This diesel fuel savings program is for real

82

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Consumer Reports is quick to tell us, “If it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.” So it was with that in mind that we heard the news that a new card fuel “discount” program could save you money. People were doing the social-media screaming about saving as much as 30, 50, even 75 cents a gallon when buying diesel fuel. Sure, it sounded pretty good, but where’s the catch, we wondered.

So what’s the plan all about?
The plan, called the TSD RV Fuel Program, is brought to you by a trucking company out of Texas. Here’s the gig: TSD Logistics had a fleet of big rigs, and they negotiated with many truck stop companies to get a discount on their fleet fuel. Of course, the more they bought, the greater the discounts would be.

Now, how can you buy more fuel without increasing your investment in trucks and drivers? Somebody had a “light bulb” moment and said, why not invite RVers to become sort of a part of the fleet? Let them buy their RV fuel using company cards, then just tap their bank accounts like you would a debit card transaction. And to sweeten the deal for the trucking company, keep 10 percent of the discount the RVer received.

We checked into the matter. The biggest problem that popped up – at least in the minds of those who refused to sign up – was that the company asked for the social security number of the applicant. The explanation was that if you somehow pumped up on fuel, then skipped out on your bank, they’d be left with your most recent charge. TSD Logistics wanted the social security number to effectively run down anybody who stiffed them. In this day and age, we can understand a concern for keeping that social security number close to the vest. That’s a consideration any potential member will have to decide for themselves.

But in practice, how do you know how much money you’ll spend if you use the system? Users download a free app for iPad or Android, and it not only provides an updated directory of prices for all truck stops in the network, if you like you can enter “to” and “from” locations and the app will map out a route, and conveniently post prices at all affiliated stops along the way. We eagerly downloaded the app, but, oops, you’ve got to have a card to make the information appear.

Does it really work?
We decided to bite the bullet and apply for one of these cards. The online app is a quick fill-out. Yes, it requires your social security number and bank account information. You’re given an option of “speeding up” the process: For a $20 fee, your application will be processed and your card put in the mail in 48 hours. For an additional $50 (a total of $70) your application will get processed in 48 hours, and then sent out overnight express. We opted to go the “free” route. A few days after submitting our application we got a phone call verifying our information. A couple of weeks after that, our card arrived via first class mail.

We hung onto the card and saved our first use for a trip from Quartzsite over to the Los Angeles area for a conference. We filled up at the local Love’s truck stop (we could have filled at Pilot, but the discounts at Love’s were better). We pumped 18.72 gallons to fill up the tow rig. The posted “cash price” was $3.09; that’s what our receipt from the fuel desk showed. But the transaction detail information provided us through our app said we actually paid $2.521 per gallon – a fact we verified the next day with our bank records. So, taking into account the “10 percent of savings” fee taken out by TSD Logistics, we saved more than 57 cents a gallon, almost 23 percent off the pump price.

Would it hold up? We fueled up on the way to LA in Coachella, California – once going over, and once on the return leg. Here the savings weren’t so grand. In the two fuel stops we were discounted an average of 36.5 cents per gallon. Based on the cash price at the pump, this worked out to about an 11 percent savings. Not as great as back in Quartzsite, but hey, nothing to sneeze at.

Can you save more “shopping around”?
Mind you, these “cost savings” figures are based on how much of a discount you receive at the pump – not a comparison to what you would have paid if you’d shopped around elsewhere in the area. So we did a “trip on paper” to see just how much money we would save if we took our rig and drove to one of our summer visiting spots – Olympia, Washington. We logged in our typical fuel stop towns, used our rig’s average fuel economy for a basis, and figured out what we’d pay using the TSD Logistics card versus what we’d pay if we shopped around. Here’s how it worked out.

On a one-way trip from Quartzsite, Arizona, to Olympia, Washington, we used our usual route, which swung us up north into Las Vegas, through Ely and Wells, Nevada, into and across Oregon, then following the Columbia River west into the Portland area, and north up the I-5 into Olympia.

Total miles: 1376
Total gallons fuel: 131.1
Discount price paid throughout trip with TSD Logistics card: $325.90
Price paid by shopping around, NOT using “Cash Only” pumps: $391.12.
Savings by using TSD Logistics card: $65.22, or close to 20 percent less.

