SSO gas station with blue sky background

What fuel cards do supermarkets accept?

Like most people in the UK, you’re likely to be spending a significant sum on fuel. This is also coupled with the fact that you’re often at the mercy of the pumps that are available to you in your area, requiring you to spend more than you would otherwise – though, even if the prices were great, the locations still wouldn’t be very convenient.

In the world of business, this can be a real problem. If you consider a haulage company, for instance: the fuel costs of professional drivers will add up quickly. To add to that, the need to take an odd route to reach a fuel pump can cost time and money too. Just a fractional loss in the efficiency of each journey can mount up into huge drains on the overall business.

With that said, you don’t necessarily have to get your fuel from conventional stations, even if you’re getting fuel for business purposes, you can get your fuel from supermarket stations instead. There is the common misconception that supermarket fuel is of a lower-quality somehow, but it’s hard to find compelling evidence to support that. What we do know is that all fuel sold in the UK conforms to basic standards.

So, if you’re fine with (or even encourage) your drivers filling up at supermarket fuel stations, is that the most money you can save? No, it isn’t. You could get a fuel card that allows you to fill up at those stations.

Who should be using a fuel card?

Any business that accrues significant costs due to fuel can benefit from a fuel card. The advantages are great for small and large fleets, but the fuel cards vary widely, so it’s important to think about what you can gain from using one weighed against what you might have to pay.

Fuel cards that can be used in supermarkets in particular are an excellent choice for businesses that travel through urban areas – even more so if they need to regularly purchase business items form supermarkets, as this can save a lot of time through avoiding extra journeys.

How much does using a fuel card cost?

Businesses don’t provide things like fuel discounts for free, so there’s always some kind of value in it for them, but the costs can vary.

  • Pay an annual fee – You could pay a fee each year to remain a member of the fuel card scheme, and it could be fixed for your entire company or depend on how many cards you require for your drivers
  • Pay service fees – Just as you might pay a transaction fee for an online transaction, you could be charged a fee on top of every payment (much less than what you save however)
  • Pay to use other stations – Every fuel card provider has a different array of supported stations. While you can sometimes use a fuel card at unsupported stations, you can be charged for the privilege
  • Pay to update details – Some fuel card companies look for relatively admin-centric ways to make their money; this can involve charging clients to update their details
  • Pay for replacement cards – From time to time, drivers will lose their fuel cards, and you may have to pay for the replacements
  • Simply use the card as intended – You may not need to pay anything at all to use the fuel card, because not all schemes charge you.

Every fuel card provider will have a unique combination of fees and charges, so play close attention when considering a particular scheme to see how well it’s likely to work for you.

man with credit card opening fuel tank of his new car

What makes a supermarket fuel card different?

So, what makes supermarket fuel cards different from regular fuel cards? It’s simple enough: a supermarket fuel card is on that can be used at supermarket fuel stations with no additional charges, and they may even offer extra benefits in the process.

While it’s possible for a supermarket to offer their own original fuel card along with their line up of loyalty cards and debit/credit cards, there’s currently no UK-based supermarket that provides one. When we talk about a supermarket fuel card, then, we’re talking about third-party cards that support supermarket fuel pumps.

Supermarket fuel card reviews

Now we’ve covered what fuel cards do, why you might want to use one, and what a supermarket fuel card involves, we can start looking at the most commonly available fuel cards that can be used at a supermarket fuel station. The selection we’re going to review includes five cards, each with arrangements for various supermarkets – you can see which ones in the table below.

  Tesco Morrisons Sainsbury’s Cooperative
Allstar X X X X
Key Fuels X X    
UK Fuels X X X X
Texaco Fast Fuels X X X X
Shell One/Multifleet   X    

 

Allstar

The Allstar fuel card earns the top position for one reason: it’s currently the only fuel card that can be used at all major UK supermarket fuel stations.

