What Are The Benefits Of A TSD Fuel Card For RVers?
Based in East Texas, TSD Logistics is a freight transportation company that other companies hire to move their goods from one place to another. There are hundreds of these types of companies, all utilizing contract fuel rates with various diesel stations to provide savings for their drivers, who are usually paid per-mile and must purchase their own fuel.
What sets TSD apart from the others is that they have opened their fuel discounts to RVers, and we believe it is a wise move. “Open Roads” is their fuel division, semi-separate from their trucking transportation business.
How does the TSD Fuel Card for RVers work?
Rather than having large fuel station chains, like Loves, have to work with thousands of individual companies to negotiate rates, there are a few major companies that offer fuel cards and establish the computing network necessary to make these cards a success.
The “EFS” card, which is what TSD utilizes, is one such major company. Think of it like your credit card. There are just a few like Visa and Mastercard. You might have an Amazon Visa card that offers point rewards or an American Airlines Mastercard that offers airline miles. But underneath, it’s really all just Visa or Mastercard.
These large companies have the infrastructure to support your charges and billing, but allow them to be “white labeled” with names like Amazon, Star Trek, Verizon, or Lowes, each providing specific benefits to that company. The EFS card is the same. You’re just tying into a network, with TSD being the “broker” of sorts.
TSD Open Roads EFS Fleet Card
The first thing to know is that this is a diesel only program. When it comes to gasoline, this won’t be of value to you yet. (The Open Roads FAQ says “coming soon” for gasoline.) This means that the fuel card will apply to larger RV owners or those towing with a diesel truck. It’s worth noting, however, that you really don’t even have to have an RV. We tell our non-RV friends with diesel trucks they should sign up!
With the TSD Open Roads EFS Fleet card, they split some of the savings with you. You save, they make a little to keep the program running. It’s a good relationship!
When and where can you use the TSD fuel card for RVers?
We all know that at a gas pump there are the three levels of gasoline, and sometimes there is a diesel pump as well. The TSD Fleet Card doesn’t work there. Very few, if any, standard gas stations are equipped to accept any type of Fleet Card at the normal pump. You should note, too, that most pumps where a fleet card works, your regular credit card will not and vice-versa.
This means you will be driving through the 18-wheeler truck lanes with the big rigs. This can be very convenient when filling up on an RV relocation trip. We certainly aren’t going to try to put our 44’ fifth wheel into a standard Shell station pump! It just isn’t practical. But the truck lanes at the back are great, and we know that a location with truck fuel lanes can accommodate our large size. At first we were a little daunted by that, but now we wouldn’t have it any other way.
A further piece of information for you: Just because a fuel stop accepts EFS cards doesn’t necessarily mean you will receive a discount.
Why use the TSD Fuel Card for RVers?
Fuel rates vary. That’s important to understand. Just like every gas station (even those across the street from each other) have different prices, so too will the big rig diesel fuel stops.
There are a variety of factors involved, including the current price of oil, the company’s purchase of gas and oil futures, contracted rates with their supplies, supply and demand, current oil output, quantity and uptime of refineries, inflation, profit margin for the truck stop, and many more reasons. Today’s diesel price at the truck stop near your campground probably won’t be the same price next week!
The TSD Fuel Card gets you a discount somewhere below the pump price, which is the price you see at the pump and on the big, visible-from-the-highway signs. That discount absolutely will vary from location to location and from day to day. This discount could be 5 cents per gallon, 25 cents per gallon, etc. With some relationships they have established, it might be a constant flat amount at all of a given chain’s locations. (For a time, Love’s was always 12 or 18 cents discount.)
RVers can find more than just a discount on the diesel fuel. Because you’re using a truck stop, you have DEF available right at the pump. (Note, some truck stops do not offer a DEF pump. Frustrating!)
We prefer to fill up this way because, just like the diesel, you’ll have great turnover on the DEF supply and what you’ll be getting may be “fresher” than purchasing boxed DEF. Plus, you don’t have to carry and lift the box and mess with the little plastic spout! It is important to note that there is no discount on your DEF purchase, but it can be made in the same transaction.
How do I find TSD eligible stations?
