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Unlock the Best Fuel Cards for Truckers in 2024

By
Brian Smith
May 13, 2024
9 minutes
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Unlock the Best Fuel Cards for Truckers in 2024
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As the prices of fuel, repairs, and software continue to climb, carriers have to find ways to optimize every expense. Fuel cards for truckers offer discounts and points systems, but not every fuel card is created equal.

This article will compare the fees, discounts, and benefits of the top fuel cards along with who they're geared towards. At Cota Systems, we provide resources for carriers to save money and make more money per mile.

Let's get started!

What are Trucker Fuel Cards?

Fuel cards, also known as fleet cards, are cards that drivers use to fill up or pay for work-related expenses on the road. They make it easy to track and file expenses, limit usage, and eliminate the need for drivers to pay for their own fuel.

It works just like a credit or debit card. Fuel card companies offer cash back, discounts, or rewards for each purchase. Carriers save money on their largest expense every time they buy gas, showers, parking, etc.

So, what is the best fuel card for truckers? Read on for a complete comparison.

Top 9 Best Fuel Cards for Truckers in 2024

Below is a quick summary of the best fuel cards for truckers, owner-operators, and trucking companies.

  • EFS Fuel Card: Different fuel cards for small trucking companies and large-scale operations.
  • Thunder Fuel Card: Maintenance and repair discounts
  • OOIDA Fuel Card: No monthly fees or transaction fees, cash price at pump plus extra discount at select stations. One of the best fuel cards for small businesses and owner ops.
  • ExxonMobil FleetPro Card: Low monthly fee and setup fee
  • Shell Fleet Navigator: Most benefits only apply if you only shop at Shell stations
  • Comdata Card: High rebates and a large network of stations and sites
  • Edenred Essentials: Benefits apply anywhere that accepts Visa cards
  • BP Business Solutions Mastercard: Most benefits only apply if you only shop at BP stations, but those benefits are significant
  • RTS Fuel Card: A factoring company with fuel card options offering up to 25 cents off per gallon. One of the best fuel cards for truckers who frequent Pilots.
Top 9 Best Fuel Cards for Truckers in 2024

Can I Apply for Multiple Fuel Cards?

Yes, many businesses use multiple fuel card companies because the benefits only extend to certain gas stations. For example, many fuel cards don't have benefits at both Pilot and TA, so having two cards means drivers can get benefits no matter where they stop.

Key Features and Benefits

For Truckers

  • Loyalty programs: Most fuel card companies include rewards programs that accumulate points for every gallon of fuel purchased. In most cases, the more you buy, the more cents per gallon you save.
  • Convenience: Truckers can easily refuel at a wide network of fuel stations using their company card. It also saves drivers the risk of carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Expense tracking: Fuel cards make it easier for drivers to report fuel expenses to employers and eliminate the need for them to front the cost.
  • Access to additional services: The best fuel cards for truck drivers also cover maintenance, repairs, tires, or even lodging, providing an all-in-one solution for on-the-road expenses.
  • Real time tracking: Using apps like the Cota Systems mobile app, carriers can monitor and track expenses by the day, week, or month, helping budget and control what drivers are spending.

For Owner-Operators

  • Cash flow management: Most fuel cards offer favorable credit terms, helping owner-operators manage their finances more effectively. Establishing a fuel-specific line of credit makes it easier to track fuel spending.
  • Tax benefits: Fuel cards for owner-operators simplify the process of recording and reporting fuel expenses for tax deductions.
  • Negotiated fuel prices: Access to discounted fuel prices at certain stations, amounting to thousands in cost savings.
  • 24/7 Access: Fuel cards typically provide 24/7 access to fueling locations, allowing owner-operators to fill up at any time, even when other payment methods may not be accepted.

Is It Better to Use a Fuel Card or Credit Card?

Business fuel cards typically win the credit card vs. fuel card debate. Fuel cards offer better discounts, spending limits, and tracking, and have better approval odds than credit cards. We recommend talking with your network of fellow drivers and dispatchers to learn from their experiences.