In addition to being accepted at all supermarket stations, this card allows you to use the Discount Diesel network which is accessible through 1,500 other sites, making it a powerhouse utility option if you’re reliant upon diesel. It also allows you to build up loyalty points.

UK Fuels

UK Fuels cards are accepted at around 3,500 sites on the UK Fuels network, making it an ideal choice for LCV diesel fleets. The card is accepted at a selection of BP, Shell, Esso, Texaco and independents on the UK Fuels network, plus all Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Cooperative sites, giving it excellent coverage.

Key Fuels

The Key Fuels card is also very competitive when it comes to filling up at a supermarket fuel station. The card is accepted at over 3,150 sites across the UK including all Morrisons and Tesco sites in addition to a selection of BP, Shell, Esso, Texaco and independent sites. It is also accepted for the M6 toll.

Texaco Fast Fuels

The Texaco Fast Fuels card is ideal for LCV and car fleets. It’s accepted at all Texaco sites, plus the UK fuels network. The card is also accepted at Morrisons, Cooperative, Tesco and Sainsbury’s sites and customers can also collect Tesco Clubcard and Sainsbury’s Nectar points.

Shell One & Multifleet

Both the Shell One and Multifleet cards are accepted at 3,800 sites across the country as well as Morrisons sites. Drivers can also collect Shell Go+ rewards via the Shell app. While both of these cards are aimed at different types of fleets, they both offer the same convenience.

Hand lifting a fuel nozzle at petrol station

Which supermarket fuel card should you choose?

It’s important to make the right decision, not just to save money at the pump, but also for the convenience. The appeal of saving money in the short term might seem appealing, but if you have to travel for those savings, you might not be saving as much as you think.

Take a look at our fuel cards comparison page to find out which card will be best suited to your business needs. Being one of the largest independent fuel card agents, we offer a considerable number of different fuel cards tailored to different needs.

We also have a useful Select Fuel Card tool which, after answering four simple questions can give you up to three fuel cards that will meet your criteria.

Our friendly team are always on hand to talk you through the selection process. Contact us today for more information.

 

 

 

Highway at night with digital data overlays

10 benefits of using telematics for fleet management

Telematics services are now a must have for any fleet. No matter how many vehicles you’re responsible for, these tools ensure your fleet operation is as cost-effective and efficient as possible.

The benefits of deploying telematics software are wide-ranging. Among their primary advantages is that they can greatly reduce expenses such as fuel costs. But they can also improve efficiency, boost driver safety, and much more.

Telematics are therefore a vital asset for any effective fleet manager. Here are ten ways they can help make your life easier and your business more cost-effective.

1.  Reduced fuel costs

Reduced fuel costs are a key benefit of a good telematics solution. These tools can achieve savings in a number of ways. For instance, they can guide drivers to cheaper fuel stations, alert you to fuel fraud or advise employees on how to improve their driving style to be more efficient.

By highlighting harsh acceleration and braking, for instance, they can cut down on fuel consumption. Elsewhere, they can also spot if a driver is idling their engine unnecessarily, which can also help improve overall fuel management.

2.  Improved routing

Telematics can also analyse the routes your vehicles take and suggest more efficient alternatives. This may help reduce the time taken to reach destinations or avoid known areas of congestion that will slow your drivers down and increase fuel consumption.

Being able to rely on real-time data lets drivers make adjustments to their route on the move to avoid incidents or high traffic volumes. This also means less time on the road and more time helping customers.

3.  Better driver behaviour

Van driver making delivery with parcels on seat

Sensors that monitor vehicle inputs – including acceleration, braking and steering – can all give an insight into your employees’ driving standards. GPS tracking also helps spot any incidences of speeding that are putting the driver or other road users in danger.

This information can then be used to create a table of your best and worst-performing drivers. Training or even disciplinary action can then be implemented to improve behaviour.

What’s more, even the presence of telematics can boost driving standards, even if no direct action is taken. This is because individuals tend to be more cautious when they’re aware their actions are being monitored.

