Fuel Cards in a “Cloud”

Well not all fuel cards will be in a “cloud” and “cloud” might be a little bit off but it’s close. Comdata has come out with a fuel card that you don’t even need a card to get the diesel fuel. The card-less transactions use an RFID tag to automate the fueling process, which should decrease the amount of time drivers spend at the fleet fueling island. More important this should reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions by shutting off the pump when the truck pulls away.

I think this is a great idea for the fuel industry. This should make fuel cards easier and better to use. I guess I really need to say RFDI tags. I am still a little confused how the driver is going to put in his PIN number or odometer reading or trip number. This will also make theft more difficult but not impossible because as long as your truck is under the canopy and another truck is under the canopy what stops your driver from selling your diesel fuel?

Comdata has 2 main users of its new system and they are Love’s Travel Stop and Travel Centers of America both hope to have everything going by early fall. Our clients won’t be the first ones using this new system. We will take a short wait and see approach and if all looks good, then fuel cards will move aside for cardless fueling transactions.

We know Pilot Flying J have their own system coming out soon with these cardless fueling transactions. Without knowing more details, I don’t know how the 2 systems will defer. I am almost positive that the RFDI tags from Comdata will not work with Pilot Flying J because of the mutual ownership that Pilot Flying J has in TCH or as the new street name goes by EFS. Will Fleet One come out with a different RFDI tag? How many RFDI tags will a truck have to have to buy diesel fuel? How much will these tags cost?

This reminds me of the old days when you needed a TCH card to buy diesel fuel at Flying J and a Comdata card to buy diesel fuel everywhere else. I bet those smart guys at the Federal Government in the FCC when they were looking at Pilot buying Flying J never thought about this one.

I am sure all of these fuel card questions or wireless fuel transaction will soon be answered. One thing is for sure the truck stop operators like Pilot Flying J, Love’s Travel Stop, Travel Centers of America and a few others have really put an investment back into all of their operations. Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) islands are still being installed, wireless fuel card transactions and the upgrades at many truck stops. Plus all of the additional truck stops that have been opened by these guys. Diesel fuel must be a good business to be in, some of the time.