Fuel card prices: how much do fuel cards cost?

You can save money on rocketing fuel prices with fuel cards. Learn about fuel card prices here, and discover all the factors that affect fuel card costs.

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When reviewing fuel cards, our expert team of writers and researchers understands that the main consideration for any small business is value for money. We focus on fees and charges, contract length, one-off or recurring costs, plus how pricing can scale with the size of your fleet.
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Life isn’t easy for small business owners right now and saving money is absolutely crucial. On top of inflation, SME owners have been dealing with record-high fuel rates that have doubled costs for those who rely on company vehicles.

Things are looking up. Petrol is now around 143p per gallon in the UK (inc. VAT), compared to 191p the same time last year. But this is still much higher than pre-pandemic. Luckily, there are still ways to save money for those savvy enough to seek them out.

Small business fuel cards are the best way to lower petrol and diesel spending. Aside from the discounted cost of the fuel you’re buying, the main fee for a fuel card is an annual charge per vehicle, which can range from £12 to £24 per year depending on your business’ fleet size.

Some providers will also charge transaction fees, while others waive these altogether or don’t charge them as long as you spend a certain amount each month.

Compare Costs on Fuel Card Fees

For a better idea of how much a fuel card will cost for your small business, and the savings it can bring, check our free fuel card comparison tool. Just take a minute to answer a few quick questions and get bespoke no-obligation quotes from elite providers selected by our team of fleet management experts.

In this guide, we’ll talk you through all you need to know to understand how fuel card pricing works, and help you to make the best choice for your business. Read on to learn everything you need to know about fuel cards, including fuel card tax costs.

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What are typical fuel card costs?

When choosing the best fuel card for your small business, cost is of course a crucial factor.

In this section, we’ll outline the some of the fuel card costs that you’re likely to encounter, along with an idea of how much you can expect to pay for each.

Type of costApproximate price range
Account feearound £15 p/y
Annual card feearound £18 p/y
Application feeusually free, although some providers may charge
Card replacementaround £6
Invoice requests (e.g. paper or additional copies)around £5-£10
Minimum usage feearound £10
Name change on cardaround £6
Network fee (per transaction)sometimes free, or around £2-£3
Rejected direct debit paymentaround £40
Surcharges (e.g. ferries, toll roads/motorways)Depends on type of expenses on fuel card selected – may be included, charged as a percentage, or come as an additional fee
Switching providers fee (if applicable)around £10

So, for example, you could get started with a fuel card for an initial cost of around £30 (for the account and annual card fees). Then the other expenses and ongoing charges would depend on provider charges and your business needs.

Many fuel cards have a minimum spend requirement, which could be based on either expenditure or amount of fuel used per month.

While the table above gives general insight, our expertly designed free fuel card comparison tool will give you an accurate estimate for how much your business fuel card will cost. Just take a minute to answer a few quick questions and you’ll get no-obligation tailored quotes from leading UK fuel card providers.

How does tax affect fuel card costs?

Like most business operations, the use of fuel cards may be subject to certain taxes. In this section, we’ll help you determine how small business fuel cards are taxed.

Generally, if you employ drivers or other staff members who use company cars, the company cars and fuel can be used in two ways:

  • For work only
  • A mixture of work and private use

If your employees use company cars and/or fuel for personal trips, you’ll usually need to report it and meet some National Insurance (NI) requirements. Cars and fuel that are used exclusively for work journeys are exempt from reporting, although there are certain conditions you’ll need to meet.

To learn more about them and other exemptions, read the ‘what’s exempt’ section of the Gov.uk guide on expenses and benefits: company cars and fuel.

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Which factors affect fuel card costs?

Now we’ve looked at some typical fuel card prices and examined the tax implications, it’s important to understand what influences these figures. In this section, we’ll examine the different factors that affect fuel card prices.

