4Refuel set to rapidly expand US franchises

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4Refuel, Canada’s largest fuel management company, has opened a corporate franchise in Seattle – its first in the United States – following the launch of its franchising program in 2007. The company expects to have 50 to 75 franchised and corporate-operated trucks in the U.S. by the end of 2010 delivering more than 24 million gallons of fuel.

Many fleets rely on “jobbers,” typically mom-and-pop operators, to fuel vehicles onsite on a cost-per-gallon basis. Others have their own refueling trucks or storage tanks, while others simply use commercial pumps.

The cost of fuel is not just the price they pay at the pump, however. The “true cost” of fuel includes labor, insurance, theft, loss of productivity and inefficiency, the company says. 4Refuel now provides U.S. companies with the tools to collect the information they need to effectively manage their fuel, reduce costs and increase productivity, the company says.

4Refuel specializes in 24/7 onsite diesel refueling, fuel logistics and automated fleet management, providing clients with such information as when fuel is delivered, which equipment or trucks it is delivered to, and most importantly, fuel usage. Clients can access the data online through user-friendly reports with the click of a mouse.

Data is captured by small radio-frequency tags attached to each vehicle or piece of equipment. The tags are scanned with hand-held computers and the data is immediately sent to a data warehouse. Optional telematics technology gives clients even more in-depth information by merging fuel consumption figures with data such as how long vehicles spend idling, speeding or jack-rabbit starting, which wastes fuel and causes excessive emissions.

Focusing its initial U.S. expansion on western states, 4Refuel expects to have 50 to 75 franchised and corporate-operated tanker trucks in the U.S. by the end of 2010, delivering more than 24 million gallons of fuel. 4Refuel currently has approximately 100 tanker trucks operating in Canada.

“Fuel has always been seen as a commodity,” said Norm Bogner, 4Refuel’s vice president of international development. “We are not selling fuel. We are selling service and business intelligence so companies can better manage their business. We’re merging the delivery of a commodity with technology.”

4Refuel is based in Langley, B.C., just outside of Vancouver. The company already serves more than 6,000 clients in Canada in all industries, including FedEx, Coca-Cola, CN Rail, Brinks and Tim Hortons. It safely delivered more than 52 million gallons of diesel and biodiesel fuel to customers in 2006 via more than 1.3 million individual refuelings.