Mind you, the apparent discount prices in Oregon look very attractive. But the app is showing the “big truck” price – and in Oregon, “light class” pickups and motorhomes will pay 36 cents more per gallon in fuel tax. We calculated that into our figures.

All in all, we’d save $130 on a round-trip. Mind you, we’re relative “fuel sippers,” averaging 10.5 miles per gallon. If we drove one of those fuel-guzzling motorhomes, we can only imagine how much more we’d save. Motorhomers – Please don’t sent us hate mail! Those big old Class A’s are nice – just out of our price range!

Real world observations
Aside from waiting for a seemingly long time to get our card in the mail, we haven’t found any real hitches in the application process. We have found that if you’re in a hurry on the road, you’ll no doubt find your frustration tolerance tested using the TSD Logistics card. How so? YOU MUST fuel up your rig at the “big truck” lanes, or you’ll see no discount on price. Pumping on the Love’s RV lanes also forfeits the discount. So expect you’ll need to figure setting aside 15 to 20 minutes to fill up when you pull into the truck lanes and wait your turn with the big boys.

R&T De Maris photo

If you’ve never filled in a truck lane, there are a few hoops you’ll need to get used to. Aside from waiting for your turn, when you get to the pump you’ll be asked to swipe your card, and enter a “control number.” Don’t forget that number and your PIN code (they are different, and the latter is used to log into the app). Then you’ll need to select “tractor” fuel; you’ll likely be asked if you want to purchase DEF and/or other products. Don’t hit “cancel,” hit “skip” or “no” as appropriate. If you’re pumping into a pickup, you’ll need to make sure your fuel port for the pump nozzle is a “big one.” If you can only fill your pickup with the standard nozzle on a car island, you’re out of business here – the fuel pumps on the truck islands dispense at a fast rate and use a bigger nozzle.

We’ve found that pumping into a pickup tank with a bigger nozzle can be a messy business. You’ll not likely be able to fill at a full-blast rate. In fact, you’ll likely be stuck holding the lever open by hand and gingerly pumping fuel in. Meanwhile, you’ll likely find a fine spray of diesel fuel peppers your hands (and your clothing if you stand too close). Take along a pair of work gloves. Filling up should take maybe a little less time than at the little car lane, but largely because you have to fuss with the nozzle.

And a note on etiquette: At least at Love’s, you’ll need to go inside to the fuel desk if you want a receipt. Don’t make the mistake of leaving your rig in front of the fuel pump while you handle the inside work. PULL AHEAD like the big boys do, take your keys and go inside. That’ll let that busy working man in a Peterbilt behind you get up to the pump and get started on his fueling.

And another word: We’ve found the largest discounts at Love’s. Other brands in the network also offer discounts, but generally not as big. If you get stuck in an area and need fuel but there aren’t any truck stops in the network, we’re told that out-of-network stops will accept the TSD Logistics card, but you’ll pay full pump price. Where you don’t get a discount, TSD doesn’t charge you anything in the way of their customary 10-percent cut on savings – after all, you didn’t get any.

And here’s a self-serving pitch: If you decide to apply for the program, you’ll find a “referred by” question. If you put down Russell DeMaris as your referral, then when you’ve bought 100 gallons of fuel on the program, we’ll see a $25 credit on our account. Of course, the same works for you: If you sign up for the program and “draft” all your friends, you, too, can see big discounts accrue! Here’s the link to the application. Just want more information about the program? Follow this link.

We’ll keep you posted about our experiences with this program. So far, it looks like a winner.

From the editor: Read the updated story here.

##RVT937b

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TravelingMan
2 months ago

Article/History of SS number – SSA.gov

https://www.ssa.gov/history/reports/ssnreportc2.html

Robsasteerjock
2 months ago

This program is a winner.. and I am thankful we found it. Our Cat 600 HP engine on our motorcoach gups fuel.. but with this card it is easier on the pocket book.. Our last trip from Fla to Mass fueling at Loves was the max discount. thank you TSD

Rob Armbruster
4 months ago

Is there a difference in the quality of the diesel fuel between the truckers and the regular pumps? We are supposed to use the very low sulfur diesel fuel in our Mercedes sprinter Class C.

Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Armbruster

There is only one grade of diesel in the entire USA. It’s all the same sludge.

bisonwings
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Armbruster

No, there’s no difference. Some of the engines used in pickup trucks and commercial trucks use the same engines and Federal File regulations require the low sulfur fuel for all Diesel engines.

