Fleetowner 3565 Pge Lng Trucks 2

Adapting fuel cards to the alternative-fuel world

Sept. 17, 2013

As natural gas and other alternative fuels begin to get a more in-depth look from the trucking industry, fuel card programs are being adapted to handle them as well, according to interviews with both fleet operators and fuel card providers.

“We are currently used by fleets to purchase many types of alternative fuels such as LNG [liquefied natural gas], CNG [compressed natural gas], propane, even for DEF [diesel exhaust fluid],” Randy Morgan, executive vp-- fleet for Comdata, told Fleet Owner.

“Our philosophy is that it doesn’t matter where the fleet purchases fuel – retail, mobile re-fuelers, or at their own terminals – or what type of fuel they purchase, be it gasoline, diesel, CNG, LNG, or propane,” he added. “We have a comprehensive solution allowing them to account for all fuel spend with one system and one card.”

“Many of the latest generation dispensing systems for alternative fuels such as natural gas are configured to accept most standard fuel cards,” noted Scott Perry, vp of purchasing/supplier management for Ryder System.

“We will likely see a conversion to the best available transaction management technology in those products, as those stations are being newly built where the costs of converting to new dispensers is much lower than retrofitting dispensers and systems that are already in place,” he pointed out.

Drew Cullen, vp--- fuels & telecommunications for Penske Truck Leasing, emphasizes that the technology exists today to allow for the management of natural gas and other alternative fuels via fuel cards and that as the adoption rate and fueling infrastructure increases, fleets will be able to use many of the fuel management strategies they implemented for petroleum-based fuels.

“Alternative fuels will undoubtedly be part of any change to the way fuel is purchased on the fleet level,” echoed Mark Wallin, VP-product management for Telogis. “Whether companies decide on a gasoline or alternative fuel strategy will ultimately be irrelevant, as fuel management programs have to be flexible and scalable enough to handle whatever companies decide is right for them.

He believes that in the near-future the use of what he calls “open location intelligence platforms” that provide a “true 360-degree visibility” into fuel use will be bets – if not only—pathway for fleets to follow.

“Our goal is to give customers the ability to integrate dynamic routing, advanced diagnostics and telematics, mobile solutions and applications, commercial navigation and real-time work order management all in one place – one dashboard – so that companies can get a better grip on what type and where fuel is being used, and really begin to manage their fuel spend,” he explained. 

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

Sponsored Recommendations

Reducing CSA Violations & Increasing Safety With Advanced Trailer Telematics

Keep the roads safer with advanced trailer telematics. In this whitepaper, see how you can gain insights that lead to increased safety and reduced roadside incidents—keeping drivers...

80% Fewer Towable Accidents - 10 Key Strategies

After installing grille guards on all of their Class 8 trucks, a major Midwest fleet reported they had reduced their number of towable accidents by 80% post installation – including...

Proactive Fleet Safety: A Guide to Improved Efficiency and Profitability

Each year, carriers lose around 32.6 billion vehicle hours as a result of weather-related congestion. Discover how to shift from reactive to proactive, improve efficiency, and...

Tackling the Tech Shortage: Lessons in Recruiting Talent and Reducing Turnover

Discover innovative strategies for recruiting and retaining tech talent in the trucking industry at our April 16th webinar, where experts will share insights on competitive pay...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!