For Small Trucking Companies

  • Budgeting and forecasting: Some fuel cards for truckers provide detailed reports that can assist in budgeting and forecasting future expenses. This is especially important for single truck operations like hot shot trucking.
  • Enhanced security: Fuel advance scams are all too common. Fuel cards for small trucking companies offer pin codes, driver IDs, and odometer readings to prevent fraud or dishonesty.
  • Controlled spending: Ability to set spending limits or restrict purchases to specific types of fuel or services. For example, drivers may be allowed a credit line for fuel and food depending on their scheduled hours for the week.
  • Fleet management: Online management tools work alongside trucking dispatch software to help track fuel consumption per vehicle, identifying inefficiencies.

What is the Best Fuel Card for a Trucking Company?

The best fuel card for truckers has the highest rebates, largest station network, and lowest transaction fees. Top companies include EFS, Thunder, and OOIDA.

Best Fuel Cards for Truckers: Comparison

EFS Fuel Card for Truckers Best for Comprehensive Benefits

EFS Fuel Fuel Card

Drivers using the EFS card report saving $0.40-0.60 per gallon or $200-300 per week. It works as a debit card, meaning you or your employer load it with money before use. EFS is one of the best fuel cards for truck drivers who frequent the big name truck stops.

Best for: Comprehensive Benefits

Card Fees:

  • Monthly Admin Fee: $0
  • Set Up Fee: $0
  • EFS Transaction Fee: 85 Cents per Transaction

Savings and Discounts:

  • Diesel Fuel Discount at Major Chains
  • Weekly Line of Credit: $2K per Truck
  • Tire Discount – Gold Program: Save up to $100 per tire
  • Referral Bonus: $100 for Every Referred New Customer

Network: Nationwide access to all major fuel chains

Pros:

  • No monthly minimum volume amount.
  • Terms of Agreement: Pay as You Go.
  • Additional weekly services like Diesel Exhaust Fluid Area, Diesel, Weight Scale Fee, DEF Container, Reefer, and Ultra Low Diesel.
  • 24/7 customer service.

Cons:

  • Loves and TA are in network, but Pilot is not
  • Not as many small truck stop businesses in network as other fuel cards for truckers
OOIDA Fuel Card Best for Huge Savings

OOIDA Fuel Fuel Card

The Truckers Advantage card is one of the best diesel fuel cards for owner-operators. It's specifically for OOIDA members and offers significant savings at most of the big truck stops. If you're an OOIDA member, it's a no-brainer.

Best for: Huge Savings (OOIDA Members)

Card Fees:

  • Zero monthly card fees.
  • Zero fees for in-network fuel purchases.

Savings and Discounts:

  • Pilot Flying J: 10 cents/gallon off the cash pump price.
  • TA/Petro: 14 cents/gallon discount off the cash pump price.
  • Sapp Brothers: Cost plus 8 cents/gallon.
  • Quick Fuel: Cost plus 7 cents/gallon.
  • Cost plus pricing at independent in-network truck stops.

Network: Nationwide card acceptance at over 99% fuel and maintenance sites, totaling over 8,000 locations. Also includes a Truckers Advantage discount network with over 2,800 locations.

Pros:

  • Everyday fuel rebates and $0 transaction fees at locations in the Truckers Advantage discount network.
  • Cash price at the pump.
  • Cash services, cash advances, and EFS MoneyCodes.
  • Canadian acceptance.

Cons:

  • Only accepts owner-operators who are OOIDA members
  • $25 sign-up fee (one time)

Lower savings than other best fuel cards for small business associations

ExxonMobil FleetPro Fuel Card Best for East Coast Medium to Large Fleets

ExxonMobil FleetPro Fuel Card

With such low management fees, this is one of the best fleet fuel cards for East Coast fleets. While cardholders only see benefits at Exxon and Mobil stations, the cards can be used anywhere Mastercards are accepted. It's considered one of the best diesel fuel discount cards for security and online expense tracking.

Best for: East Coast Medium to Large Fleets

Card Fees:

$40 set-up fee

$2/month per card

Savings and Discounts:

  • 3¢/gallon on fuel
  • 10-25¢/gallon for larger fleets or bigger spenders
  • Earn extra points for convenience store purchases

Network: Over 12,000 Exxon and Mobil stations and 800 other fueling stations nationwide

Pros:

  • Driver PIN & odometer reading for safety
  • Rebate system has a lot of stipulations
  • Reporting, online invoicing, mobile account management
  • 24/7 US-based customer service
  • Cash advances
  • Access to Synergy Diesel Efficient™ which is apparently 2% more efficient

Cons:

  • Sparse West Coast and Midwest stations
  • No maintenance or service benefits or plans
Shell Fleet Navigator Fuel Card Best for Small Regional Fleets

Shell Fleet Navigator Fuel Card

As the name suggests, Shell gas cards only give rewards out at Shell stations. The Fleet Navigator is one of the best fuel cards for small businesses and smaller fleets that know they won't have a problem finding Shells in their region.

