Operating as a fleet manager or independent carrier can feel like an uphill battle in this economy. With operating costs soaring and freight rates remaining stubbornly low, margins are being squeezed across the board.
Operators must do everything they can to keep costs down. Given that fuel generally accounts for 20-35%+ of total fleet operating costs, optimizing fuel spend is a great place to start.
Fleet fuel cards can help firms lower fuel costs, while also providing valuable insights into spending patterns, fuel economy, and more.
This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know about fleet gas cards — including the 10 best fleet fuel cards available today.
What Are Fleet Fuel Cards?
Fleet fuel cards are a specialized kind of payment card that can be used for fuel and other vehicle related expenses. They look and function similarly to a credit card, but there are some key differences.
The main benefits of using fleet cards include discounts on gas and diesel, better tracking tools for expense management, and discounts on related products and services, such as tire sales or mechanic bills.
Fleet fuel cards are useful for truckers, fleet managers, and any business that operates vehicles and purchases a significant amount of fuel.
Most cards support using several physical cards that are attached to one account. For instance, a fleet manager could open a fuel card account, and then distribute cards to each of their drivers. Owners can typically set spending limits and other controls, as well.
Fleet fuel cards are also referred to as “fuel cards”, “fleet cards”, and even just “gas cards”. For the most part, these terms are used interchangeably.
What Are the Benefits of Fuel Cards?
Fleet fuel cards offer fleet managers and individual drivers a host of benefits. Some key perks are discussed below.
Discounts/Rebates on Fuel Purchases
Fuel cards can save you money at the pump, either by providing a direct discount ($0.05 per gallon at participating stations, for instance), or via rebates ($0.04 per gallon back as a statement credit rebate, for example).
In many cases, the cards must be used at participating fueling stations in order to get discounts. But this isn’t too big of a concern; most of the best fuel cards offer these perks at 10,000+ different gas stations, so it’s easy to find a participating place to fuel up.
Advanced Spend Management and Fraud Controls
For fleet managers and other business owners, one major perk of using fuel cards is the advanced spend management tools. Companies can assign fuel cards to a specific driver, or even a specific vehicle, to avoid overuse or fraud. And it’s easy to see which purchases were made by which driver.
Plus, managers can set strict spending limits, monitor purchases in real-time, and even turn access on or off with just a few clicks.
For example, a firm could give fuel cards to each of their 10 drivers. Each card could be assigned to that specific driver, requiring an individual PIN number to use. Each card could be set up with a $750 spending limit per fuel stop. And the cards could be “turned off” when drivers are on vacation, or even on the weekends when they’re not driving company vehicles.
Advanced Analytics and Fuel Management Tools
Fuel cards can help managers analyze, track, and ultimately lower the cost of fuel. They achieve this goal in a number of ways.
These cards give owners a lot of data. Each fill-up is tracked with data points including the number of gallons purchased (not just the total dollar amount, as it would be with a normal credit card). And many tools also track the time/mileage between fill-ups, which is used to calculate average miles per gallon.
These tools can be used to analyze spend, track driver behavior, identify vehicle maintenance opportunities (a drop in MPG could indicate a mechanical issue, for example), and more.
More Time to Pay
Many fleet fuel cards operate similarly to a credit card, in that you don’t have to pay cash for the purchases as you make them. Instead, businesses that open a fuel card account will be given a credit limit. Each purchase lowers the credit limit, until a payment is made.
Many cards bill once per month, with the payment due date often falling around 2-3 weeks after the statement date.
For example, say your statement date is the first of the month. All purchases you make between June 1st and June 30th would therefore end up on your July statement. You’d then have until mid-July to pay the bill — around 6 weeks after your initial purchases.
With the delay in freight payments that many fleet managers face, this perk can be huge for cashflow. It’s also helpful to work with a freight factoring company to avoid cash flow pinches at the end of the month.
Volume-Based Discounts for Large Fleets
Some fuel cards offer rebates and/or discounts that scale up with the volume of gas purchased. This can help larger fleets trim their fuel bills.
Given the soaring operational costs for fleet operators, every additional savings can contribute to your bottom line.
