IFTA 101- Your Simplified Guide to IFTA

Do you know if you fail to submit your IFTA auditing report on time, you may have to face fines up to $500? 

As a fleet manager, you must know the importance of the different rules and regulations existing in the state. Whether it is IFTA, DoT, HoS, or others, you need to know and remain in compliance to stay in business.

Remembering and understanding all the rules and regulations of any law or agreement can be difficult. And as IFTA differs in each state, calculating tax, filing returns, and many other things need to be taken care of in a timely fashion to avoid fines. Moreover, it is very easy for newbie and seasoned drivers and fleet managers to get entangled in wordy laws. But no more! In this article, we will try to simplify IFTA and associated queries. Therefore stay with us till the end.  

What is IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement)?

IFTA stands for International Fuel Tax Agreement. As the name suggests, IFTA is an agreement between the conterminous states of the United States and the provinces of Canada. This agreement aims to simplify the reporting of fuel usage by motor carriers traveling in more than one state.

Let us understand the International Fuel Tax Agreement in detail with the help of an example. 

Suppose there is a motor carrier that works in more than one state. Since it frequently travels from one state to another, fuel purchases are made all over the states they travel. However, each state has its tax slab for fuel purchase. And this is where the problem of sharing the tax amount arises.

To give each state its fair share of fuel taxes, the government decided to make IFTA. After every three months, each motor carrier has to submit the documentation for the record of fuel purchased.

The government uses this report to disburse taxes fairly among all states. Moreover, it simplifies and makes one single fuel tax for truck operators operating in different territories.

Why do we need IFTA?

Now that we know what IFTA is? Let us see why IFTA was needed. To understand this, we have to go back to the 90s. Before IFTA, as the trucking industry expanded, each state started noticing that the trucks operating there were causing wear and tear to the highway. And therefore, they came up with a  fuel tax system to collect taxes from such motor carriers.

Each truck operating there had to seek permission from a designated port of entry for fuel tax collection. Then the state arranged a special license plate named Bingo for them.

It was a cumbersome and time-consuming process. Moreover, soon truck drivers noticed that they were paying higher fuel rates in one state than in other states. It created a great disturbance among truck drivers and fleet operators. 

There was a demand for replacing this old and confusing system. Therefore, the states decided to come together and sign a pact for one and uniform tax system throughout 48 US states and 10 Canadian provinces. Hence, in 1966, the IFTA came into existence and replaced the old tax system of 1945. 

What are the main objectives of IFTA?

The main motto of the IFTA was to simplify the fuel tax collection process. After IFTA implementation, each motor carrier has to obtain a license from the department and submit a report quarterly to their home jurisdiction.

The main objective of the IFTA was as follows:

  • To simplify the tax collection process by each state
  • Establish uniform reporting requirements
  • To save time and money for trucking business
  • To disburse tax among different states fairly. 

Jurisdictions Falling Under IFTA Scope

As stated above, around 48 states of the United States and ten provinces of Canada follow IFTA rules. Here is the name of them: 

USA


Alabama

Georgia


Maine

Arizona

Idaho

Maryland

Arkansas

Illinois

Massachusetts

California

Indiana

Michigan

Colorado

Iowa

Minnesota

Connecticut

Kansas

Montana

Delaware

Kentucky

Nebraska

Florida

Louisiana

Nevada

New Hampshire

Oregon

Vermont

New Jersey

Pennsylvania

Virginia

New Mexico

Rhode Island

Washington

New York

South Carolina

West Virginia

North Carolina

South Dakota

Wisconsin

North Dakota

Tennessee

Wyoming

Ohio

Texas

Mississippi

Oklaho

Utah

Missouri

Canada

AlbertaNova Scotia
British ColumbiaOntario
ManitobaPrince Edward Island
New BrunswickQuebec
NewfoundlandSaskatchewan

How Does IFTA Tax Work?

Do you find IFTA complicated? Well, let us simplify it even more with the help of an example. 

Suppose a truck driver travels through different states for business. They will go to their state IFTA department and apply for the license. With the permit, they will get two fuel stickers to put on each side of the truck.  

As they go to another authority, they keep track of fuel consumed and distance covered. After returning to the home state, they will have to file the IFTA report in three months.

Their state IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) department will review the report and distribute the taxes accordingly to each state. Each state will receive its share per the miles driven in that.  