4. Real-time information

Real-time data on vehicle location can also be fed directly back to fleet managers, colleagues and even customers. This means you know where your assets and employees are at all times, helping you better plan your fleet activities.

You can also receive alerts if a vehicle goes outside a designated area or is used outside of working hours, for instance, to ensure your fleet is being used appropriately. Alerts can also be sent automatically if a vehicle is involved in a collision or other incident.

5.  Predictive maintenance

Telematics sensors can also keep an eye on your vehicle’s systems in order to spot any potential issues before they arise. This can allow you to schedule in maintenance to correct any problems and avoid issues such as breakdowns.

You can also set up alerts for routine procedures such as servicing to help you plan ahead. This not only prevents costly repairs, but improves productivity as vehicles will not be taken out of action unexpectedly.

6.  Improved customer satisfaction

Real-time tracking and route planning can be used to boost your customer experience. For instance, you can give much more accurate estimated arrival times for appointments, send reminders when an employee is close, or even let users track a driver in real-time.

If a job or delivery is delayed for reasons outside your control, you can also give quick updates and revised estimates. This can reduce the number of complaints you receive and ensure you don’t lose a customer’s business.

7.  Reduced paperwork

Businessman dealing with pile of paperwork with pen and laptop

The use of telematics can also improve employee satisfaction. Because their movements are tracked automatically, they will not need to spend time filling out tedious manual paperwork for areas such as mileage reporting or driving hours.

This also makes life easier for fleet managers. They have easy access to clear, simple reporting and analytics tools, giving them instant insight into their drivers’ activities. As a result, they have to spend less time hunting down information and can devote more efforts to more useful activities.

8.  More accurate expenses

Another benefit of improved reporting is it makes activities like calculating expenses claims quickly, easier and more accurate. Managers won’t have to worry about drivers padding claims for fuel costs or working hours. They can also gain access to accurate reporting on issues such as MPG and CO2 emissions to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities in this area.

9.  Improved security

Tracking software can instantly alert managers if a vehicle is being used when or where it shouldn’t be, which can protect your fleet in the event of theft, as well as any unauthorised usage by employees. The systems can be made tamper proof with tools such as battery backups even if they are disconnected.

Fleet telematics also help crack down on fuel fraud. By looking at location data for fuel card usage and combining this with GPS information from the vehicle, you can ensure any use is legitimate. According to Shell, nearly two-thirds of fleets in the UK see this as a major concern, so this may be an important factor for many firms.

10.   Reduced liability

Telematics can also be used in combination with technology such as cameras to give a complete picture of any incident. This can be especially helpful in determining liability in the event of any accident. For instance, as well as clear, high-definition video of what happened, it can show the exact speed of the vehicle, when brakes were applied and more.

This can greatly lower any insurance claims and costs. In one case, telematics were found to have reduced accident rates almost nine-fold, and cut expenses by 84 per cent. Insurance providers also also offer lower premiums for fleets with telematics on board.

If you’d like to know more about telematics and what they can do for your business, get in touch with our team of experts today.

A large HGV travels across country to deliver or collect goods for the next business location

HGV daily walkaround checks

Drivers, vehicle operators and transport and fleet managers have a collective responsibility to ensure that the vehicles they are operating are safe to drive and that they’re roadworthy. While this is true of all types of vehicles, there are specific checks that must be carried out for lorries and other HGV’s daily, before the start of each journey.

What is an HGV daily check?

HGV daily checks, also referred to as walkaround checks, must be carried out before each journey to fulfil the obligation of ensuring a vehicle to safe to drive. The walkaround checks the drivers must do, need to cover the whole vehicle, including the trailer that the vehicle is towing and carefully assesses the interior and exterior items that can be safely assessed by the driver.

The checks that the drivers must carry out include: tyre condition, brake systems and components, steering, lamps, direction indicators and hazard warning lamps.

The latest walkaround guide issued by the DVSA also highlights an issue that has seen increased publicity in recent years – that of bridge strikes. The guidance now makes it clearer that drivers should be checking their vehicle height as part of the checks.

