12 MIN READ
Do you want to cut your fuel spend? Join thousands of businesses across America that use fleet fuel cards to save time and money.
Read on for our roundup of the best fuel cards available in 2018.
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Top 5 Fuel Cards Comparison
The fleet card companies compared here are our top five picks in the US.
We compare fuel card companies on a national and regional level. Just complete a short webform to find the best fuel card deals for your area.
WEX offers a truly universal fuel card system, with stations covering nearly all corners of the country, and deals to suit most types of fleet.
|WEX Fuel Cards|
WEX Fleet Card
This card boldly claims to cut 15% off your fuel management costs. After testing it, we’re happy to say that WEX delivers. The advanced purchase controls this card offers are well worth the small monthly fee of $2
Ideal for small fleets, this souped up savings machine gets you a 3¢ rebate at any station in WEX’s massive partner network. You can also take advantage of the WEX Connect Android and iOS app, which is a fueling station finder on steroids. Searching for stations by fuel type, brand or services offered couldn’t be simpler.
Businesses of all sizes can save costs with fleet management tools. WEX is unique in that its fuel cards are only one aspect of a battery of fleet management solutions. Whether you manage a fleet of florists or a national trucking company, you can save more by using a WEX fuel card along with a suitable fleet management system. WEX offers its own fleet management range, but there are plenty of superb fleet management suppliers out there.
There are over 180,000 stations and 20,000 service centers in the WEX network. That includes national and regional brands like 76, BP, Citgo, ExxonMobil, Gulf, Lukoil, Marathon/Speedway and Sunoco. Any WEX card - whether it carries the WEX name or a retailer's brand - is valid at any member station. Note, however, that not all benefits carry across between brands within the network.
Check out our full WEX review.
Fuelman fleet cards offer extensive coverage via a 50,000-member network. Their Universal Card unlocks access to more than 160,000 stations nationwide.
|Fuelman Fleet Cards|
Fuelman Fleet Cards
Fuelman offers ten different types of fleet cards - far more than any of the other companies in our top five. Each card offers flexible payment terms, real-time transaction reporting and reliable transaction controls. Higher tiers throw IFTA and fuel tax reporting and employee activity summaries into the mix. They all offer different scaling rewards and incentives for cardholders. Savings range from 5-10 cents per gallon, with some cards capping the eligible discount past a certain number of gallons.
Fuelman Universal Fleet Cards
For some large fleets, Fuelman’s MasterCard-issued universal cards are a better bet. They’re valid nationwide, and you can get fuel rebates at stations within the Fuelman partner network. You’ve got four options to choose from, including an innovative BuilderPro card that offers construction professionals cash back at hardware stores.
Finding a Fuelman location is easy, given the company’s extensive affiliate network. However, there are notable coverage gaps in southern Minnesota, central Massachusetts, and parts of New Mexico and Montana. You can find filling stations and amenities via the Fuelman Site Locator, or using their free Android/iOS app.
Check out our full Fuelman review.
ExxonMobil gives you a choice of two cards. Both unlock generous savings of 10 cents per gallon at ExxonMobil stations for the first six months. Even after this period, you still get healthy savings of 6 cents per gallon at the pump.
|Exxon Fleet Cards|
ExxonMobil Business Fleet Card
ExxonMobil’s Business Fleet card has no fees, so you won’t get any nasty surprises on your monthly balance sheet. One of our favorite features has to be the simple online account management. Setting up purchase restrictions and tracking vehicle performance has never been so easy.
ExxonMobil Fleet National Card
ExxonMobil’s other offering, the Fleet National card, is issued by WEX Bank and is accepted at 90% of fueling locations in the continental United States. This card gives hands-on fleet managers even more extensive reporting and purchase management features. In particular, the ability to set up real-time spending alerts puts control in your hands and profit in your pocket.
Exxon and Mobil stations tend to be concentrated on the East Coast, with coverage outside that area being limited to interstates, state highways, and major cities. There’s no coverage in Nevada, Iowa and Kansas. You can locate stations near you via the web or a free iOS/Android app, which we’d definitely recommend doing if you're considering the Business Fleet Card. The ExxonMobil card offerings also aren't as easy to scale as those from other fuel card companies.
Check out our full ExxonMobil review.
BP offers three cards that help fleets of all sizes keep fuel costs under control. BP fuel cards best suit companies operating in the East, although their Universal Card offers adequate coverage if you're venturing further afield.
|BP Fleet Cards|
Business Solutions Card
The BP Business Solutions card is a great fee-free solution for small local fleets. Easy online account management and flexible reporting help you understand exactly where your money is being spent.
