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Fleet And Fuel Cards

How Linking Fleet Telematics To Smart Fuel Cards Improves Fuel Efficiency

Fleet telematics offer you plenty of data to improve fuel efficiency. By linking a smart fuel card to telematics, you can automate controls and give your team more time back. Here’s how.

Checking fleet data in real time

Long idling times, poor driving, delayed vehicle maintenance—as a fleet manager, keeping track of the variables that derail fuel efficiency and fleet uptime might seem impossible.

Modern telematics technology gives you plenty of data to track fleet efficiency, but making sense of it takes time. And efforts to act on the data can sometimes create more rote supervisory work, reducing the time you can spend on high-impact tasks.

That’s where linking a smart fuel card to your telematics and fleet management platform helps. 

Unlike legacy fuel cards, you can automate fleet fuel management and achieve greater efficiency without creating additional work or inconveniencing your drivers.

Here’s how smart fuel cards linked to telematics prevent dollars from flying out of your exhaust.

Smart Fuel Cards And Telematics Reduce Gas Slippage

Gas slippage—drivers concealing unauthorized purchases as fuel—is one of the biggest sources of inefficiencies in fleet spend management. Telematics data contains valuable information, but translating it into efficiency is challenging due to manual processes.

You need to match telematics data to paper fuel receipts when verifying expense claims, but drivers often lose paper receipts or inadvertently damage them, further complicating the process.

Linking telematics to a smart fuel card helps you automate gas slippage management. For instance, instead of verifying receipts manually, you can:

  • Identify the lowest-priced gas stations along a route.
  • Link telematics settings to your smart fuel card.
  • Set fuel spending limits by driver,card, or vehicle.
  • Set up authorization request workflows for spending above those limits.
  • Review electronic memos and receipts, removing any need to store paper.

You can also install checks that ensure your drivers follow fuel policies. For instance, you can require drivers to enter odometer readings and check in by SMS before filling up. Compare these driver inputs to odometer data from your telematics platform to prevent any chance of slippage.

An image showing Coast’s SMS check in workflow that validates card users. This restricts card usage to only authorized users.

Coast’s SMS check in workflow ensures only authorized employees use your cards

Smart fuel cards go beyond merely limiting spending.

They alert you of potentially risky purchases, helping you stop them before they impact revenue. For instance, smart fuel cards alert you when drivers purchase fuel that exceeds vehicle tank capacity limits.

These controls eliminate any chance of drivers using your card in unauthorized areas or disguising fuel theft as food purchases (as is the case when using corporate cards), or filling personal vehicles (which happens when using regular fuel cards). Backed by telematics data, you can verify purchases and ensure your fleet operates within bounds.

Since smart fuel cards automatically categorize purchases other than fuel, you do not have to equip your drivers with a separate credit card for non-fuel purchases.

For instance, Tristate Plumbing couldn’t separate fuel from other service charges, leaving the team in the dark about potential gas slippage and poor efficiency. Their drivers had to carry multiple cards for expenses, complicating accounting and spending reconciliation.

Coast’s smart fuel card gives the company a real-time view of expenses across all spending categories, helping its accounting team identify inefficiencies and quickly offer drivers feedback.

Smart Fuel Cards And Telematics Quantify Fleet Inefficiency

Analyzing historical fleet performance data is one of the best ways of improving efficiency. Telematics data gives you plenty of information to mine, such as seasonal trends, route trends, vehicle performance data, and driver performance trends.

While analyzing this data will help you discover inefficiencies, how can you quantify what these inefficiencies cost?

This is where a smart fuel card integration helps.

You can track a driver’s performance over time and calculate their mileage (miles per gallon, MPG). You can correlate their MPG trends to changes in driving behavior.

For instance, a driver with decreasing fuel efficiency might be idling more often or performing more unauthorized fuel stops.

Quantifying the financial impact of these behaviors is important since your team members will likely respond to  a dollar value more than a performance graph. It also lets drivers know you’re serious about minimizing financial expenses and are using every resource available to monitor efficiency.