If the tax collected is more than the required, similar to income tax, the fleet operators will receive the excess amount. 

Note: What if the truck didn’t travel across the states? If you have applied IFTA stickers on your vehicle, you will have to submit the quarterly reports. Otherwise, you should notify the department. 

Qualifications For IFTA: Whether You Fall Under IFTA Compliance

Before you get into all this, you should know if you are qualified for the IFTA registration. You have to submit the IFTA report if your commercial vehicle: 

  • Has three or more axles 
  • Or, have two axles and a gross weight exceeding 26,000 pounds
  • Or, uses in combination that has GVM of more than 26,000 pounds 

You only need to check these qualifications if your vehicle travels in more than one jurisdiction. 

International Fuel Tax Agreement Exemptions

There are some exemptions to the IFTA rule. You need to check them too to see if you fall in this category or not. Here are some exemptions: 

  • Recreational vehicles
  • Farm plated vehicles
  • School buses
  • Tow truck
  • Government-owned vehicles
  • Biodiesel vehicle 

Non-IFTA Jurisdiction

If you reside in the following state, you won’t have to worry about IFTA. 

United States

  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • District of Columbia

Canada

  • Yukon Territory
  • Northwest Territory
  • Nunavut

How To Apply For IFTA? 

If you are new to the trucking business and want to know the process for applying for IFTA, here are some simple steps: 

  • First of all, you need to fill out the basic application form. You can take this application form from your state IFTA department.
  • Basic details are registered business name, mail address, federal business number, and USDOT number. You can submit the form via mail or fax. 
  • After successful submission, the IFTA authority will issue official IFTA decals and your license. 

How Often Do You Need to Submit The IFTA Report?

Motor carriers have to submit IFTA reports quarterly. Here are the due dates:

IFTA Reporting PeriodsDue Dates
1st Quarter- January to March30 April
2nd Quarter- April to June31 July
3rd Quarter- July to September31 October
4th Quarter- October to December31 January

How To Calculate IFTA Fuel Tax Reports?

Before you submit your IFTA tax report, you need to do a few calculations. But don’t worry, we have simplified the whole process into some simple steps: 

Calculating Miles Driven 

First of all, you have to keep an accurate record of the amount of fuel consumed throughout the journey. Remember, you need to be accurate. For this, you can take the help of modern fleet management solutions. 

Fuel Purchased

After determining the amount of fuel consumption, you need to collect the receipts and calculate the total gallons of fuel purchased. 

You must rely on the original receipts and invoices. 

Fuel Mileage

Before submitting an IFTA report, motor carriers must calculate the number of miles driven and fuel purchased. After this, you should start by calculating the overall fuel mileage. 

You can calculate fuel mileage using this formula:

{Fuel Mileage= Total miles driven÷ Total gallons}

Next, you divide the fuel mileage by fuel consumed in different states. 

For instance, 

Total fuel consumed in Texas= Total miles driven in Texas ÷ Overall fuel mileage

Submission

Lastly, after this, you should put all the information together. And then, you can file the report to the respective department. 

Important Things To Remember

Here is some important information you need to collect:

  • Miles drove in each state
  • The odometer reading at each state line
  • Total gallons of fuel purchased in a different jurisdiction
  • Original fuel receipts and invoices
  • Individual trip reports 

Consequences of Failing to Submit IFTA Reports

If you fail to submit your IFTA audit on time, you will be subject to a heavy fine. You will have to face a penalty of around $50.00 or 10% of the tax. 

Streamline IFTA Reporting With Modern Technology

Traditionally, fleet managers and drivers used to fill the IFTA taxes manually. Right from tracking distance covered by the vehicle to fuel purchased. It is a tiring and time-consuming process. Moreover, humans tend to make errors. The mistake may seem small but can negatively affect your tax report. 

You can save time and avoid any possible error by employing modern-day fleet management solutions and cloud-based reporting tools. With some simple inputs, you can generate IFTA reports. 

How Can Matrack Simplify Your IFTA Fuel Tax Reports?

Matrack is known for its affordable and customized telematics solutions. It offers user-centric and comprehensive fleet management solutions. You can rely on this solution as it is easy to use and accurate. 

By paying a nominal amount of $7, you can access different aspects of fleet management such as GPS tracker, electronic logging device, weigh station bypass, trailer and asset tracking, and more.  