Business Solutions Plus Card
If you manage a larger regional fleet, you’re guaranteed peace of mind with this card, thanks to enhanced security and reporting features. It’s also fee free, as long as you purchase at least 5,000 gallons of fuel a month.
Business Solutions Universal Fuel Program Card
This MasterCard-issued universal fuel card adds yet more security and even better reporting, along with purchase controls that prevent fraud and abuse. Fleets purchasing at least 5,000 gallons pay no fees.
Finding one of the 7,500 BP stations is easy enough on your desktop or laptop, but users should be aware that as of 2018, BP still doesn't have a locator app for customers in the US. And, while third-party apps do exist, we can’t vouch for their reliability at the time of writing. Also, while BP does operate several stations on both coasts, coverage west of the Mississippi can be unpredictable.
Check out our full BP review.
Shell offers three cards for local, regional, and national fleets. Through the Shell website and free iOS/Android apps, your drivers should have no trouble finding one of the 14,500 Shell stations.
|Shell Fleet Cards|
Shell Small Business Card
A fantastic zero-fee card for small fleets. With it, you get purchase monitoring features, rebates, and full-time online account management. We really like the way Shell itemizes different purchases clearly in your card statements.
Shell Fleet Plus Card
The Shell Fleet Plus Card offers sliding-scale rebates based on your purchase volume. For medium-sized/regional fleets, this is a serious option. For more details, read our guide to the best fuel cards for small business.
Shell Fleet Navigator Card
This MasterCard-issued card offers top notch security, customer service and more in-depth reporting than most others. It’s also accepted at most filling stations nationwide. If you have a geofencing-enabled fleet management system, you can actually pair the two together to set up your own custom fuel network.
Shell has 14,000+ stations covering 47 of the lower 48 states (the sole exception is Montana). There are some coverage gaps in the less-populated parts of the Midwest, Southwest, and the Mountain Time Zone. However, holders of the Fleet Navigator Card are free to roam - the card works at 95% of mainland filling stations.
Check out our full Shell review.
ARCO offers just two cards as part of its Business Solutions Program. ARCO’s signature product, the ARCO Business Solutions Fuel Card, can be used at over 1,500 ARCO fuel stations across the United States.
|ARCO Business Solutions Fuel Card|
ARCO Business Solutions Fuel Card
ARCO’s signature card lets your drivers fill up at any participating ARCO station. Features include: detailed reporting, security controls (using PIN codes), digital statements, tracking (by vehicle, driver or mileage), instant deactivation for lost/stolen cards and ‘fuel only’ restrictions and full-time account access.
If you’re sticking to a budget, you’ll be well-looked after with ARCO. After all, they’ve been providing quality fuel at fair prices for nearly 60 years. Drawbacks include a monthly charge and a per-card issuance fee that other providers waive. But, if you’re a local business with several ARCO stations nearby, this fuel card is worth a look.
Comdata is one of the most recognized and widely accepted fleet cards in the country, giving managers the flexibility, control and insight they need to manage their fuel costs.
|Comdata Fuel Card|
The Comdata Card is the first universally-accepted fuel card in the transport industry. With Comdata you get access to real-time reporting tools and an online portal for account management. Fleet managers can also set smart spending limits that maximize savings and help you stay compliant with fuel policy.
Comdata promises savings of up to $15 per gallon and 24/7 account and driver support. There’s also ComData’s app, called FleetAdvance Mobile, designed with drivers in mind. Drivers can connect via the Comdata Card to find the lowest fuel prices and manage their spending. Ultimately, we found Comdata to be a good, all-around solution for trucking companies.
Why You Need a Fleet Fuel Card
You can benefit from a fleet fuel card if you answer ‘yes’ to any of the following:
- Do you have two or more drivers?
- Do you need to cut down your fuel expenditure?
- Do you wish you had more visibility over your drivers’ spending?
- Do your drivers go out of their way to fill up?
- Do you know for sure what types and grades of fuel your drivers buy?
- Do you have high driver turnover?
- Are you up to your neck in receipts and reports?
Top Issues Faced by Fleet Managers
Running a fleet is tough. We know just how hard it is to control costs in an industry with such high employee turnover and unpredictable fuel prices.
If these concerns affect you, you’re not alone. In fact, most fleet managers cite managing fuel spend as their single biggest challenge, according to Wex research:
Luckily, fuel cards are designed to help solve these problems.