Aside from incentivizing ideal driving behavior, linking telematics to smart fleet gas cards also helps you design effective training programs. Communicate your stance toward efficiency from the moment a driver joins your fleet, and you’ll face fewer problems down the road.

Smart fuel cards also simplify back office tasks like auditing and transaction reconciliation. Berkshire Bay Contractors faced issues with reconciliations before switching to using smart fuel cards. Thanks to Coast’s integration with accounting systems, transaction data appears in the right categories, simplifying job costing.

More importantly, Coast’s open loop fuel cards don’t restrict Berkshire Bay to gas stations within a network. Drivers can now conveniently fill up anywhere Visa cards are accepted.

Smart Fuel Cards And Telematics Increase Transaction Security

Telematics systems give you plenty of data—such as drivers exceeding fuel tank capacity limits—that alerts you to potential theft. However, these systems alert you after the fact.

Also, given the volume of data your fleet generates, the number of false positives might be high. With limited time to investigate each occurrence, keeping pace with every incident is challenging.

For instance, quickly identifying which transaction was legitimate and which was conducted by a card skimmer is almost impossible without automated controls.

Linking a smart fuel card to your telematics data helps you automate security and reduces false positives, helping you adopt a proactive stance toward theft.

You’ll be able to:

  • Define geofences (geographical limits) within your telematics platform, preventing fleet operations beyond those limits.
  • Link telematics settings to your smart fuel card, ensuring its use within defined limits.
  • Set category spending limits for fuel, food, and other purchases.
  • Require your drivers to check in via SMS before purchases, preventing unauthorized card use.

These steps ensure a skimmer cannot use your driver’s card even if they steal information. 

Depending on how much control you want, you can enable this function for each use or at regular intervals.

Features like these have helped JED Transportation eliminate fuel fraud costing the company thousands of dollars every month. Previously, the company couldn’t recover these amounts due to time and volume constraints.

Real-time controls through Coast’s smart fuel cards have eliminated theft and increased JED Transportation’s confidence in preventing further occurrences.

Smart Fuel Cards And Telematics Build Trust In Your Fleet Data

Monitoring your fleet efficiently is much more than preventing fuel theft. With data analytics powering more fleet operations than ever, integrations with telematics and fleet management platforms  are critical to helping you create operational efficiencies.

The issue is that most fuel card data is siloed away from these platforms, forcing you to manually transfer it. This process increases the likelihood of errors and creates a time sink.

After all, human mistakes like miskeying data or errors caused by fatigue are common.

Smart fuel cards linked to telematics integrate with your preferred fleet management platform, giving you a full view of your fleet’s performance. This integration also ensures you can trust your data and refer to a single source of truth when evaluating fleet performance.

An image showing Coast’s dashboard centralizing fleet spending data such as top spend by employee, top spend by vehicle, and employee and vehicle spending trends.

Coast’s dashboard centralizes fleet spending data, giving you a single source of truth.

It also reduces employee burden due to eliminating clerical and rote tasks.

For instance, smart fuel cards prevent data entry errors such as incorrect odometer readings. They attribute fuel usage accurately thanks to backing from telematics.

As a result, your data is accurate and ready for analysis, helping you grow your fleet efficiently. Leros Transportation Group links data from its fuel card to vehicle maintenance data in Fleetio to save money on maintenance, creating a reliable source of truth for the company.

Get Control Of Your Fleet’s Fuel Spending

Telematics has changed the way companies manage their fleets. However, the mountain of data telematics platforms offer can become a burden if you don’t have automated processes to get the right insights.

Linking telematics to a smart fuel card like Coast automates fuel management, helping you unlock more efficiency. With integrations to fleet management, accounting, and telematics platforms, Coast streamlines your fleet’s activities and gives you more time to focus on critical issues needing your team’s attention.

Check out how Coast’s integrations help you control your fleet’s fuel spending and unlock greater efficiency.