Fuel Cards, Preventive Maintenance, and Safety Measures


By Reza Hemmati

As the pandemic continues and the once “new normal” becomes just “normal,” businesses look for ways to prepare—and possibly adjust—for success post COVID, whenever that may be. In this three-part editorial series, we’ll discuss 10 recommended steps to emerge from the pandemic ready to hit the ground running.

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Implementing fuel cards is a way to control costs and glean useful insights to inform company decision-making, while also offering convenience to drivers who don’t need to go inside to pay each time they refuel. When ELD clocks are ticking, time is of the essence, and getting in and out of fuel stops quickly helps drivers maximize time on the road. Drivers can also earn points and perks—such as free showers, free coffee, laundry time, and more—whenever fuels cards are purchased in advance.

Beyond personal perks, fleets glean a lot of insights and data that can be highly predictive. For example, one company was able to build models for a large truckload carrier predicting which drivers were going to quit based on fuel card transactions and cash advances. When the company started to see trends of drivers that might be on their way out, it gave managers an opportunity to connect with drivers ahead of time and discuss potential problems. Knowing driver retention is a constant focus for the industry, fuel cards prove not only cost effective, but useful.

There is also increased transparency into driver behaviors like who might be fueling too much or who is willing to wait longer for a lower fuel price but are actually sacrificing time that could be spent on the road, impacting their miles on the road/hour ratio—which would be a useful conversation between driver and fleet managers. With fuel cards, buying in bulk provides discounts, insights, and perks for both company and driver.


Another step fleets should keep top of mind is preventive maintenance. During the early days of COVID and the quarantine, some fleets may have been running their vehicles harder than usual so that critical supplies made it to final destinations. Looking ahead to a post-COVID reality, it’s important to take this time to ensure you review manufacturer’s recommendations for preventive maintenance schedules, as well as understanding the diagnostic data coming off a vehicle.

If some vehicles are completing longer hauls than the others in the fleet, service frequency may need to be adjusted, and manufacturers’ predetermined maintenance schedule might not be ideal. With the amount of available data today—odometer, engine diagnostic data, HOS statistics, and more—it’s important to have someone on the team that can interpret it correctly and turn it into actionable next steps in terms of when to schedule maintenance.

Fleets should also be mindful to ensure quality when purchasing aftermarket parts. Remember if you buy cheap, you often buy twice. Taking care of regular and preventive upkeep now can mean fleets avoid unplanned downtime, keeping drivers driving and operations moving forward.


While this is normally top of mind—and the top priority—for fleet managers and drivers, safety may have taken a back seat during the pandemic. Keeping your vehicles on the road is a must, and ensuring driver and vehicle safety is paramount. Fleets that take care of potential problems proactively and implement a driver safety program may avoid having a stranded driver on the side of the road and reduce their liability risk significantly.

Also, as fleets look to revisit, revamp, or revise safety operations now and post COVID, it’s important to consider the amount of time drivers spend at loading docks, either waiting for a new shipment or for their trailer to be unloaded. Due to social distancing measures, facilities aren’t letting drivers in until their appointment time, forcing drivers to stay in their vehicle for longer periods of time. Fleets should consider re-educating their drivers about the acceptable potential rise in idle time so that drivers aren’t rushing through or breaking protocols that were put in place to ensure their health and safety.

Even though it’s uncertain how long the pandemic will last, it is important to continue running a safe, efficient, and profitable business during and post COVID. Implementing fuel cards, adhering to preventive maintenance schedules, and revisiting safety measures will ensure your fleet is on the path to success.


Reza Hemmati is vice president of product management at Spireon.
For more insights on what steps your company can take to succeed post COVID,
watch Spireon’s webinar, “Top 10 Steps Fleets Can Take Now to Succeed Post-COVID.” Find out more, visit

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