Truckers can’t pay off their fuel cards — and it’s a ‘sure sign’ that more trucking bankruptcies are coming

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  • Truck drivers have been clobbered with falling rates in 2019.
  • There has also been a spate of trucking companies that have gone bankrupt.
  • And a classic sign that more trucking bankruptcies are on the horizon is emerging — increased delinquencies in paying off fuel cards.
  • Pilot Flying J, one of the largest trucking fuel card providers and America’s largest truck stop provider, confirmed Business Insider that there’s been “weakness” in the credit market.

When truck driver Robert Schaaf’s company-provided fuel card stopped working earlier this year, he knew something was up.

“The fuel card had been hit and miss for a couple of months,” Schaaf told Business Insider. “I paid for fuel out of my own money then would be reimbursed by the owner.”

That reimbursement started to come later and later until, in March, he learned his employer’s insurance expired. It was clear the owner was running out of money.

Schaaf cut his losses and quit — but there are still thousands that the company owes him in unpaid fuel.

“To make a long story short, he still owes me 8,000 bucks and I have been working in property management in Pensacola since then,” Schaaf said.

Fuel is a massive expense for truck drivers — and the companies that employ them. Fueling up a truck fuel costs can easily total thousands of dollars per month; truckers are driving up to 11 hours a day in vehicles that get, at best, 6.5 miles per gallon. So, most companies give their employees gas cards to pay for the diesel fuel.

Unless, of course, that company can’t afford fuel.


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