Can You Use a Fuel Card To Charge Electric Vehicles, and How Do They Work?

An electric van plugged in to a charging station.

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is gaining momentum, with businesses around the world increasingly adding EVs to their fleets. But if you’re considering switching from gasoline-powered vehicles, you might be wondering if you can use your existing fleet fuel card to charge the electric portion of your fleet, or if you have to start all over with a new fuel card.

In this article, we’ll explore traditional gas cards that allow EV charging versus those fully designed for electric fleets, so you can make the best choice for your business.

Short on Time? Here Are the Key Takeaways

  • Most traditional fuel cards can’t be used to charge EVs at charging stations.
  • Electric fuel cards are becoming more common, offering benefits similar to their traditional counterparts, such as discounts and fleet insights.
  • The best EV-compatible fuel card for you will depend on factors such as desired network coverage, charging speeds, and payment methods.
  • Similarly to traditional fuel cards, EV cards seek to offer fleet management functions like route information, route insights, driver behavior analysis, spending limit options, and more.

Can You Use a Fuel Card To Charge Electric Vehicles?

Traditional credit and prepaid fuel cards are designed for gasoline and diesel purchases, and typically can’t be used directly at EV charging stations. These cards are generally linked to specific fuel pump networks and either lack the option to authorize EV charging fees or don’t offer benefits like cashback or rewards points on these expenses.

However, the good news is that the EV landscape is rapidly evolving. Electric fuel cards are becoming more common, and these cards are specifically designed to streamline charging for EVs, all while offering savings at the plug.

How Do EV Fuel Cards Work?

Electric fuel cards operate similarly to traditional fuel cards or regular credit cards—you simply use them to pay for charge-ups at EV charging stations. Here’s a step-by-step process of how they work:

  1. Enroll in an electric fuel card program: Consider your EV fuel card options and choose a provider that offers a network and benefits compatible with your fleet’s charging needs and financial goals. Once you’ve made your choice, visit the EV fuel card provider’s website and sign up for the card online.
  2. Distribute cards to drivers: Once you’ve chosen the best EV fuel card for your business needs, order cards and distribute them to your drivers or designate specific vehicles for card use.
  3. Use the cards at charging stations: Your drivers can start using the cards at in-network charging stations along their routes. Be sure to provide your drivers with a list of EV charging stations compatible with your chosen EV fuel card.
  4. Track expenses and verify charges: As the cards are put to use, your EV fuel card portal will reflect the charges being made. You can use this information to track card usage, set spending limits, choose who can authorize transactions and when, and more.

How to utilize EV fuel card benefits

Different EV fuel card providers offer different benefits, rewards, features, and insights, but all EV fuel cards are designed to help you lower your cost at the plug and improve your fleet’s efficiency. Benefits of EV fuel cards can include:

  • Discounted charging rates: Many electric fuel card providers offer lower charging rates at in-network charging stations, potentially saving you money on electricity costs. Some also offer reward points, rebates, or other incentives.
  • Centralized billing and tracking: Like with traditional credit and fuel cards, electric fuel cards centralize your billing and tracking in one easy-to-access website, so you can better understand your EV charging costs.
  • Fleet data and insights: Several electric fuel cards offer valuable data on charging habits, locations, and frequency, allowing you to calculate average kilowatt hours (kWh) per mile. This can help you optimize charging strategies and potentially reduce overall costs.

Which Fuel Cards Allow Electric Vehicles?

The number of electric fuel card providers is steadily growing, but they’re still not as common as traditional fuel cards. There are two main types of EV fuel cards to consider: traditional fleet fuel cards with EV support and dedicated EV fuel cards.

Traditional fleet fuel cards with EV support

Some traditional fuel card providers are expanding their offerings to include EV charging. This allows you to receive benefits like cashback, reward points, or rebates when using the card. This option is best for fleets with a mix of gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles and offers discounts and benefits for different fuel types.