This is the easy part. TSD had an original mobile app, and if you tried it but were frustrated with its functionality, fear no more. TSD released a new mobile app called “Open Roads” and it’s really great! This is the name of the app as well as the fuel program subdivision of TSD Logistics. Downloading this app to your phone allows you to check the fuel prices of eligible truck stops around your current location. You can even move the “current location” (center of the map) to use with trip planning.
If you are using Google Maps or another mapping tool on your phone, clicking the directions button in a gas station’s detail view will add a stop to your route. If you are planning your trip with RV LIFE Trip Wizard, you can easily add the address as one of your stops as well as find more points of interest and campgrounds along your RV-safe route.
Furthermore, TSD is constantly adding new fuel stations to their list of places your card will be accepted! You can use the TSD fuel card for RVers at any EFS-compatible fuel stop, but if that station is not listed in their app, there is an additional $1.00 fee that is applied. In a pinch, a dollar doesn’t matter if you have to fill up, but planning can save that amount. In addition, at a non-TSD station, you’ll be paying the full pump price with no discounts.
How do I apply for a TSD Card?
Start by visiting the My Open Roads website. This is the official fuel program site for TSD Logistics. Order early, and order when you know you have time to receive it, as there can be a bit of a stretch between the order and fulfillment, which is stated on their site.
You’ll start by creating a login and password. (You’ll need these later to log in to the mobile app.)
Next, you’ll provide a few key pieces of information including your bank account and Social Security number. Why? The TSD fleet card is not a credit card, but they are extending you credit between the time you get your fuel and the time they draft your account, which can be 2 to 5 business days.
You will be responsible for keeping the right amount of funds in your chosen bank account to ensure that any fuel purchases you make can be covered. Depending on the size of your rig or tow vehicle’s fuel tank and the current price of diesel, this can be quite a bit. But you never have to “pay the bill” at the end of the month. Just make sure you’re the account is topped off… just like your fuel tank!
We set up a separate bank account for this and other RV-related draft charges, separate from our regular checking account. If you want to do this, have the new account open and ready, along with your routing and account number, before you apply.
Please note, if you are Canadian, you will be required to have a US bank account and US currency, and your Social Insurance number replaces the US Social Security number.
How will I know how much I saved?
Each time you use the TSD EFS Fleet Card at a pump, you’ll receive an email from [email protected] once the money has been drafted from your account. There is a PDF attachment that has a breakdown. Here is a sample of a Settlement Report.
You’ll see that our bank draft for this transaction was $237.41. With the two small fees TSD adds (the RV Transaction Fee and Fee for Reimbursement), the total amount is $249.94. But the draft amount is only $237.41. This means that the number we watch for is the $12.53 on the last line. That’s what we saved for that fill up. We’ve seen this be as high as $40, about a year and half ago in Florida!
- You’ll always need to provide a “control number”. With TSD, this is the last four digits of your Social Security number. (Not a fan of that choice.) Usually this is done at the pump. This is essentially the PIN number for this card; never share it!
- If you want a receipt from the truck stop, you’ll almost always need to go inside to get one. Be sure to note your pump number and the approximate gallon count. The cashier will not be able to see your rig from where they are working!
- Sometimes you’ll have to go into the truck stop first with your EFS Fleet Card to have them turn on the pump and they’ll hold it until you’re through, at which point you have to go back in and obtain it. Often, you’ll get a receipt here and they will ask you to sign it. These stations will ask for your control number since you didn’t enter it at the pump. When they ask for other information (sometimes) like “truck number”, just make one up for simplicity. Easier to do that than take the time to explain you are an RVer!
- Always make sure the transaction shows complete on the pump before you vacate the slot. You don’t want anyone else to fill up on your account, especially considering it will be a big truck with a huge fuel tank! (Or two, or three!)
- While there are more etiquette tips than this, here’s an important one: After you fill up, before you go into the station, pull forward to clear space for the trucker behind you to start his fill up. We’ll often go inside after fueling to grab a cold drink or hit the restrooms, and I do not want to return to an angry trucker! Also, keep this inside trip short. If you need longer, find elsewhere to park.
Eliminate RV fuel anxiety by planning every fuel stop in advance, before your RV trip begins. By using RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan your trips in detail, you’ll know exactly when and where you will need fuel for your RV or truck. You can also vet those fuel stops with satellite and street view to make sure you can get in and out safely, and back on the road.