Card-lock fueling. Perhaps you’ve heard of it but aren’t exactly sure what it is and how it works. However, if you manage a large fleet of vehicles, it’s a system you’ll definitely want to know more about. It could save you a lot of time, money, and hassle.

What is a card-lock fueling system?

Card-lock fueling is a fleet fueling management system. It uses something called a “fleet card” to control and track fuel purchases. You can’t use these cards at just any gas station but, rather, at designated card-lock fueling locations.

How are card-lock stations different from other fueling stations? Well, first of all, card-lock fueling stations are unmanned. There may be personnel nearby to help with problems, but these stations aren’t open to the general public so they don’t usually offer extras such as convenience stores where you can buy some chips and a soft drink.

Furthermore, they are built specifically with 18-wheel access in mind, though you won’t usually find things like access to showers for overnight truckers or places to park a rig for several hours or for the night. These are designed for fueling only and work best for companies that have local or regional routes where fueling is necessary, but all the other bells and whistles are not.

So, what is a fuel card and how does it work?

A fuel card is exactly what the name implies. The card can be used to purchase gas or diesel, depending on the needs of the user. Some card-lock fueling stations also offer DEF (diesel exhaust fluid) for customers’ convenience.

Cards can be set to purchase one thing only. For example, if a driver is trying to purchase gas with his card but his card is set for diesel only, his transaction won’t work. The card-lock system catches bad transactions before they occur. This does not happen with regular retail fuel cards, potentially resulting in fraudulent fueling charges by unscrupulous employees and plenty of hassle for the fleet manager.

In addition, card-lock fuel system cards measure quantity not monetary amount. In other words, if you give your drivers a retail card, you can set dollar transaction limits but not limits on litres or gallons. Conversely, card-lock cards have quantity limits that are pre-set. This eliminates lots of extra work because you don’t have to keep resetting the dollar amount when prices change.

In addition, pricing at card-lock stations tends to be more consistent. Card-lock fuel prices are generally based on oil price charts or pricing information services so two stations within a certain region will be roughly the same. Conversely, a regular gas station on one corner could be way different in price than one just down the street.

Where do I find card-lock stations?

Card-lock fueling stations are already abundantly located across most of Canada. For example, Petro-Pass has nearly 300 stations throughout the country, making it the largest such system in Canada. They even welcome certain petroleum cards used by US truckers and some of their stations have amenities as well. Other companies offer similar stations.

At Western Oil Services, we’ve been following the commercial fuel card-lock system trend for quite some time and are eager to help those we serve by installing such a system for their fleet fueling needs. We can guide our clients as to the specifics of their system and craft a proposal that fits their needs as well as their budget.

Western Oil Services has been handling the energy needs of BC companies for nearly 70 years. Our team of skilled technicians has decades of experience servicing a wide variety of industries including retail and commercial petroleum facilities (major oil companies and independents); municipal, provincial and federal government operations; retail/fleet vehicle wash facilities; marine; forestry; and other industries.

If the idea of setting up a commercial fuel card-lock system sounds intriguing, we can help you figure out the specifics. Just give us a call at 604-514-4787 to schedule a consultation.