Easier Approval (Compared to Business Credit Cards)
Fleet cards may be easier to get approved for, compared to standard business credit cards. This is largely because they are specialized cards that are used for fuel/vehicle costs only.
If your business is relatively new, getting approved for a standard business credit card may be more difficult.
Better Expense Reporting and Accounting Workflows
Another perk of fuel cards is that they centralize receipts and records for fuel purchases operation-wide. This makes it much easier to prepare expense reports, export data to accounting software, and keep your finance department happy.
How Do Fuel Cards Work?
Business owners/fleet managers can apply for fuel cards from the companies that issue them. This process is similar to applying for a business credit card.
If approved, the company can request X number of fuel cards to suit the needs of their fleet — this could be one card per driver, or per vehicle, or whatever else is needed.
In most cases, all the fuel cards that are shipped out are tied to a centralized billing account, which is operated by the business owner. Each purchase made — from any of the individual physical cards — will be billed to this central account.
At the pump, fuel cards work similarly to a credit card. The driver inserts the card or taps the chip to begin fueling.
However, some fuel cards only work at gas stations and fueling centers (and only at supported stations, for that matter). Most cards are also useful for other vehicle-related expenses, like tires, repairs, etc.
Fuel cards typically cannot be used for general purchases, however. Your drivers won’t be able to buy meals or book hotel rooms with a fuel card.
With that said, some fuel cards are also business credit cards, which offer more versatility and can be used anywhere a credit card is accepted.
There are a lot of different fleet fuel cards on the market, and each works slightly differently. We’ll cover the details of the best fleet fuel cards below.
What Are the Best Fleet Fuel Cards?
These are the top 10 options when it comes to fuel cards for your business. Each card was selected based on a combination of features, rewards/discounts, cost-per-card, customer service, and overall value.
Wex: Best Overall Fleet Card Provider
Pricing: From $0/month
Wex is a provider of fleet fuel cards that offers over 50 different cards. You read that right: 50+ different fuel cards, suiting everything from small mom-and-pop trucking firms to entire city governments. There’s a ton of variety on offer from Wex, so instead of going over a specific card here, this section will focus on broad benefits of Wex and the fleet card solutions it offers.
Some key features of Wex include:
- Wide selection of card options – Wex has over 50 different versions of fuel cards. There are customized solutions for small businesses, small fleets, large fleets, government fleets, mixed-use fleets, and more.
- Widespread acceptance – Wex is accepted at around 95% of US gas stations, as well as over 45,000 service centers. Your drivers won’t need to look hard to find fueling stops (and the Wex app makes it easy).
- The Wex ecosystem – Wex is more than just a fuel card. The company also offers telematics, a variety of mobile apps for drivers, and even employee benefit management for HR teams.
- Wex Edge Savings Network – Wex cards also come with access to Wex Edge, a savings and discount network that includes tire service centers, hotels, service providers and more.
- Fuel discounts – Wex cards offer fuel discounts and/or rebates at participating fuel stations. The details vary depending on both the card you select as well as the gas station you’re refueling at.
Wex is a massive company that has one of the largest networks of supported gas stations and service centers. It’s very easy to find places to fuel up with Wex.
There’s a good amount of variance between plans, so read the fine print when deciding which card is right for you. On the upside, several Wex cards have no setup or annual fees.
Wex is a great provider to consider on your search for the best fuel card for your organization. If you need access to a big fueling network, integrated technology, and a wide selection of card options, Wex is for you.
AtoB: Best Fuel Card for Fraud and Theft Prevention
Pricing: From $3 per active card, per month
AtoB is an innovative fleet fuel card with a focus on fraud prevention and theft reduction. It’s a great choice for large fleet managers, or for any firm concerned with driver theft, fraud, fuel skimming and other sources of fraudulent activity.
Some key features of AtoB include:
- Works at any gas station – AtoB is accepted at any gas station that accepts Visa cards. You’re not limited to a certain network — and
- Telematics integration for purchase location validation – AtoB can integrate with your telematics tracking solution. For example, you can set the card to only function when it’s within 100 meters of the vehicle it’s assigned to. This helps firms cut down on losses due to theft and fraud. This integration can also block transactions that exceed a truck’s fuel level. For instance, if a given vehicle has a 120 gallon capacity and a driver attempts to purchase 140 gallons (indicating fraud or misuse), the card will cut off the transaction automatically.
