controlled fuel costs. You can also limit how much money is put on each card at a time.
When you use a fuel card as opposed to a credit card, you typically receive the cash price for fuel (or better as long as you’re going to approved locations), which can range upwards of 10 to 60 cents per gallon. It can also depend on whether your fuel card uses a retail-minus or a cost-plus discount structure.
Not only that, but fleet fuel cards provide protection from fuel theft. When you pay with a fuel card, you use a special PIN or company DOT number to make your purchase. You (or someone on the team) can monitor those transactions to make sure there’s no theft; you can also set up suspicious activity alerts. If a problematic charge comes up, you can freeze or cancel the card. This practice can prevent fuel theft putting you out thousands of dollars.
If you want to get your own fleet fuel card, start by checking your credit score to see which type of fleet fuel card you (or your business) qualify for. After that, research the best fuel cards for your unique needs. Thankfully, there are plenty of fleet fuel cards that are designed specifically for small carriers.
Narrow down the best card for you by looking at which locations you can use the card at and what kind of features it has for fraud protection and tracking. To make sure it’s worth it for your business, ensure the card has high rewards and low costs. For instance, if the card has some sort of annual fee or doesn’t provide discounts at the truck stops your drivers regularly pass by, it’s probably not worth it.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it’s as easy as submitting an application online.
If you’re looking for a fuel card, don’t forget to check out the following options:
WEX can be used for small or large fleets. Take advantage of their accounting and reporting tools to help keep your costs down.
EFS is accepted at 12,000 truck stops across North America and can be used not just for fuel, but also for additives, repairs and cash services.
AtoB is a popular fleet fuel card because it has so many rewards and can be used for all vehicle expenses. AtoB integrates fleet fraud tools to help catch and block suspicious transactions the second they come in.
Use the advanced technology in the Comdata app to turn fuel and driver data into actionable insights and maximize your fleet’s potential.
Broker Fuel Cards or Reward Programs
Some of the bigger brokers offer fuel discounts to drivers. This can be really convenient for you. Big brokers and trucking companies will buy fuel in bulk and negotiate discount prices. They can pass that discount on to you as a small carrier. Just make sure you talk to your broker about what their options are for you.
Truck Stop Rewards Programs
Nowadays, it seems like every company has some sort of loyalty card — from coffee shops and clothing retailers to grocery stores and, you guessed it, truck stops.
Enrolling in these reward programs can provide awesome savings for you in a range of ways. From cents off per gallon of gas to free perks like truck washes and free coffee, it can put more money in your pocket in various ways. You’re filling up on fuel anyway; you may as well receive some perks for it.
Best Apps For Saving at the Pump
In addition to securing truck stop discounts or using a fuel card, there are apps you can use to price fuel across the country to secure the lowest prices.
When deciding on an app, choose one that is the easiest for you to use and has features you like. We don’t advise using multiple tools. Stick to one or two for consistency and convenient savings.
We recommend the following apps:
The app doesn’t just show updated fuel prices — it also provides live traffic alerts and turn-by-turn directions. It’s highly rated by truck drivers across the country.
GasBuddy is one of the best apps you can use for fuel savings. There’s both a GasBuddy app and a GasBuddy gas card that can be used together for the best discounts. Both are free to use and are available for iPhone and Android users. Of course, you can also use it to find the best fuel prices nearby.
Enroll in their GasBuddy program for free with no credit check and link the gas card to your checking account. Search the app for active deals, then swipe your card to see them automatically applied. The best part is that it works at a majority of fuel stops.
Trucker Path is a great multi-purpose app popular among truck drivers. Use it to look for the lowest nearby fuel prices, to get discounted fuel prices at select truck stops and to navigate.
The app also has tools to help you find real-time parking information.
Save at the Pump, Improve Your Profitability
With fuel being one of the top expenses for truckers, exploring avenues for discounts is essential. Fuel discounts, offered through fleet fuel cards, broker partnerships and truck stop loyalty programs, provide significant savings opportunities. Fleet fuel cards, like WEX, EFS, AtoB and Comdata, not only offer price discounts but also protect against fuel theft.
Apps such as Trucker Tools, GasBuddy, and Trucker Path enable users to locate the cheapest fuel prices across the country while offering additional features like traffic alerts and navigation assistance.
Bottom line: If you want to keep up with the competition you need to get fuel discounts. It’s not just a matter of saving a few bucks at the pump here and there to increase your profits. It’ll help you bid lower and win more loads for yourself and your company.
Saving money at the pump is an important step in maximizing your efficiency and profitability as a carrier. But don’t stop there. As fuel, maintenance and insurance expenses continue to rise, the more you can do to promote positive cash flow, the better.
When you haul freight for ATS we want to get you paid accurately and as quickly as possible. Learn more about joining the ATS Logistics/Sureway Transportation carrier network here.