How Fleet Cards Transform American Businesses
Fleet cards have several benefits:
Fleet cards can guarantee business savings of up to 15%. Every leading supplier offers a range of fleet cards designed to help businesses of all sizes.
Fleet cards let you set purchasing controls so you can choose when, where and how much fuel your drivers can purchase while on the road. In-depth reporting lets you centrally manage all of your team’s fuel and maintenance spend.
Stop Unauthorized Purchases
Fleet cards authorize and track your fuel purchases. 24/7 online access to card transaction data means you can easily spot irregularities before they become an issue. You can also require drivers input their ID Number before they buy fuel to cut down on fraudulent fuel charges.
Gas stations accept fuel cards across the country. Whether your drivers operate locally, regionally or nationally, fleet cards allow them to stop wherever and whenever it’s convenient for them.
Fleet cards can also help your company to:
- Track spending by vehicle or driver
- Identify underperforming vehicles
- Improve compliance with spending regulations and implement more effective controls
- Use data to negotiate discounts for large fuel orders
- Streamline your spending data by incorporating it into your current accounting software
Fuel Cards vs. Credit Cards
What’s the Difference?
Fleet cards look and feel like credit cards, but there are some pretty big differences that mean they’re considered an alternative payment method.
The main differences between fleet fuel cards and credit cards are:
- Fuel cards have shorter payment terms
- No rolling-balance is cleared (or partially cleared) each month
- Fuel isn’t paid at the point of sale – the bill is sent to your account to be paid at a later date
- Controls can be set-up to allow only certain grades of fuel to be bought (e.g. petrol, petrol & gas, etc.)
- Fuel spending limits can be applied using Smartchip technology
- Liability for fraudulent purchases lies with the driver
- Card terminals are separate to those for credit cards (bunkered cards only)
- Some fleet card providers let you buy non-fuel products, including lubricants and Adblue
Which Type of Fuel Card is Best?
Some fuel companies issue their own fleet cards. These branded cards work just like the store cards you scan when you buy groceries at a supermarket. You can use them at any location run by your issuing company to buy fuel and benefit from special discounts.
Other fuel companies partner with payment card companies like VISA and MasterCard to offer extra services. For example, BP’s Business Solutions Universal Fuel Program Mastercard carries MasterCard’s branding, meaning you can use it anywhere that accepts MasterCard. These universal fleet cards give your fleet wider coverage than a lot of regional fuel companies.
You might think universal cards are the clear winner, but both options have their perks. For one thing, branded cards avoid the payment processing fees (typically 1-3%) associated with VISA and MasterCard. Instead, fuel companies set their own fees, and many offer generous ‘no fee’ arrangements for new customers.
On top of fee waivers, branded fuel cards often give you better rewards for sticking with the same fuel supplier. So, when you sign up for BP’s branded Business Solutions Fuel Plus Program, you get a 10 cent per gallon rebate on all BP fuel purchases for your first three months. Those savings soon add up:
In short, consider opting for a universal fuel card if:
- You have a large fleet that operates across a wider area than any single fuel company covers,
- You want drivers to be able to make non-fuel related purchases anywhere that accepts VISA or MasterCard, and
- You want the option to earn rewards and the flexibility to shop around for fuel
Likewise, think about going for a branded fuel card if:
- You have a small or mid-sized fleet that operates at a local or interstate level,
- You’re happy to rely on a single company for the bulk of your fueling needs, and
- You plan to utilize their rewards schemes and fuel rebates to save money
All five of our favorite fuel card companies offer brilliant branded and universal options.
How Much Will I Save with a Fuel Card?
You can generally expect savings of up to 15% when you switch to a dedicated fuel card.
To understand just how much you can save with a fleet card see the table below.
|Cost Savings for a Small Fleet|
|Fleet Size||35 vehicles|
|Volume per Fill||16 gallons|
|Re-fuelling Stops||2 per week|
|Fuel Card Saving Per Gallon||2.5 cents|
Note: The figures presented in this table are estimates. For an accurate quote, we recommend you compare bespoke quotes from leading fleet card suppliers.
Next Steps to Find Your New Fleet Card
With most brands offering a range of fuel cards based on the size of the business, type of fuel used and geographical area, finding the right fuel card for your business can be challenging, especially with the multiple options offered. WEX alone accounts for more than a dozen cards with their own and others' branding.
We’re here to help you make sense of your options and find the best fit for your business. If you'd like help finding the right fleet fuel card for your business, fill out our webform to receive tailor-made free fleet card quotes.