According to Network Rail, there are five bridge strikes every day that can cause death or serious injury to road and rail users. The DVSA has said that “not only are bridge strikes dangerous, but they cost the UK taxpayer around £23m a year to repair, as well as landing the owner of the vehicle substantial costs”.

The DVSA has updated their guidance video, highlighting some of the main checks that need to be completed.

Drivers are legally responsible for the condition of the heavy vehicle they are driving, so they must carry out these walkaround checks before each journey. The results of the checks must be recorded and any safety defects need to be reported and fixed before the vehicle is driven.

How long should HGV daily checks take?

The HGV daily checks are relatively simple, but it is important to do a comprehensive, thorough check of the vehicle.

With this in mind, the exact time it can take will vary. The emphasis should be placed on carrying out the checks thoroughly and carefully, rather than the length of time it takes to check your vehicle.

There are some sources that say the checks should take at least 15 minutes to complete, but it may take longer than this. The important thing to carry out each of the necessary checks before starting your journey, regardless of how long it takes.

A truck driver holding clipboard checking safety a large fuel tank of semi truck.

The latest DVSA guidance about walkaround checks

Carrying out HGV daily checks

To maintain roadworthiness, the DVSA has advised that the daily HGV walkaround checks must be completed

  • Before the vehicle is driven on the road each day
  • If more than one driver uses the vehicle in a day, then the driver taking charge of the vehicle should carry out their own additional checks to ensure the vehicle is safe for them to drive

The driver must also monitor the condition of their vehicle and report any defects that make themselves apparent.

Keeping a record of HGV daily checks

The driver must record all of the defects found during the daily checks and any that become apparent during a journey. It’s recommended that an agreed form or system is used to record the checks.

Forms should be used to record that all the relevant checks have been carried out each day. If no defects were discovered, the DVSA guidance states that a ‘nil’ reporting method is used, therefore confirming that checks were made, but no defects were found.

If defects are discovered during the checks, the records should include:

  • The vehicle registration
  • The date
  • Details of the defects or symptoms
  • Your assessment of the defects (e.g. ‘dangerous’)
  • Your name
  • Who the defect was reported to
  • Rectification work
  • Date rectification work was completed

Records should be reported to responsible person who has the ability to request the remedial action and records should be kept and be available for viewing for 15 months.

If any defects are discovered that may impact the vehicles safety, the vehicle must not be used until its repaired.

Responsibility for HGV daily checks

The condition and safety of the HGV is ultimately the legal responsibility of the driver. However, transport managers and vehicle operators must ensure that their processes include daily HGV checks. They must also ensure that drivers are made aware of their legal responsibilities with regards to vehicle condition and the procedures of reporting defects.

The DVSA recommends that responsibilities are detailed in writing and that drivers should be properly trained and drivers should sign to confirm that they’ve received a written copy of their responsibilities and understand what is required of them.

The consequences of not carrying out HGV daily checks

The DVSA can stop you and ask you to complete the daily checks on your vehicle, or request a copy of the records which show you have completed the necessary daily checks.

If any defects are found on a vehicle during one of these checks, drivers can be prevented from driving until the defect is fixed, or a fine can issued to the driver.

Driver writing electronic log

Carrying out daily checks to ensure that vehicles are of the highest safety standard is the duty of every driver and manager. It’s now much easier with the MyDriveSafe.Expert app, free to download and use, plus a manager’s portal and full reporting and compliance with all major standards for just £1 per driver per week.

The MyDriveSafe app reduces admin time, records the time taken to perform checks, creates incident/accident reports and produces a clear audit trail, helping you to spot problems earlier, avoid increasing costs and keep your fleet on the road.

Smart cars with automatic sensors driving on highway with wireless connection

The future of transportation – what will it look like?

