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What is a fuel advance?

A fuel advance is an advance on funds for a load that will allow you to cover fuel costs to get the job done. Whether you are driving a semi or a pickup, fuel is always a factor. This is a rather common request in the trucking industry, especially with the rise in fuel prices. 

Most companies understand the need to cover fuel cost and will have something available to help offset that need for truckers. However, the specifics of that resource may vary from what you know of a standard fuel advance.

It’s essentially a short-term business loan sent to your bank account that effectively does the same thing to cover your fuel cost needs. You just need to know what to ask for to get the resources you need as owner-operators.

How Do Fuel Advances Work?

The old fuel advance programs work in the fashion of advancing up to a set percentage of the value of a future invoice amount to allow enough cash flow to cover the fuel costs for the load. Upon delivery and in accordance with the terms of the invoice, the remainder would then be paid out. 

This is a value to truck drivers as fuel is one of the most expensive overhead costs for truckers to manage. The standard format of invoice factoring fuel advances may not always be offered due to the growing level of risk of having nothing to back the security of that advance, especially since the load has not been delivered. 

However, many will offer a short term business loan, which accomplishes the same needs, advancing you the amount needed to cover fuel expenses to get the load delivered. A business loan program is usually much better because you can use it for many things besides fuel, and you don’t always need a rate confirmation in order to receive it. The route of a business loan reduces the amount of risk on the lender for advancing the money as well. 

Who Offers Fuel Advances?

A fuel advance or short term loan are commonly offered by some freight factoring companies as a resource to alleviate the burden of pricey fuel costs in getting the load delivered to where it needs to go. 

What Costs Are Involved With Fuel Advances?

It is important to remember that fuel advances or short term loans are not free. They are a business service that will typically carry an additional fee to be made available to you. 

However, these fees are often nominal and when you are in need to get the job done can really work to your benefit. Some companies will charge various fees with interest rates that can really pile up while some of the more premier options go with a flat rate for the service and amount. 

For example, you could get up to $1,000 for a 17.5% flat rate fee to get you the funds you need to cover fuel hassle free.

What Are the Requirements For Fuel Advances?

A traditional fuel advance will often come a set of required documents:

  • Signed bill of lading once the load is complete
  • Copy of the signed rate confirmation from the debtor

However, with the modern route of a short term business loan to cover your fuel cost needs the needs for many of these documents are alleviated since the loan itself is backed by the lien the factoring company holds in your service agreement and not on the individual load itself.

How Quickly Can I Get a Fuel Advance?

This always depends on the specifics of the company you are working with but again the premier factoring companies typically can afford to offer the more desirable options to you. Some factoring services can get a business loan advanced to you to cover your fuel expenses in as little as one hour.

Do I Need A Good Credit Score For a Fuel Advance?

Not always! While some companies will run a hard check on your credit score that can hurt you, other companies will base the determination on account history. 

By doing a full account review they can get a quick feel for how business between them and your companies has gone and be able to appropriately evaluate the risk of getting you a loan for fuel to fill up. 

Benefits of Having a Fuel Advance

A fuel advance loan can be worth it. Here are some reasons why.

Saves You Time

There is a lot that goes into operating a trucking company. Why let matters like fuel costs slow you down when you have so many bigger issues that require your skills and your undivided attention?

A fuel advance loan can be a great resource and time saver to any trucking company. Every hour you are not running within your hours of service regulations, you are losing money. 

Lets You Expand Your Business

The trick to expanding your business is to keep in motion and not pass up jobs that you need. By having the money to cover fuel that hurdle of getting that job done is removed without you having to manage to float that amount of money until you get paid for the delivery. This will allow you to keep running which will lead to growth of your business in the long run.

Provides Financial Stability

Financial stability in business is not only a goal but a necessity. Without it most businesses will not stand the test of time. 

Having a loan to cover your fuel costs or other expenses allows you to keep working capital in your business. That will keep you on the road and accepting new business instead of struggling from invoice to invoice. 

Gives You Flexibility

Having a business loan to cover your fuel needs to offer flexibility as well. Running a trucking business comes with its share of unexpected costs while on the road. This can consist of repairs, fees, and more. 

If all of your business capital is tied up in fuel that you have to wait to get paid back for you may not have the funds to cover these other needs. This can leave you in a bad way. This is why a more flexible business loan option offered by a factoring company is the better choice. 

A Fuel Advance Loan Can Be a Great Tool For Your Business

While some may still offer traditional fuel advances, others are offering them in the way of short term business loans or a line of credit through a fuel card program. The key factor here is knowing what to ask for to gain access to the resources your business needs to thrive and grow through factoring programs. 


How do I get a fuel advance?

To get a fuel advance, typically, a trucker or trucking company submits a request to a freight factoring company or a shipper/broker after a load has been picked up, providing necessary documentation such as a rate confirmation and bill of lading.

How much are fuel advance fees?

Fuel advance fees can vary depending on the provider and the specifics of the arrangement, but typically they might range from 2% to 5% of the advance amount.

What is the average truck fuel surcharge?

The exact rate of the average truck fuel surcharge can fluctuate depending on fuel prices and specific contractual arrangements, but it’s often calculated as a percentage of the base freight rate, typically in the range of 10% to 30%. However, this can vary greatly and it would be best to look at the most current data.

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