Best for: Small Regional Fleets

Card Fees:

$1.25 transaction fee at truck stops

$2 per card, per month

Savings and Discounts:

  • Up to 5¢/gallon off at Shell stations
  • Rebates of up to 6¢/gallon, but the average is 3¢/gallon
  • 20% off at Jiffy Lube

Network: Accepted at over 95% of all U.S. fueling stations and 45,000+ service locations. Rebates apply at over 13,000 Shell locations.

Pros:

  • Online management portal
  • Roadside Assistance with National Automobile Club (NAC)
  • No fees at Shell stations

Cons:

  • Savings only apply at shell stations
  • High APR compared to the best fleet fuel cards
  • Not many Shell stations in Montana and parts of the Midwest
Comdata Fuel Card Best for Mega Carriers and Large Fleets

Comdata Fuel Card

One of the most popular fuel cards for businesses, Comdata offers debit and credit card options. Their benefits grow as fleet size does, which is why large carriers like Swift and Prime have drivers use them.

Best for: Mega Carriers and Large Fleets

Card Fees:

  • $5/mo per card
  • $50 account setup fee
  • Zero transaction fees in network, $3 fee out of network

Savings and Discounts:

  • Cash price plus up to $.25 off per gallon at TA Petro, $.10 off at Pilot Flying J (average savings are lower than this for small fleets)
  • Smaller discounts at participating locations
  • Up to 65% off tires and retreads
  • 20% off hotel stays within network

Network: Over 8,000 truck stops in the Comdata national network, including Love’s, Pilot/Flying J, TA/Petro, and more.

Pros:

  • 24/7 account management
  • No credit check required
  • Real-time fraud monitoring

Cons:

  •  Discounts depend on size of the carrier you're leased to making it not an ideal fuel card for owner-operators

Bad reviews related to customer service and fraud protection

Edenred Essentials Fuel Card Best for Versatility and Extra Expenses

Edenred Essentials Fuel Card

Edenred's best feature is that it's accepted anywhere that takes a Visa, making it the most accurate way to claim universal acceptance. While it's not the best fuel card for small businesses in terms of rebates, it does have low operating fees, which is nice for start-ups.

Best for: Versatility and Extra Expenses

Card Fees:

  • $3 monthly card fee
  • 3% fee for foreign transactions
  • $50 late fee for missed payments

Savings and Discounts:

Monthly rebate schedule:

  • 1 - 3,999 gallons: $0.010
  • 4,000 - 9,999 gallons: $0.015
  • 10,000 - 14,999 gallons: $0.020
  • 15,000 - 19,999 gallons: $0.025
  • 20,000 - 24,999 gallons: $0.030
  • 25,000 - 29,999 gallons: $0.035
  • 30,000 - 9,999,999 gallons: $0.040

Network: Anywhere Visa cards are accepted

Pros:

  • US-based customer service
  • User-friendly mobile app and online platform
  • Accepted everywhere that takes Visa
  • Roadside assistance included

Cons:

  • Very low rebates compared to other fuel cards for business
  • No pay at pump
  • No store locator feature
BP Business Solutions Mastercard Fuel Card Best for Fleets East of the Mississippi River

BP Business Solutions Mastercard Fuel Card

BP cards don't offer the highest discounts or lowest fees, but they act as a nice backup card. There are two card options with one performing more like a credit card and one is strictly usable at BP and Amoco locations. It can be one of the best diesel fuel cards for owner-operators whose company uses 10,000+ gallons per month.

Best for: Fleets East of the Mississippi River

Card Fees:

  • $10 monthly fee for businesses that buy less than 5,000 gallons
  • 5,000+ gallons = no monthly fee
  • $75 late fees
  • $120 annual fee

Savings and Discounts:

Volume rebates are:

  • $0.03 for 300 - 2,999 gallons
  • $0.04 for 3,000 - 4,999 gallons
  • $0.05 for 5,000 - 9,999 gallons
  • $0.07 for 10,000+ gallons

Network: Rebates at Amoco and BP locations, Business Solutions card is accepted anywhere Mastercard is accepted, too.