Moreover, no contract, free activation & cancellation, and excellent customer service are the best part of this user-centric system. 

For more information and details, visit the website now and talk to our experts. 

Common FAQs Related To IFTA

Do you still have some questions? If yes, then here are answers to some common FAQs. 

Q1. What is IFTA Jurisdiction?

Jurisdictions falling under IFTA are known as IFTA jurisdiction. As stated above, around 48 states of the US and ten provinces of Canada fall under IFTA jurisdiction.

Q2. I live in Hawaii. Do I need to submit an IFTA report?

No, if you are a resident of Hawaii, Alaska, or the District of Columbia, you won’t need to submit IFTA reports.

Q3. Do I need to submit IFTA reports if I travel to a different state once in a while?

Even if you travel to other states once in a while, you have to register yourself with the IFTA department.

Q4. What is the penalty for late submission? 

You will have to face heavy fines of around $50 or 10% of the total due.

Q5. What documents are required while filing quarterly tax reports?

Every fleet operator should submit fuel receipts, trip report records, IFTA licenses, and decal numbers.

Q6. How often do you have to renew the license?

Ans. You have to renew your IFTA license yearly. You can do this by visiting the nearest state IFTA department.

Q7. What if I suddenly need to travel to a different state? 

Ans. You can register yourself for a temporary IFTA license. 

Q8. What will happen if someone continuously submits an IFTA report late? 

Ans. If you continuously fail to submit an IFTA report, the authority can cancel your IFTA permit.

In A Nutshell

To stay in compliance with different rules, fleet owners tend to rely on fleet managers. Hence, it becomes your responsibility to know regulations and ensure compliance. Moreover, with better knowledge and deep understanding, you can make better and informed decisions. 

For more such articles and to know more about Matrack solutions, visit the website now. Moreover, do share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Insurance Regulations For Transport Vehicles

There are certain simple requirements laid down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regarding insurance requirements for transport vehicles. To get an Operating Authority (MC number), carriers are required to have public liability insurance, which includes coverage for property damage as well as bodily injury.

Public Liability Insurance: This is one of the most important insurance coverage for truck drivers as it covers them and others in case of an accident, where the driver is at fault. The property damage part of the coverage is to pay for repairs and damages done to the vehicle and any other property, while the bodily injury part helps in compensating for hospital bills of the victims of the accident.

In order to transport passengers or goods, and work as the for-hire carriers, companies are required to get an authority to operate for interstate commerce. This operating authority is determined and granted by FMCSA, depending on the following:

Motor Carrier of Property:

  • For-hire motor carriers transporting commodities for the general public
  • Must not transport household goods
  • File proof of public liability insurance with FMCA
  • Cargo Insurance is not required

A Motor carrier of Household Goods:

  • For-hire motor carriers transporting household goods (moving companies)
  • Household goods include personal items, goods shipped from stores or factories
  • File proof of public liability insurance with FMCA
  • Cargo insurance is required

Broker of Property:

  • Individual, partnerships or companies that arrange for the transport of goods
  • Must not transport household goods
  • No ownership, hence no responsibility towards property

Broker of Household Goods:

  • Individual, partnerships or companies that arrange for transport of household goods
  • No ownership, hence no responsibility towards property
  • Under certain conditions relating to services provided by the motor carriers, companies are required to register as a household goods broker.

United States-based Enterprise Carrier of International Cargo:

  • Transportation of international cargo, except household goods
  • Headquarters in US, owned/controlled by Mexican citizen or resident alien
  • Cargo either arriving or dispatched from foreign country

United States-based Enterprise Carrier of International Household Goods:

  • Transportation of international household goods
  • Headquarters in the US, owned/controlled by a Mexican citizen or resident alien
  • Cargo either arriving or dispatched from a foreign country
  • Household goods include personal items, goods shipped from stores or factories

Once the Operating Authority is established, motor carriers are required to get coverage and submit proof to FMCSA. Also, there are certain regulations regarding the minimum limit of coverage, as decided by FMCSA:

Type of Freight Minimum Limit of Coverage
Non-hazardous freight moved in vehicles weighing 10000lbs or less $300,000
Non-hazardous freight in vehicles weighing more than 10000lbs $750,000
Oil moved by For-Hire & Private Carriers $1,000,000
Other Hazardous material moved by for-Hire or Private Carriers $5,000,000

Other Coverage: Apart from the above, household goods motor carrier and freight forwarders are also required to have cargo insurance of at least $5,000 for each vehicle and $10,000 per occurrence. Freight forwarders, as well as Brokers of Freight, are required to have both – a Surety Bond of $75,000 and Trust Fund Agreement of $75,000.