- Secure card unlock in the app – Before fueling up, drivers must “unlock” their fuel card for use in the app. This requires accessing the app from an authorized device, and entering a custom pin. This prevents theft and eliminates the risk of lost cards being used by unauthorized users.
- Advanced spending controls – The AtoB card is fully customizable with advanced spending controls. You can set operational hours (outside of which the card won’t work), whitelist or blacklist specific merchants, set daily spending limits, and more.
- Several ways to save – The AtoB card claims to help firms save up to $0.43 per gallon — though that’s not all in the form of discounts. The main cost saver is through cheap gas station selection. The app helps drivers compare prices and select the most cost-effective fillup location. Other cost savers include reductions in fraud and theft, and custom controls.
- Credit reporting – AtoB regularly reports usage data to Experian, one of the main credit bureaus. This can help you improve your business’ credit rating, if you use the card responsibly.
For discounts, the card offers $0.02 per gallon for the first 3 months. After that, you can unlock up to $0.25 per gallon discounts in the app, with participating merchants. There are cards out there with higher potential discount rates — but AtoB is a clear leader when it comes to fraud and theft prevention.
AtoB is an excellent fuel card for fleet managers concerned with theft, fraud, and misuse. No card offers more control features, and the telematics integration works quite well. The whole angle of this product offering is that it can potentially save you more money by reducing misuse, compared to other cards that focus solely on discounts.
Fuelman: Best Fuel Card for Mixed Fleets
Pricing: From $25/month (unlimited cards)
Fuelman is a fuel card provider that offers a variety of fuel cards to suit different business sizes and needs. This section is looking specifically at their “Mixed Fleet Card”, which strikes a good balance for mixed fleets as it earns $0.08 per gallon rebates on both diesel and unleaded fuel.
Some key features of the Fuelman Mixed Fleet card include:
- $0.08 per gallon rebates – Earn 8 cents per gallon back, on both diesel and unleaded fuel, at over 50,000 participating locations.
- Detailed expense and tax reporting – Track expenses, reconcile records, and prepare tax documents from within the Fuelman system.
- Rewards points – Earn 1-2 rewards points per gallon purchased (in addition to the 8 cent rebate). Rewards points can be redeemed for gift cards and merchandise.
- Roadside assistance – Fuelman cards come with 24/7 roadside assistance, included in the base membership plan.
- Cost controls – Prevent fraud and set spending limits through advanced cost controls. There are also real-time reports for potentially fraudulent transactions.
Fuelman has three tiers of membership for this card, ranging from $25 per month to $99 per month. Each plan includes unlimited cards, so this can be a good value for larger fleets (many options charge per-card fees). The rebates are the same on each tier, however, so if you’re mostly after the fuel discounts, you can stick with the $25/month basic plan.
The Fuelman Mixed Fleet Card is a solid choice for mixed-fleet companies and managers. The rebates are solid, at 8 cents per gallon, and there are more advanced features like fraud loss coverage, in the higher-tier plans.
Pilot Flying J Axle Fuel Card: Best No-Fee Fleet Fuel Card
Pricing: $0/month (no fees)
Pilot Flying J is a nationwide network of large truck stops, with over 800 locations and counting. The Pilot Flying J “Axle” fuel card is beneficial for teams who frequently refuel at these locations (which do tend to have competitive pricing to begin with).
Some key features of the Pilot Flying J Axle card include:
- No hidden fees – The Axle card has no annual fee, monthly fee, or transaction fees to worry about.
- Higher rewards earning – Using the Axle card earns you 1 additional MyRewards Plus point per gallon of gas or diesel. When stacked with the MyRewards Plus app, you could earn up to 5 points per gallon.
- Quick approval and high credit limits – This card tends to be relatively easy to get approved for. Plus, the card number can be issued digitally in the rewards app, allowing you to start fueling in as little as 24 hours after applying.
It’s worth noting that this card can’t be used for gas-only fleets. Only diesel and mixed-fuel fleets are eligible. Also, it’s only usable at Pilot Flying J locations (of which there are around 800+ in the US). So, it’s not as versatile as other cards, but it’s free to obtain.