  • Tariff – some cards use a fixed rate (a set fuel price across the country) and some haves rates linked to pump prices
  • Network coverage – some fuel cards only allow you to use one provider, whereas other cards can be used at petrol stations operated by different companies
  • Fuel consumption – the type(s) of fuel used by the vehicles in your fleet may affect fuel card prices, and you will need to decide whether you need a fuel card that covers all types of fuel, or just diesel or just petrol
  • Payment terms – when and how you pay your fuel bill may have an impact on the cost too, with any changes to standard payment schedule or method likely to cost extra
  • Expenses type – whether your drivers can use the fuel card to just purchase fuel or also pay for additional items (such as car products) or other driving-related expenses will influence what kind of fuel card you’ll need and therefore your fuel card costs
  • Additional services – you may have to pay extra to be able to access your card online or through an app, or have an account manager
  • Switching fee – if you’re already using a fuel card for your small business and you decide to switch providers, there may be a cost to do so
  • Contract length – how long you sign up to use a particular fuel card provider for may impact the price you pay
  • Extra costs – some fuel card providers may charge for rejected payments, or have an extra fee to receive your invoices on paper or to secure your card
  • Fleet type – using fuel cards for cars, vans or HGVs (or a mixture of vehicle types) can affect prices

Are fuel card costs worth it?

In short, yes. Here are three reasons why we recommend small business owners invest in a fuel card for their company vehicle or fleet:

1. Cost savings

It’s a tough time to be a small business owner and fuel cards are the best way to save money on fuel – with a fuel card, you can expect to save between two and three pence per litre (or even more in some cases).

Given the average person spends £120 per month filling up a car in the UK, this can easily add up to saving thousands of pounds a year for just a small fleet of company cars or vans.

2. Accessiblity

You don’t need to be worried about not finding anywhere to fill up. Leading fuel cards have cross-network coverage that gives you a choice of over 3,000 petrol stations across the UK and you can check which sites are included before you sign up. Some cards even let your drivers earn supermarket loyalty points on fuel purchases.

Business users were handed an excellent deal when FuelGenie announced an exclusive partnership with Shell in November 2022. Now, using the new FuelGenie+ membership, SMEs can top up their tank for less at over 900 Shell sites.

3. Reduce admin time

Fuel cards make it easy to keep track of your fuel spend, so you don’t need to worry about keeping receipts and just have to pay one invoice each month. Some providers also offer extra services such as load boards or freight factoring, so you can keep things simple and keep a bunch of your fleet services under the same umbrella.

Popular fuel cards also have mobile apps for you to manage your entire fleet spend in one location. FuelGenie announced an update in January 2022 that allows company owners to edit and view cards, and even download invoices, all from their mobile phone.

Figuring out fuel card costs: what’s the next step?

At this point, you’ve learned more about typical fuel card prices, how fuel cards are taxed, and the factors that influence fuel card costs.

To learn more, use our free fuel card comparison tool to get no-obligation bespoke quotes for your business. Take a minute to answer a few quick questions and you’ll get a range of quotes from top fuel card providers that meet your needs, saving you countless hours of research time.

Fuel card costs FAQs
  • How can fuel cards help me track and control fuel expenses?
    Fuel cards can be linked to a specific vehicle or employee. That way, business owners can monitor every transaction to know exactly how the money on each card is spent. And, because of real-time updates, they'll know the amount spent immediately after a purchase is made.
  • Do fuel cards offer any discounts or rewards for fuel purchases?
    Yes. Most fuel cards will offer you loyalty points at the fuel stations within their network (eg. Tesco Points and Nectar points). That way, you'll make money back on every transaction you make.
  • Can I set spending limits or restrictions on fuel cards?
    Yes. Business owners have full control over the amount of money each fuel card can spend on petrol or deisel. Regardless of the number of cards you have, you can also set a total account limit to prevent your employees from maxing out their cards each month.
  • How can fuel cards simplify the fuel expense reporting process?
    Fuel cards automatically record all of your employees' fuel transactions in one database. Staff members will be grateful to not have to scramble around looking for old receipts to claim back their spends, while business owners can reduce the amount of time being lost to fiddly expense claims and other admin tasks.
  • Are there any additional fees associated with fuel cards?
    On top of fuel card charges that are well-known (such as annual fees and account fees) certain brands also charge users more niche surcharges. For example, Deisel Card Ireland charges users a £2 fee if they do not use the card in one month. There is also usually a surcharge if you purchase fuel at a non-network station with most fuel card providers.

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Written by:
Alec is Startups’ resident expert on politics and finance. He’s provided live updates on the budget, written guides on investing and property development, and demystified topics like corporation tax, accounting software, and invoice discounting. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, and writing a wide variety of freelance pieces.
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