Robert
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob Armbruster

No difference in fuel. It probably comes from the same ground tank.

Rick
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob Armbruster

I recall a detailed article a couple years ago comparing national brands of diesel fuel. The main difference is in the cetane content which is similar to octane in gasoline. I don’t recall any difference in sulphur content. I do recall that the large truck stop brands had the bare minimum required cetane.

TravelingMan
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob Armbruster

No difference (<15 ppm ultra low sulfur) except that the fuel is constantly rotated so you generally will never have bad fuel. At some of the smaller stations, fuel may not rotate for months at a time. Water condensation can build up. Fine rust particals can stir up.

Cetane is similar to octane on regular gas. You'll find ratings (if they post them) between 42 and 45. You can buy additives if you want to ensure your rating. A higher rating will increase HP and efficiecy albiet slightly.

More important is water in your fuel. Deisels won't like it. Make sure yo keep up with your filters regularly.

The same can be said of DEF. I rarely use the jugs that have been sitting on a shelf for no telling how long. DEF is generally good if manufactured, shipped, then stored out of direct sunlight and in cool conditions for approximately one year. There is an expiration on most boxes but there a a few brands without.

Eric
4 months ago

We got one of their cards right before we flew to Idaho to pickup our Ram, to use on our drive home. First time we used it we saved $15 off the pump price. Fueled up in Oregon before crossing into Calif and saved even more. We expect to use it a lot once we begin our full time life when we retire, next year.

Mark
4 months ago

Straight from TSD representative posted on the Facebook TSD Group! :
Good morning everyone. I know everyone is disappointed with the Pilot decision; however, they were only a small portion of what is being purchased through our program. I am disappointed as well, because we had approval from our representative at Pilot who is no longer there, but I understand that if they signed a contract they have to honor that contract.

We didn’t even have a discount with them until November, and even with that discount, they have never been the best price. Our other retailers have always been lower on their prices than Pilot. For those of you who still want to stop there, I encourage you to do so and use whatever discount card is available to you. We have always encouraged our customers to do a price check with all discount cards and apps to get the best price. We only want you to use our card if it helps you get the best rate.

The other truck stops continue to offer great discounts and we thank you for your continued support.

I do not believe it is in the best interest of anyone to continue to contact Good Sams and Pilot as I believe the decision has been made. I wish them well and have nothing bad to say about either. It is an unfortunate thing and live goes on.

William Henry Johnson
4 months ago

The Flying J / Pilot fuel discount is a joke! If you start with diesel prices that are 25 or 35 cents more per gallon then most in the area and then give an 8 cent discount per gallon? I have heard people say that the truck stops are convenient for them to fill up and some even say that they will pay those very high prices for that. Not me! I feel overcharged and taken advantage of.

Mark
4 months ago

Not the case on the west coast.

Jim
4 months ago

The 8 cent discount with the BadSam RV card is because Bad Sam is taking the rest of the discount for themselves out of YOUR payment to PFJ. Your receipt says you bought fuel… But 32 cents per gallon was being taken from your cash and given directly to BadSam. That’s why they screamed about this TSD program, it was directly reducing their cash flow.

BAD BAD BAD BADSAM!

Bill Frank
4 months ago

I have found the local Love’s and Pilot are generally 30 cents or more higher than other dealers. That said, the inconveniences you mention in addition to giving my SSN and banking information to someone I have no knowledge of, is out of the question. When we travel, finding low prices has rarely been a problem. Speedway, Raceway, Racetrak and others will usually accommodate our 40 footer with no difficulty. I have used truck stops with good prices and they have always been easy in and out. And, we can find truck stops with good prices, always lower than Pilot, Love’s, and Flying ‘J’. They are always inflated.

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Bill Frank

I checked TSD app and Gas Buddy for Raceway, Pine Grove, PA. For some reason, this is the only area where this is true. Without TSD, Loves and Pilot aren’t the most expensive but up there. On the West Coast, our Mobile and Exxon stations are outrageously expensive but not there. However, with TSD, Loves costs $2.65 a gallon for diesel. That’s the cheapest for all diesel per gas buddy and a $.58 a gallon off Loves listed price. So for this area (Only Raceway I found with a quick google search and lots of Speedways). Most other areas the TSD is not only cheapest but significantly. That’s okay though if you don’t like saving $$$. To each their own…

TravelingMan
5 months ago

I don’t care how much money it saves…If they want a SS number, that’s a big NO for me. There are so many companies being hacked these days that it is not even funny. After I read that, I did not even finish reading the article…I’m done.