The Axle card is a solid no-fee option for fleets that frequently fuel at Pilot Flying J. While it’s somewhat restrictive, Pilot stops do tend to have competitive prices to begin with.
Comdata: Best Fuel Card for Cash-Price Discounting
Pricing: From $8/month
Comdata is a fuel card issuer that has two primary options for fleets: The Comdata card, a traditional credit-based fuel card, and the Comdata Connect card, a prepaid fuel card that does not require a credit check (but must be pre-loaded with funds).
Some key features of Comdata include:
- Cash-price discounting – The Comdata card automatically gets you the cash price discount at the pump (many gas stations charge extra when you use a credit card).
- Additional discounts at select locations – You’ll also get additional exclusive discounts when fueling at select locations. The average is around $0.23 per gallon at TA Petra, $0.10 per gallon at Pilot Flying J, and $0.08 per gallon at Loves, AMBest, Speedway and 7-Eleven.
- Enterprise credit line – For the Comdata card, you’ll get access to an enterprise credit line with flexible repayment terms to keep your whole fleet moving.
- Driver and fleet analytics tools – Analyze spend, track drivers, and identify trends within your spending to optimize financial performance.
The prepaid card also deserves some attention here. It has the same discounts and rebates as the credit card version, but it doesn’t require a credit check (and therefore is available even if you have bad personal or business credit).
Comdata’s card offerings are solid. The automatic cash price discounting is great, as this can often be a $0.03-$0.10+ discount per gallon. And for businesses with limited credit history (or who prefer not to use credit), the prepaid card option has many of the same perks.
Coast: Best for All On-the-Job Expenses
Pricing: From $4 per active card, per month
Coast is a unique employee spend management solution for fleets and various small businesses. It can be used for all driver expenses, not just fuel.
Some key features of Coast include:
- Visa acceptance – Coast can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.
- $0.02 per gallon rebates on fuel – Earn 2 cents back for each gallon of gas or diesel on your billing statement each month.
- 1% cash back – On purchases other than fuel, earn 1% cash back.
- Customizable controls – Like fuel cards, Coast offers customizable spending controls, spend policies, and more. You can even enable the card for certain categories of spend, while disabling it for others.
- Easy bookkeeping – Coast can send automated messages to drivers when transactions are detected, asking them to upload images of receipts or invoices.
Coast is unique in that it can be used for a lot more than just gas. It’s a relatively new offering, but it’s expanding quickly and adding new features.
Coast is a solid option for businesses with employees who may have multiple expense categories to handle on a given day. Examples might include repair people, drivers who stay at hotels overnight, or construction workers.
Shell Fleet Navigator: Best for Service Discounts for Small Vehicle Fleets
Pricing: From $0/month
The Shell Fleet Navigator card is branded with the Shell logo, but it can actually be used at 95% of all fueling locations in the US. The card runs off the Wex network (see Wex described above in more detail).
Some key features of the Shell Fleet Navigator card include:
- Up to 5 cents/gallon rebates at Shell stations – Rewards are tiered, and based on how much you spend in a given billing cycle.
- Refuel (almost) anywhere – This version of the Shell card can be used at almost any gas station.
- Jiffy Lube discounts – Through a partnership with Jiffy Lube, Shell cardholders can save up to 15% on Jiffy Lube services, like oil changes.
- Roadside assistance – Basic roadside assistance is offered through National Automobile Club (NAC).
Keep in mind that other Shell cards only work at Shell locations, while this one can be used anywhere. This is also a charge card, so the entire balance must be paid off at the end of the billing cycle.
The Shell Fleet Navigator is a solid option for service discounts for small fleets. Jiffy Lube is not equipped to service big-rigs, but if you’re managing a fleet of vans or other local delivery vehicles, the service discounts can save you money.
Exxon Mobil BusinessPro: Best for Exxon/Mobil Fuel Stations
Pricing: From $2/month
The Exxon Mobile BusinessPro card is a decent overall option (it runs through the Wex network, so it’s accepted almost everywhere), but the best perks come when you’re refueling at Exxon or Mobil stations.
Some key features of Exxon Mobile BusinessPro card include:
- Up to $0.06 per gallon at qualifying gas stations – Earn fuel rebates of up to $0.06 per gallon at Exxon and Mobil fueling stations.