As we leave 2020 behind, it’s a great time to look at the future. And in particular, how we’re going to get about in the years to come. There have been promises of self driven cars and new fuel types for years, but these hopes have always outweighed the reality. Until now, that is.

With technology finally catching up with ambition, the transportation industry is set for big changes in the coming years. So what can we expect to look forward to in the near future?

The rise of self-driven cars

Self-driven cars have been much-talked about for years, and some semi-autonomous assistants are already familiar. Tesla’s Autopilot feature, for example, can take away much of the monotony of motorway driving by following the road, accelerating and braking and changing lanes automatically.

Interior of Tesla Model 3 with driver connecting via smartphone

But despite what some people seem to think, these tools aren’t truly self-driving and still need a human hand on the wheel. In fact, there’s still a long way to go to be truly autonomous.

There are five levels of automation that self-driving cars can fall into, and even the most advanced vehicles on sale today only reach level 2. The levels are:

  • Level 0 – No automation. A traditional vehicle where everything is driver-controlled.
  • Level 1 – Driver assistance. This includes tools like adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking, but still requires drivers to do most of the work. Many cars now offer some form of assistance that fall onto this category.
  • Level 2 – Partial automation. Smart systems can take control of accelerating, braking and steering. It’s sometimes called ‘hands-off’ automation, but you still need to be ready to retake control at a moment’s notice. Tesla Autopilot sits in this category.
  • Level 3 – Conditional automation. This is similar to level 2, but the vehicles have more capabilities that should in theory allow the driver to take their eyes off the road. This level of automation isn’t yet legal on UK roads and only a very small number of cars have it.
  • Level 4 – High automation. At this level, the car should be able to take on all the work, including in complex and emergency situations. While the driver can retake manual control if they wish, they should be able to complete entire journeys without intervening.
  • Level 5 – Full automation. No human attention is required at all, and even sterling wheels and pedals become optional. These cars are still very much in the testing stage, but do include self-driving taxis and even autonomous trucks that should be able to follow routes without the need for a driver.

Fully autonomous vehicles in levels 4 and 5 may yet be a while away, but as artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies evolve, they’re much closer than they were even a couple of years ago.

The move to electric

It’s not just how you drive that’s set for a revolution. It’s also how you fuel your vehicle. Electric cars and charging stations are by now a familiar sight on UK roads, but in the coming years they’re set to become even more common.

In the long-term, drivers and fleet managers will have no choice but to adopt electric vehicles (EVs). Last year, the government announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030 – though some hybrids will still be allowed.

Often, the real barrier to electric cars isn’t the vehicles themselves, but the infrastructure. EVs work well if you’re simply making a short commute and return home to charge every night. However. it’s longer trips that may be more of an issue as currently, you might have difficulty finding a fast charging station.

Electric car charging at a kerbside charging point

If fully electric cars are to become the backbone of the UK’s transportation system, the country will need to increase the number of stations. Until then, if you’re running EV fleets, you’ll need to make sure you know where available charging points are to keep your vehicles on the road.

Real-time data

One area that’s already seen big changes recently is the use of real-time data to monitor vehicles. For fleet managers, the information this offers will be invaluable.

This provides much more than GPS devices and real-time tracking to keep an eye on your vehicles at all times. They can also offer you recommendations to make your cars more fuel efficient. This could be better routing or alerting you to poor driver behaviour such as harsh accelerating and braking.

Other forms of transport?

Technologies like self-driving cars and EVs will be of most interest to fleet managers, but they’re just part of the future of transportation. Sustainable transport is set to be a huge priority for many firms in the coming years, as it’s a key part of promoting corporate and social responsibility.

This may start simple, such as encouraging ride sharing, but mass transit may also be set for a huge overhaul in the coming years.

For instance, high-speed rail is likely to be a top priority. While projects such as the HS2 line may be the focus, who knows what the future may bring. Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, for example, could be the future of high-speed travel. Or perhaps it will be something like maglev trains or gyroscopic vehicles that change the way we think about travel.

