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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Between inflation, supply issues and soaring fuel prices, life isn't easy for small business owners right now and cutting costs is absolutely crucial.

And fuel cards are a great way for your business to save money on petrol and diesel. 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.

However, for a much better a idea of how much a fuel card will cost for your small business, 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.

Or, simply read on to learn everything you need to know about fuel cards, including fuel card tax costs.

How does your business currently pay for fuel?

What are typical fuel card prices?

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 feeDepends – £15 as one example
Annual card fee£0-£24, generally about £18 (per year)
Application feeVariable; usually free, although some providers may charge
Card replacementVariable, e.g. £6
Invoice requests (e.g. paper or additional copies)£0-£25, generally around £5-£10
Minimum usage fee£10 as an example
Name change on cardVariable, e.g. £6
Network fee (per transaction)Variable, sometimes free or £2-£3
Rejected direct debit paymentVariable; £35-£95 as an example
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)Variable

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 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 prices?

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 prices?

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 cards worth it?

In short, yes.

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), and this can easily add up to saving thousands of pounds a year for just a small fleet of company cars or vans. And 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 (such as FuelGenie) even let your drivers earn supermarket loyalty points on fuel purchases.

Plus, using fuel cards mean it's easy to keep track of your fuel spend, you don't need to worry about keeping receipts and just have to pay one invoice each month. Some fuel card 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.

Figuring out fuel card prices: 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, check out our guide to the best UK fuel cards for small businesses.

Or, just 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.

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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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