Motor Carrier companies are also required to designate a Service Process Agent, to act as a representative of the company for proceeding brought against the motor carrier, broker or freight forwarder.

The above-mentioned requirements by FMCSA are in place to ensure that in case of accidents, any damage to property or people is taken care of, and thus must be strictly complied with. Also, a commercial transport vehicle will not be allotted a USDOT number by FMCSA unless all the insurance requirements are fulfilled. Motor Carrier companies are required to furnish proof of appropriate and mandated coverage in order to operate in the United States.

U.S. Carriers Subject To Canada’s Carbon Tax

As of April 1st, 2019, 4 Canadian provinces, (Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick), are now subject to the Canadian federal carbon pricing system, which was announced last fall.  Beginning July 1st, 2019, the provinces of Nunavut and Yukon will also be added to this list.  Non-Canadian carriers operating in any of those provinces will be subject to the fuel surcharge, need be registered with the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) and the federal tax authority, and are also required to submit quarterly reports. 

The surcharge in fuel prices is part 1 of 2 of the Canadian Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, an effort to protect the environment.  According to the Government of Canada’s website, “The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, which implements the federal carbon pollution pricing system, is composed of two key parts. Part 1, administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), applies a charge to 21 types of fuel and combustible waste. Part 2, administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada, introduces an output-based pricing system (OBPS) for industrial facilities.”

Which carriers do the mandatory CRA registration apply to?  According to the Canadian Revenue Agency “Every inter-jurisdictional road carrier that uses fuel that is gasoline, light fuel oil (diesel), marketable natural gas or propane, in a specified commercial vehicle, in a listed province is required to be registered as a road carrier with the CRA. Generally, any road carrier that provides commercial transportation of individuals or goods by road from one province to another or from a location that is outside of Canada to another location in Canada, and travels to or through a listed province, will be required to register. These road carriers must register with the CRA by April 1, 2019, for business activities in Manitoba, New, Ontario and Saskatchewan, and July 1, 2019, for business activities in Nunavut and Yukon.”

In addition to registering with the CRA, inter-jurisdictional road carriers are expected to report fuel that is used in listed provinces by completing and filing quarterly returns that identify the quantity of fuel used within each listed province.  The road carrier may then either be entitled to claim a rebate or required to pay a fuel charge. Also, the fuel surcharge purchases do affect all purchases of fuel in the listed provinces.  However, fuel purchases made in a listed province, but used outside of a listed province may be eligible for a rebate.  The fuel surcharge is around 0.20 Canadian cents per gallon and fines for failure to register with the CRA could cost up to 2,000 Canadian dollars.  


Inter-jurisdictional carriers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick should have registered already by now.  For carriers that do business activities in Nunavut and Yukon, they must register before July 1st, 2019.  For more information on how to register, visit the website.

Non-Preventable Crashes And CSA score

The Crash Preventability Demonstration Program which was introduced in July 2015 by FMCSA may be made permanent from August 2019. This will change the CSA scoring system.

After the program has successfully run for two years, it is now a possibility that it will be made permanent. This will mean that in cases of unavoidable crashes, where the truck driver is not at fault, will be deemed as “not preventable” for consideration of Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.

FMCSA’s CSA program has seven categories for scoring:

  • Unsafe Driving
  • Crash Indicator
  • Hours-of-Service Compliance
  • Vehicle Maintenance
  • Controlled Substance/ Alcohol
  • Hazardous Material Compliance
  • Driver Fitness

The data for the above is collected through inspections, accident reports, or any other violations.

For the purpose of Crash indicator and the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program, “Not Preventable” crash includes the following:

  • When the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is hit by any other motorist driving under the influence
  • When the CMV is hit by any other motorist driving in the wrong direction
  • When the CMV is hit at the back
  • When the CMV is hit while being legally stopped, or at the parking
  • When the CMV has hit a person attempting to commit suicide by stepping/driving in front of the CMV
  • When CMV was damaged due to hitting an animal on the road
  • When CMV has been hit by another vehicle or cargo equipment

These are a few of the conditions as stated in the Crash Preventability Demonstration Program. There is a fair chance that FMCSA will be providing better and clearer interpretations.

