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Do Truck Drivers Pay for Their Own Gas?

Truck drivers have several overhead costs to consider, such as fuel, maintenance, food, and lodging. However, there are ways to offset these costs and recover non-taxable reimbursements for these expenses. 

Truck drivers are responsible for paying for their own gas if they are owner-operators, but most trucking companies have tools in place to cover the costs of fuel for their drivers. Keep reading as we discuss various ways by which these costs are handled by trucking companies as well as the options that exist for owner-operators in terms of lowering their expenses. 

How Much Do Truck Drivers Spend on Gas?

According to Yahoo Finance News, due to the ever-increasing diesel fuel prices, truck drivers spend an average of $2,400 per week on gas alone. The average diesel gasoline prices are currently over $5 per gallon, and with tanks capable of holding 250 gallons each, the cost adds up very quickly. 

Do Trucking Companies Pay For Fuel?

Owner-operators are responsible for their own fuel expenses. Trucking companies usually manage fuel payments through methods such as upfront fuel contracts, fuel cards, surcharges, freight factoring companies, or reimbursements to cover fuel costs. Let’s delve deeper into how companies handle fuel payments.

Fuel Card

A fuel card, essentially a specialized credit card, is designed for buying gasoline and related services. These cards are usually provided by companies aiming to assist drivers with fuel expenses. They represent a partnership between fuel stations and truckers, serving the dual purpose of facilitating payments and boosting sales at fuel stations.

Truckers are incentivized by fuel discounts, which they receive from their fuel card providers. If a driver’s fuel card fails to work, he or she should check the PIN, the fuel limits, and the location to ensure that the driver is within the fuel card’s network. 

Fuel Surcharge

A fuel surcharge is a fee added by third parties and trucking companies to account for the fluctuation of fuel costs. The surcharge is a calculated percentage of the national fuel rate, and it is normally added to the freight bill of the shipping company to help cover operational costs. 

Fuel Contract

A fuel contract serves as a pact between a trucking company and a fuel provider, aimed at mitigating fuel price fluctuations. It enables the purchase of a predetermined volume of fuel at a set price, offering cost savings for trucking companies. These companies can offer their drivers cash, fuel cards, or reimbursements as part of this arrangement, ensuring efficient management of fuel expenses.

Freight Factoring Company

A freight factoring company is designed to handle back office and logistical duties associated with shipping, which can streamline cash flow instead of hiring people to handle your accounts receivable internally. Trucking companies use this cash flow to pay for trucker’s fuel from immediately-paid invoices as opposed to waiting 30 days or longer to get paid.

Other Expenses Trucking Companies Pay for

In addition to fuel, trucking companies will sometimes offer a non-taxable per diem to offset the costs of expenses away from home such as food and lodging. Some trucking companies may also pay for training for their drivers, as well. 

Per Diem

Per diem represents a daily, often non-taxable reimbursement set within IRS daily limits. It aims to assist truck drivers in covering expenses like fuel, food, and lodging. These expenses can then be deducted from their annual taxable income, providing financial relief.

Hotels and Lodging

Trucking companies typically do not pay for hotels unless you are in a situation where your truck is broken down for an extended period. To offset the costs of lodging, trucking companies will often issue a standard per diem so that the driver can be reimbursed for their hotel expenses. 

Truck Drivers Can Offset Expenses To Maximize Profits

Trucking companies can help to offset the costs of expenses for their drivers by using per diem, fuel cards, fuel contracts, and other incentives to help make their drivers happy. Independent truckers must take on the burden of operational expenses themselves, however, they can minimize the cost of fuel by taking advantage of fuel cards, IRS per diem rates, and tax deductions. 


What gas card do truckers use?

The WEX Fleet Crossroads Card is the most widely used gas card by truckers due to its acceptance at 95% of fuel stations and over 45,000 service stations nationwide.

Do truck drivers get their food paid for?

Most trucking companies provide a daily per diem to help offset the costs of food and other expenses. The IRS reimburses up to the standard daily rate of $69.

How much does it cost to fill up an 18-wheeler?

18 wheelers can have one or two tanks holding 100-150 gallons of fuel. Based on current diesel gas prices, it can cost between $550 – $1650 depending on how many gallons your truck holds.

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