- Wex Network refueling – Though it’s branded as Exxon Mobil, you can use this card anywhere Wex is accepted (which is around 95% of all gas stations). However, you won’t earn the up to $0.06 discount.
- Driver PINs and spend management tools – You can set unique PINs for each driver to make it easier to identify who is spending where, and prevent misuse.
Some branded cards only work at that brand of station, which can be limiting. While this card’s best rewards come when fueling at Exxon stations, its acceptance everywhere makes it more versatile.
If you frequently fuel at Exxon or Mobil stations, this is a solid card to consider.
BP Business Solutions Mastercard Program: Best for BP/Amoco
Pricing: From $10/month
The BP Business Solutions Mastercard is a good fuel card for frequent BP/Amoco customers.
Some key features of this card include:
- Up to $0.07/gal fuel rebates – Earn tiered rebates at BP and Amoco branded gas stations. Rebates range from 3 to 7 cents per gallon, depending on your purchase volume.
- Security and fraud controls – Require a driver PIN, odometer prompts, etc. to reduce misuse.
- Use anywhere – This card is accepted for fuel anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
For big spenders at BP, this card’s rebates can add up. Keep in mind that out-of-network surcharges can apply if you fill up anywhere besides BP/Amoco.
This is a good card for BP loyalists, but otherwise it’s a little lacking compared to the top options here.
Costco Anywhere Visa Business: Best for Very Small Businesses
Pricing: Free with Costco membership
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business is a standard credit card; it’s not specifically a fleet fuel card. With that said, it deserves a mention here due to some very solid rewards earning potential.
Some key features of this card include include:
- 4% back on gas – Earn 4% back in rewards, on up to $7,000 in gas spending per year (1% after that). This includes Costco and other gas stations.
- No annual fee (with Costco membership) – If you already have a Costco membership for your business, there’s no additional fee to get this card.
- Use anywhere – This is a standard credit card, so you can use it for all your business expenses anywhere Visa is accepted — and earn rewards in the process.
- Solid rewards – Earn 4% on gas, 3% on travel, 3% on restaurants, 2% at Costco, and 1% everywhere else.
If you spend less than $600/month or so, and you don’t have many drivers, this card is worth considering. 4% back is equivalent to around a $0.13-$0.20/gal rebate, depending on how much gas/diesel is at the time.
Keep in mind that to get additional users on this card, they need to be authorized users on the account — and as a standard credit card, there’s limited spending limit/control capabilities. This is likely best for solo operators or small family businesses with trusted employees.
The Costco Anywhere Visa Business card is a solid credit card for gas. If you max out the $7,000/year in spending, you could earn $280 in rewards on gas.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions or concerns about fleet fuel cards? Find answers to common questions below.
What Is the Best Truckers Fuel Card?
For truckers, the Fuelman Mixed Fleet Card is a solid option, as is Comdata. Ultimately, all the best fleet fuel cards described above could work well for truckers.
What Is the Easiest Fleet Card to Get Approved For?
The AtoB Unlimited fuel card is generally considered easy to get approved for. The company promises approval, regardless of credit score.
Which Fuel Card Saves the Most Money?
This is highly dependent on your spending patterns, the size of your fleet, and other factors. When calculating potential savings for your business, be sure to account for any fees that the cards may charge. The best fleet fuel cards discussed above can help you trim fuel costs, but you’ll have to run the numbers to see which is the best for your situation.
What Are the Disadvantages of Fuel Cards?
There are a few potential disadvantages to be aware of. The first is that you’re not guaranteed to get approved for these cards. Like credit cards, fuel card issuers require an application process, which may check your personal or business credit score. The lender may deny the application if they don’t like what they see. Also, fuel cards can charge fees — setup fees, monthly fees, and potentially even transaction fees.
The best fleet fuel cards can help you trim fuel costs, analyze spend, reduce fraud and theft, and much more. With fuel representing such a huge cost for fleet managers, this is one area where optimizing your operations can really improve your bottom line.
Want to optimize all your financial operations to maximize profits? Check out AllTruckers for comprehensive guides on everything from load boards to factoring companies.