Gas prices are often a hot button topic, particularly in areas that are car dependent, but the price of filling up the average SUV is nothing compared to that of a fleet. Fuel averages about thirty percent of a fleet’s monthly expenses, which can equal a sum in the millions for larger groups of trucks. This large sum means that owners and managers are often brainstorming on how to cut costs and reduce spending in this area. It also means that any fuel-related theft can be a severe strain on a company’s budget and should be avoided and prevented at all costs.
While it might seem like the greatest fuel theft threat lies outside the company with thieves installing card skimmers at gas pumps or siphoning, drilling or cutting fuel lines, the unfortunate reality is that most of the fuel stolen is done by employees. Whether through purposeful or accidental misuse, this issue is often why management will debate whether or not a fuel card’s cost is a worthy investment. While using a fuel card might seem like you are giving all of your drivers free gas on your dime, this is not the case. A thoughtfully put-together charge system will actually have measures built in to reduce or even eliminate employee fuel theft. One way a fuel card system can assist in such matter is to first ensure that only fuel is allowed to be charged on the card. This will prevent employees from charging other items from gas stations, such as snacks.
Your company should also be able to monitor usage in real time, allowing you to see transactions immediately after they are made. Also, a good feature to look for is that the card company notifies the fleet owner electronically if the card is used for more than a certain amount. Also, a fuel card should allow you to set specific limits on spending. These restrictions can vary, shutting off the card for such specific prompts as:
It is also important that the fuel card company ensures that your business will have consistent online access to accurate readings from the card, such as verifying odometer readings. This will allow you to point out discrepancies easily on your own, but a studious company will actually alert you when such inconsistencies arise. But the most important feature that you should look for in a fuel card is the ability to instantly cancel a card in case of an emergency situation, such as misuse or theft. The longer an active card is being abused, the more money the company can lose. Overall, while a fuel card might seem like an easy way for employees to steal from the company, such a system can actually be a great way to monitor and control fuel expenses, all while increasing the security of your budget and ensuring that your fleet stays on track.