Until then, most of us will still be sticking to the roads. Therefore, you need the right tools to make sure your drivers are as safe and efficient as possible in a changing environment. Get in touch today to find out what services we can offer to help.

 

Fleet of parked HGVs with trailers

The benefits of HGV fuel cards

Anyone who manages a fleet will know how quickly fuel costs can add up. But this is a particularly important concern for operators of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). These vehicles tend to spend longer on the road and travel greater distances than cars and vans. This means more fuel consumption and higher bills.

Therefore, it’s vital your use of fuel is as efficient as possible. And this is where having a dedicated HGV fuel card can come in. These services not only save your business money by providing a discount every time you fill up, but also save time as well.

While there are a range of fuel cards available, you need one that’s specifically tailored to the needs of HGV operators. So what should you know about these services, and how can you find the best HGV fuel card?

The unique needs of HGV operators

HGVs have very different needs to other fleet vehicles. As they are obviously much larger than cars and vans, this needs to be factored into activities such as route planning and refuelling. There may be more restrictions on where you can and can’t go, for example, which means careful preparation is a must.

You need HGV-friendly facilities that can provide easy 24/7 access. For instance, you may need to ensure you’re using fuel stations with high canopies, high-speed pumps and wider turning circles designed specifically for these vehicles.

HGV drivers will typically have to stick to set routes and often have tight deadlines to maintain. Therefore, every mile they have to divert from this to find fuel is wasted time and profits.

Why choose an HGV fuel card

Man filling up an HGV with diesel

Having an HGV fuel card means many of these issues are taken care of. These services ensure you always have access to fuel at suitable locations at competitive pricing. What’s more, you won’t have to worry about things like fluctuating fuel prices, as many cards offer fixed prices, or can quickly alert you to any changes.

However, these are far from the only benefits of an HGV fuel card. Other advantages may include:

  • Bigger savings at HGV-friendly sites
  • Fuel management reporting tools
  • Improved security – no unauthorised payments
  • Instant email notifications on price changes
  • Easy online account management
  • Rewards for other discounts
  • Simple, interest-free payment terms
  • Quick, HMRC-approved invoices

The exact benefits on offer will differ from card to card. Therefore, it pays to do your research and take expert advice to find one that’s right for you.

Finding the best HGV fuel card

All the UK’s major fuel brands offer fuel cards designed for HGV use. Many of these are mixed cards that can also be used to fill up other vehicles with petrol and diesel, while others are restricted only to HGVs. Among the most popular HGV-friendly fuel cards are:

  • BP Bunker Fuel Card
  • Shell CRT Fuel Card
  • Texaco Fastfuel Card
  • Keyfuels Fuel Card

Finding the best HGV fuel card can be challenging. You may not need all the benefits a certain card provides, for instance, while the routes you travel may mean one particular brand’s stations are more conveniently-located than others.

For many firms, coverage will be a key concern. However, it’s important to look beyond the headline figures. For instance, a particular card may boast availability at thousands of sites, but you need to know how many of these will be suitable for HGVs.

If you’re doing a lot of motorway driving, for instance, BP’s Bunker card has the UK’s most extensive network. It offers access to 77 motorway sites, compared with 53 for Shell CRT. However, the Shell card can be used on the M6 toll and lets your drivers collect Go+ rewards that can be used on food and hot drinks as well as fuel.

Selecting an HGV fuel card provider

Customer service agent with headset at computer

It’s not just the fuel card itself you should think about. You also need to ensure you’re selecting the right fuel card provider. You need a service that understands the unique needs of your business and can help you find the best HGV fuel card.

A good provider offers more than just access to cheaper fuel. You’ll also benefit from a dedicated account management team who will be available to answer any queries or issues you have.

Providers with proven customer service and a deep understanding of your business ensure that however large your HGV fleet is, you can find the right solution to cut your fuel costs.

To find out how Fuel Card Services can help you, get in touch with our team today, and see which HGV fuel cards would be best for your business.