Traditional fuel card providers offering EV charging support include:

  • Shell Fleet Cards: Shell now accommodates EV charging on a number of its traditional fleet fuel cards, offering customers a complete traditional fuel, EV charging, and fleet management solution under one roof. Shell can also help businesses source turnkey EV charging solutions and integrate them with their existing Shell Fleet Card program.
  • WEX Fleet Cards: WEX provides various fleet cards that can be used for both traditional fuel purchases and EV charging at participating stations. It offers features like real-time transaction tracking and spending controls, making it easy to manage your fleet’s energy costs.
  • The US Bank Voyager Fleet Card with EV Network Integration: This program by US Bank leverages its partnership with ChargePoint, a leading EV charging network. Existing Voyager Fleet Card users can use their fuel cards at a vast network of stations.
  • The Comdata EV-Enabled Mastercard: Comdata now offers a business Mastercard specifically designed for businesses using partly or fully electric fleets of vehicles. This card provides access to a broad network of traditional fuel stations as well as charging stations for EVs.

Dedicated electric vehicle fuel cards

Several companies specialize in electric fuel cards, offering programs designed specifically for EV fleets. These card providers offer discounts and bonuses centered around electricity expenses, with the goal of lowering your cost at the plug.

This option is best for fleets exclusively using EVs, as these card offerings are optimized for EV charging and fleet management.

Fuel cards dedicated to EV charging include:

  • The Shell Recharge Card: This card offers access to more than 30,000 public EV charging points, including hundreds of high-speed Shell Recharge vehicle charging points. The card comes with the Shell Recharge App, which helps locate charging points, estimate costs, and plan routes.
  • The FutureCard Visa Debit Card: Earn 5% cashback at all public US charging stations, like Chargepoint, EVgo, Blink Charging, and more. Additionally, FutureCard gives you access to both fast and rapid charging points.
  • The US Bank Altitude Connect Visa: Use the Altitude Connect Visa to earn 4% cashback at all public charging stations in the US, including fast, rapid, and ultra-rapid chargers. With this card, businesses can also purchase gasoline or diesel at any US gas station.
  • Ampr Fuel and Charging Card: Ampr offers fleet credit cards designed to meet all fuel and charging needs locally and across borders. Its cards work with Circle K, Star Stations, Preem, Tanka, Tesla Chargers, Recharge Chargers, InCharge, E-on, and more.
Verdict

Managing a fleet of EVs brings new considerations when it comes to charging expenses and fuel costs. While most traditional fuel cards generally can’t be used to charge EVs, some are beginning to allow this functionality, and the emergence of exclusive electric fuel card offerings is facilitating EV fleets to lower costs at the plug.

Electric fuel cards like WEX Fleet Cards and Voyager Fleet Cards are paving the way by offering benefits to suit gasoline, diesel, and electric vehicles. These kind of fuel cards allow fleets to save money on all fuel types.

FAQs

How can I find electric vehicle charging stations that accept my EV fuel card?
Many EV manufacturers and charging station networks offer mobile apps that allow you to locate stations near you. If the charger is in your card’s network, you can use your EV fuel card there. Additionally, your EV fuel card provider likely offers a list of in-network chargers along with their locations, so you can ensure you’re always using an in-network charging station.
Can I use an electric vehicle fuel card to pay for home charging?
Generally, EV fuel cards are designed to be used at public charging station networks. However, some providers may offer partnerships or integrations with specific home charging station manufacturers, allowing drivers to charge their vehicles at home. It’s important to check with your chosen EV fuel card provider regarding home charging compatibility.
Do electric vehicle fuel cards offer any rewards programs?
Much like traditional credit cards and fuel cards, EV fuel card providers generally offer some type of rewards program to incentivize businesses and drivers to use their cards. These programs can include discounted costs at charging stations, reward points through an online portal, or rebates after spending certain amounts. Each EV fuel card provider is different, so it’s important to choose the option that best aligns with your goals.
Written by:
David is a Certified Public Accountant and prolific finance writer, specialising in taxes, business accounting, and corporate finance. He holds a BSc in Accounting and has worked as a CPA, tax accountant, and senior financial accountant for several years. David has written and edited thousands of articles for millions of monthly readers, and has contributed to the likes of Investopedia, The Balance, OnPay, and now Expert Market.