Wayne Willson
5 months ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

Your SSN is all over the dark web. The cat is out of the bag on hundreds of millions of people. I just applied, without any fear.

TravelingMan
4 months ago
Reply to  Wayne Willson

I guess we will have to agree to dis-agree respectfully on this one….I am not about to make it easier on hackers by just adding more and more information out there for them. Many use FB and post just about their entire lives out there. I’ll never understand that one either. And again respectfully, answering survey after survey also builds your personal profile. You may well be correct on millions of people that have exposed records. Those that take care of their personal information are probably less likely to be in that group. Not to say that it can’t happen. But why just give out your information to everybody? Once again, respectfully…The more you keep this information to yourself, the better off you are. If not, it’s just a matter of time.

Eric
4 months ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

Just curious what debit /credit card you have where you didn’t have to give them some personal information. We were with Wells Fargo for a long time and they were opening up fraudulent accounts without their customer’s knowledge. There was a gas station company in FL that just got hacked and lost info on 30 million customers. So, haven’t heard of TSD doing either of these.

carl newton
4 months ago
Reply to  TravelingMan

have to agree if you think you SSN is safe you are not watching the news, or seeing stories in the paper.. with the card you can be saving hundreds of dollars on fuel. If you are so fearful, do a credit freeze on your credit files. this is the ONLY way to guarantee your info is safe as it can be. In this day and age of breaches it a good idea anyway.. https://clark.com/credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/

Mark
5 months ago

It’s an amazing program. I’ve had the card for about 6 months. Some people say it’s a hassle, it’s not! The lady at TSD that runs the program is super nice. If finding the best deep discounts on fuel is a hassle for you, you don’t need discounts lol. The app for the card can do routes and show you which stations are along the way and the recent diesel price. It’s really easy to use. I tow with my 2001 Dodge and have had zero issue with the large nozzles in my gas tank (joke inserted here…) or spray, only when I start to get close to the top I slow down with the pour.

Denis cameron
5 months ago

DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR SSAN FOR THIS. Just don’t do it.

Troy
5 months ago

I drive mostly motor homes for Horizon Transport to make a little money on the side, and they give us one of these EFS cards. I get paid through this card, and it does the fuel discount for diesel. Unfortunately for me I drive gas vehicle’s most of the time, so I don’t get a discount. The card number got stolen by a skimmer and a lot of money got stolen from it. The fraud department did eventually pay me back and get me a new card, but it happened WAY slower than it would have with my bank. I try to not use this card unless I absolutely have to now.
If anyone would like to get one of these cards and you don’t want to link your bank account, you could work for Horizon Transport. All you have to do to maintain employment is deliver one unit every 30 days. Please if you do apply give them my driver number (8914) as a referral…(I get a little extra money for referrals 😜).

Rayne
5 months ago

That sounds like a lot of hassle to use. I just use the app GetUpside and while it doesn’t work in the northeast, it does in the Southeast in most major cities I pass through. Last year I was seeing up to .28 cents rebate back per gallon by just logging in, seeing if the stations around me are offering any deals through this app, claiming an offer I see if it is along my route and worth while, go there, pump my diesel, scan my receipt and voila’ I am done and the cash back appears in my account to cash in whenever I want it.

I would get a referral bonus too, but I won’t worry about it.

James L Copeland
5 months ago

I hate to complain about a good thing but I dropped this nugget on you guys several months ago and never heard back from you so I sent it in again still no reply. Russ says use his name but unless he was already working on the story that isn’t fair to me, but there again i’ve not heard a peep from anyone on the staff about my tip.

