Fuel cards – how, where, and why?

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How do many fleet managers use the services of fuel card providers? What should be considered when choosing a provider? What advantages does a fuel card have in combination with fleet management software?

Fuel costs are a very tedious but important topic for many fleet managers. Without fuel cards, they have to collect fuel receipts from drivers, check them, cancel private expenses and the company then has to reimburse the costs to the employee. This is a very tedious and time-consuming process. Individual receipts also mean a lot of manual effort when it comes to analyzing fuel costs, mileage, and consumption – on the one hand at the level of individual vehicles, but also in terms of the entire fleet.

In everyday fleet life, fuel cards function as a kind of credit card. The driver fills up at a filling station in the network and the invoice goes directly to the company. Fuel cards can thus reduce the bureaucratic effort for fleet managers and companies. Also, they provide drivers with more comfort when refueling and give fleet managers more transparency in fuel costs – through automatic invoicing and, depending on the fleet management system, through integration and reporting.

The advantages of fuel cards are obvious:

  • Reduced fuel costs through discounts on the network (often on the daily fixed price)
  • Easier refueling and therefore more satisfied drivers
  • Cashless refueling
  • Payment of tolls and expenses, and in some cases minor repairs and amounts for workshops
  • Blocking private expenditure
  • Recording of km stands at the cash desk
  • Reduced administrative burden for the company (e.g. because no reimbursement of expenses)
  • Fuel cards and the reimbursement of fuel costs as an additional instrument of employee motivation
  • Simple handling for refueling pool vehicles with a fuel card deposited in the vehicle
  • Current reporting of fuel costs through statements and reports that the fleet manager receives from the fuel card provider

There are fuel cards from well-known oil companies, the so-called single-brand fuel cards (e.g. Aral, Avia, Esso, OMV, Shell, Total). On the other hand, several different petrol stations cover the multi-brand suppliers, which may increase the geographical spread and density of the petrol station network (e.g. DKV, UTA).

In addition to dispersion and density, it can also make a difference in terms of price whether a single-brand or multi-brand supplier is chosen. By skillfully selecting the best petrol station in the network, you can make targeted cost savings when filling up, and usually, there are cheap petrol stations available everywhere.

What is the daily fixed price?

A fuel card in Germany works with the following fee model: a monthly basic price is paid for the fuel card and the provider grants a discount on the fuel price or the daily fixed price for the amount of fuel filled.

Providers such as Aral, for example, do not charge their business customers the discount granted on the price the driver sees at the petrol pump. Instead, the discount is calculated on the respective daily fixed price. This is the 24-hour fixed price which applies at all petrol stations of the respective supplier, i.e. regardless of the time of day and whether refueling takes place at the motorway petrol station or in a small town. The daily fixed price can therefore sometimes be higher than the price displayed at the petrol pump.

Practical tip: Avoid possible cost traps of daily fixed prices: Check whether your fuel card is linked to the daily fixed price and whether there are also petrol stations without a daily fixed price available in your fuel card network.

So how do I successfully select the right provider for me?

  • Do I already use fuel cards and am I always looking for a better solution?
  • Do I already have experience with one or more providers?
  • What geographical coverage do my drivers need? Are my drivers traveling regionally, nationally, or even internationally?
  • Do I want to work with one or more providers to cover the entire geographical area?
  • What about the costs?
  • What are my technical integration requirements, e.g. fleet management software?

Practical tip: You can also choose and obtain fuel cards outside the leasing company, you are not bound to your leasing provider!

What are the advantages of using fleet management software such as Avrios with the integration of fuel cards?

As already considered, a step towards the digitalization of fleet management is already done when working with fuel card providers – towards the current accounting of the fuel card provider and away from individual receipts and a lot of paper. To go one step further, many fleet managers now use software such as Avrios to make other cost blocks and data in the fleet transparent in addition to fuel costs, thus enabling them to act.

Every vehicle is stored in Avrios including all contract data, including all relevant information such as leasing conditions, and can now be viewed and controlled concerning all costs. All fuel costs can be viewed with just a few clicks, as well as all other costs for financing, repairs, etc.

In Avrios all common fuel card providers are integrated and the respective statements, mileage, and fuel costs are automatically sent into the system, processed, and directly assigned to the respective vehicle.

Through the connection, the mileage is also continuously updated and supplemented – without manual intervention by the fleet manager. The driver enters the mileage at the cash register when filling up the tank, this is transmitted to Avrios by the fuel card provider and Avrios provides daily updated projections of the leasing mileage for each vehicle – thus additional costs due to additional or reduced mileage at the end of the contract can be avoided.

Avrios integrates all common fuel cards into one system

  • All data on the vehicle is available in one place – without manual typing
  • Fuel costs can be viewed down to the vehicle level
  • At the vehicle level, the actual fuel consumption and mileage can always be easily monitored using the stored vehicle and contract data, simply and without additional effort on the part of the fleet manager

This means that the fleet manager always remains in control and can take countermeasures if necessary.

Do you already use fuel cards? Are they integrated into your existing fleet management solution? We offer you an Avrios fuel card via the Avrios Marketplace in cooperation with UTA – fully integrated and with attractive conditions. More information here

Getting started with Avrios couldn’t be easier – With Avrios Essentials you’ll take control of your fleet in no time. And the best part it’s free!