With this program being made permanent, it will help FMCSA in having a reliable plan of assessing the culpability of a crash and also help in predicting future risks.

How can CMV owners and drivers make use of this classification?

Most commercial motor vehicles have dashboard cameras, installed specifically for the purpose of identifying a fault in case of an accident. In order to get a crash labeled as “not preventable”, a request has to be submitted to FMCSA. The request must contain proof in documents, videos, and photos that indicate the crash could not have been avoided under any circumstances. The video footage from the dashboard camera can be a piece of decisive evidence in this case.

Once FMCSA has approved the request, the crash will be labeled as “not preventable”. This will help in maintaining a healthy CSA score. A poor CSA score often means higher insurance premiums. Also, many businesses check CSA scores and do not like working with carriers who have a poor score. In case of a crash, the score is drastically affected and can hamper business opportunities for the carrier. With Crash Preventability Demonstration Program, it will be easier for carriers to improve their scores in case the crash was genuinely not caused due to the fault of the driver.

It is speculated that FMCSA will soon be proving more information on this new program, and related rules, regulations, and requirements. If it indeed is made permanent, the motor carrier industry will be hugely benefited.

Fleet Management Benefits : Light-duty Vehicle Fleets

Since the advent of various technological advances in the field of GPS, telematics, and other tracking devices and applications, fleet managers have been able to increase business efficiency. With the vast flow of relevant and authentic data, fleet managers, operators, and owners have been able to maximize utilization of all assets and achieve greater ROI.

Most trucking companies have adopted the fleet management system, also known as FMS for better functionality. Fleet management also offers a host of benefits to light-duty vehicles, car rentals, delivery services, driving schools, school bus services and more.

Location:

For car rental companies and delivery businesses, it is pertinent that they know the location of their vehicle in real time. It helps to keep an eye on them, as well as ensure that the vehicle is following a predetermined route. It helps in customer satisfaction as they are kept in the loop and are informed of the delivery time.

Maintenance:

Several fleet management systems provide real-time information about engine diagnostics, fuel consumption and waste management, and also monitoring of engine coolant temperature and battery level. This helps in arranging for maintenance of vehicles in due time and avoids any major expenses in the future.

Fuel management:

As most fleet management systems monitor the usage of fuel, it eliminates the chances of any fraud or discrepancy. The data related to fuel is recorded automatically, and in most cases cannot be edited by an unauthorized persons.

Operational:

FMS helps in streamlining entire fleet operation from identifying idle vehicles to easier allocation, establishing a route, keeping clients updated, generating important reports, as well as compliance with various rules and regulations. It also assists in the optimal utilization of assets and better improves cost efficiency. When you know that a delivery van is sitting idle after having completed its route, before the end of the workday, you can use this data to plan the next route to be more profitable and efficient. 

Matrack Incorporation has one of the best fleet management systems in the entire San Francisco Bay Area. With a wide variety of trackers for assets, trailers, and fleets of every size, together with exemplary customer service, Matrack is your best option for fleet management. Our devices are waterproof and can withstand any weather.

One of our productsMA-OBD Classic plug-in is designed for light-duty vehicle companies like driving school, school bus service, and limousine and car rental services. It offers real-time tracking, car health diagnostics, Geo-Fencing, and fuel reports. It also sends alerts via email and SMS on the status of engine and ignition. In case of emergency or critical fleet safety issues, MA-OBD Classic also sends out relevant data ensuring driver’s safety. MA-OBD Classic is designed to support faster data connectivity, dispatch feature and Amex Fuel card.

Matrack Dispatch is a real-time logistics management system that makes it absolutely easy to manage a fleet – no matter the size. An effective fleet safety program is easy to implement and can be downloaded to any iOS or Android device of choice. The interface has been designed keeping in mind the comfort of the user and is unbelievably easy to understand. We also offer round the clock customer support.