Admin
Chuck Woodbury (@chuck)
5 months ago

James Copeland, we heard from a lot of people about this. I have no idea if you were the first. Russ did not write this until I asked him to based on the many people who had written us suggesting we check it out. We didn’t intentionally slight you, but I apologize for not at least getting back to you thanking you for the tip. We get a LOT of mail every day, and it gets overwhelming at times and I know we forget to thank everyone for their input. I know I spend a lot of time thanking people and yet I never get through all my mail. — Chuck/editor

Captn John
5 months ago

I’ve been using the system for a year. Pulling a 41′ 5er with a long bed dually I’ve always used the truck stops. Now I’m saving along with the convenience and safety with large lots and pump islands. The discount is off the cash rice as well. Ford fills for a long time have accepted the larger nozzles and work fine on the medium setting, same for every auxiliary tank I’ve seen. Need a name as a referral, use John Rakoci. No gas is available at truck islands

Tom Piper
5 months ago

Gas Buddy does the same thing and does not ask for your Social Security Account Number. FYI – they can’t possibly track someone down using the SSAN. There is no mechanism for this at all. Possibly using the driver license number, with police cooperation, an individual MIGHT be found, but definitely not with the SSAN. The SSAN card can’t even be used as an ID card. Because of this requirement, I would classify this as a potential scam, used to grab personal information for other nefarious reasons.

Richard
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Piper

What do you mean Gas Buddy does the same thing?

Brian S. Holmes
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard

yeh……what are you going to get scammed out of. Giving you free money? Any account you use for this should be funded for the amount of fuel you anticipate using and no more. If you need more funds, transfer the dollars online.

Jeff sch
5 months ago
Reply to  Tom Piper

Not sure about the tracking you down part but your bank accounts, credit card, drivers license and credit reporting companies all have it.

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Piper

I’ll be nice here… Tom, if you spent 10 minutes reading TSD’s program, they’re a huge and legit trucking company in Texas. Then you’d realize there’s a Facebook group for the thousands of RVrs using their program, MANY of us current and retired cops. You’re paranoia constitutionalist is attitude is completely based off zero facts and all assumption on your part. As a cop, I don’t even give my SS# to doctors and their staff. They don’t need it. I did my research and due diligence and have been enjoying deep discounts on fuel all over the west coast and Midwest the past year.

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom Piper

Gas buddy absolutely doesn’t do the same thing… it shows you the lowest prices. For California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming and Montana, this is Loves, TA or Pilot. Then you get anywhere (in my year long experiences) from $.20 to $1.00 off using the TSD card. Again, google and facts are your friend.

Steve
5 months ago

I find in my travels Love’s and Pilot have by far the most EXPENSIVE diesel prices of any trip I have taken… typically 30 to 50 cents more than Murphy, Marathon, Shell (especially the cash price) etc. I always wondered how they could stay so busy but it makes sense that they are offering discounts to truckers. Also, because of the big lots and lots of space at the pumps it’s easy for RV owners to negotiate. But I’m not sold. I’ll stick with Murphy and negotiate the tighter turns in my 35 ft travel trailer, and just smile when I pass the Pilot with ten bucks more in my pocket!

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve

Whereas in CA, Shell and Exxon are by far the most expensive. I smile when I research diesel around me, Loves is almost always the cheapest then I save an average of 20-30% on a fill up which is a LOT more than a $10 bill in my pocket… 😘

Roy & Donna
5 months ago

I’m interested in the TSD RV Fuel Program.
Would someone check, on the app if the
Jane Lew truckstop,
Hackers Valley Rd,
Jane Lew, WV participates?
We usually top off here on our return trips.
Thank you!

Chuck and Dave
5 months ago

We’ve noticed that we can use the TSD Logistics card at the Pacific Pride and CFN self-fill stations and still get a nice discount. Keeps us from having to stick to the truck stops and they are located in many smaller towns.

Tommy Molnar
5 months ago
Reply to  Chuck and Dave

Now THAT’S news we can use!

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Chuck and Dave

Wow, last I checked about 5 months ago, Pacific Pride wasn’t part of the program, that’s huge! At least on the west coast.

Thomas
5 months ago

What happens in AZ when there is a big jump in price when you fuel up at the big boy’s pumps. Taxes go up over 26,000 pounds and 3or more axles, but the pump doesn’t recognize your little old pickup.

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Thomas

As long as TSD Logistics is standing, huge trucking company in Texas, and this program is running, that absolutely won’t happen… Last October I ran my TSD app for my buddy in Prescott Valley, i also used Gas Buddy to comparison shop diesel. Showed him he could save $.48 a gallon from the cheapest listed diesel in Prescott Valley.

C A
5 months ago

You missed a couple of things. If you download the Love’s app, you do not need to swipe your card and enter a PIN &/or a control number. The app will start the pump. And unlike a regular credit card, the pump won’t shut off at $75 or $100. It will keep pumping until a large fuel tank is full. Great program!