Pros:

  • Immediately deactivate lost or stolen cards
  • Real-time reporting
  • Solid security features

Cons:

  • Business Plus card not universally accepted
  • Diesel rebates capped at 3.5¢, knocking it out of the running as the best fleet fuel card
  • BPs are sparsely located out west and midwest
RTS Fuel Card Best for Big Savings PFJ & Sapp Bros

RTS Fuel Card

RTS works as a revolving credit card with weekly statements organized by state. Many reviews are largely positive with savings reports from 12¢ - 21¢/gallon, though the max savings is 25¢. Depending on your plan, they offer a savings match, matching better savings rates from your other fuel cards above the 25¢ limit.

Best for: Big Savings PFJ & Sapp Bros

Card Fees:

  • No annual fees
  • $6 per month
  • One-time setup fee of $75

Savings and Discounts:

Network: 2,400 participating locations including Pilot Flying J, Sapp Bros., Casey's, and more. Industry consensus is that this is one of the best diesel fuel cards for owner-operators.

Pros:

  • Credit line of $3,200 per truck, per week.
  • Mobile app has a location finder
  • Fuel card and factoring service bundle offers more discounted rates
  • RTS Pro app helps plan routes with gas stations, parking, and truck stops
  • Credit line is $2,500 per truck per week
  • Weekly auto pay

Cons:

  • No transaction alerts
  • Smaller network of mom-and-pop truck stops

Fuel Cards with Great Benefits

Thunder Funding Fuel Card

Thunder Funding Fuel Card

The Thunder fuel card stands out for its expense savings on things like tires, retreads, axle alignment, and DOT inspection maintenance - just about any service at a TA is discounted. They have a huge network that includes big-name stations like TA, Petro, and Speedway, with rebates up to $0.65/gallon. If you're looking for fee-free fleet fuel cards for your small business, this is a great option to try out for free.

EFS Fuel Card

We're proud to provide the EFS card to Cota Systems drivers, the best fuel card for truckers who frequent Loves and TA. The benefits?

Drivers can save an average of 40 - 60 cents per gallon and get huge tire discounts just by being members. There are no monthly fees or setup fees, just the 85 cents per transaction - so you never pay fees unless you're using the card.

OOIDA Fuel Card

As discussed above, the OOIDA card is available to organization members, and we're proud to be a provider. Get discounts at all the big names like PJF, TA, Petro, Sapp Bros, and more, all from the convenience of one card. Not many cards can boast nearly 99% acceptance at fuel and maintenance sites, making it one of the best diesel fuel cards for owner-operators in the OOIDA. After the 25$ sign-up fee, you're in the clear.

Additional Tips for to Maximize Savings

  • Plan routes strategically: Plan out what stations you'll use and plug them into your GPS. Most fuel cards for business have easy-to-use location finders. See our CDL Pre-Trip Inspection Checklist for more ways to save money before hitting the road.
  • Monitor fuel prices: Watch for even minor fuel price fluctuations. You might have a fuel card offering high rebates, but the end price could be the same as the regular price at the station down the road.
  • Use fuel cards primarily for fuel: Avoid unnecessary expenses by trying your best to use the card for fuel, showers, and parking, mostly.
  • Review transactions regularly: Turn on usage notifications and monitor your account daily for suspicious activity. Fraudulent transactions are usually in the thousands.
  • Set spending limits: Give drivers leeway, being reasonable and fair in your budgets.
  • Make sure your drivers are educated: Drivers should know where their fuel discount card for truckers works and how to get the most out of each card.

Save on Cost Per Mile - Increase Your Bottom Line with Cota Systems

Most drivers use more than one truck fuel card to maximize savings. Take a look at your frequent routes and regions to find the most rewarding card for you.

Our primary goal is to save carriers money, time, and hassle. We've compared fuel cards for business benefits and perks, listing only the ones we think are worth your time. We also offer free freight quotes to shippers and free load board access to carriers and drivers.

Alongside our commitment to saving carriers money, we work with freight brokerage services. What is a freight broker? Be sure to check out our blog to learn more.

Supercharge your business today with Cota Systems.

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