Through Matrack Dispatch, you can assign the job, schedule the routes and track them, compare the assigned and real-time route, and more. Some of its features are:

  • Allows technicians to make notes
  • Once the job is successfully completed, customers can pay through credit cards, and also rate the service
  • Alerts to customers on the status of delivery
  • DOT compliance by recording everything electronically in real time
  • Telematics, IFTA reports, and Hours of Service

Matrack Incorporation has various various fleet operation systems and devices, including gps tracker, asset & trailer tracking, ELD and more. To know more about our products and services, contact us. We will be happy to give you the best fleet management solution for your business.

FMS – A Key To Security In School Bus Service

As the improvement in technology in the field of logistics and transportation have touched the sky, one of the many sectors that have benefited is the school bus service. For parents as well as schools, the security of the kids is of topmost importance. Fleet management system, or more importantly the GPS feature of this system can be used proactively to ensure the safety of the children.

Student Safety:

Parents always want the best for their kids and want their kids to be safe all the time. While selecting a school, they would definitely prefer one that offers real-time GPS location tracking of kids, while traveling in the bus. The information can also be used by school administration in several ways – for monitoring of delays, arrival, and departure of the bus, information on drivers, and more.

Monitoring Driving:

FMS provides relevant data on driving behavior. They keep a record and send alerts of speeding, hard braking, irresponsible driving, unwarranted stops, and detour. With the help of this data, better training modules for drivers and safety protocols for kids can be formulated. Also, an ignition status is also recorded with real-time alerts, unauthorized use of bus can be easily detected and prevented.

Bus Schedule:

The software, as a part of FMS, can send out alerts to parents about the arrival and departure of the bus. Through the help of Geo Fencing, parents will know the exact time of arrival of the bus, therefore avoiding waiting time for both – the parents as well as the bus. It may seem like a few seconds of time being saved, but when you take into consideration the number of kids, and the number of school days, the amount of time saved in hours is astonishing.

Cost-effectiveness:

Most school drivers work on an hourly basis. As discussed above, FMS can help in reducing the downtime, and prove to be profitable. Most FMS also generate reports on vehicle health, based on which the school bus fleet can be regularly maintained, repaired and serviced. This further reduces the chances of any huge repair costs in the future. With GPS data, better routes can be planned to save on fuel costs.

At Matrack, we believe that children are our future, and in a safe environment, their budding minds thrive and they can create miracles. We have various vehicle and fleet tracking devices, and also a brilliantly designed user-friendly interface that makes up our excellent Fleet Management System.

MA-HW Silver is small in size, easy to install, discreet piece of logistic device that helps in recording accurate and authentic data. It is tamper-proof, hence reliable. As school buses run around the year, our device is weatherproof and can handle any tough situation. You can access records going back up to one year. It also manages its own battery, which makes it a low-maintenance device.

Some of the features of MA-HW Silver are:

  • Provides roadside assistance
  • Engine and ignition status
  • Geo-Fence
  • Multi-user Access
  • Integrated with Dispatch

Matrack’s Dispatch is one stop solution for all fleet management needs. It offers 24/7 uninterrupted and quick customer service, and a variety of other fleet management services. If you are looking to make your school bus service safer and efficient, contact us. We are well known in the telematics and fleet management industry for our experience, work ethics, and customer satisfaction.

Tips To Save Money On The Road!

As a truck driver on the road, most of your money is spent on toiletries, food and other necessities. Also, most rest stops and convenience stores in these stops charge more for these items. These extra expenses may seem little for one trip but over time these amount to a lot more than you intended to spend. There are ways through which you can save money on each trip. To know more, read on.

  1. Pack your necessities: Make a list of everything you will need on the trip, and pack a little extra of each. Toiletries, medication, extra set of clothes, a small laundry kit, extra pairs of socks and handkerchief, small towels, and everything else you can think of. This will prepare you for the road, and you won’t have to spend unnecessarily.
  2. Make a budget: Before planning to save money, you first need to make a budget for your expenses. If you don’t know how much of your money is spent, and where, it will be a good idea to keep track of your expenses. There are several mobile apps available that help you in doing so. However, a pen and paper can do the job too. Once you know where you expend more, you might be able to save.
  3. Bring your own food: A huge share of your money is actually spent on three meals a day. To save money, you cannot cut down on your meals. What you can rather do is pack some supplies and grocery, and cook your own meals. It might seem like a task, but once you get the hang of cooking some simpler dishes, you will be amazed. If you do cook, you can save a lot of money and also maintain your health by getting away from greasy fast food from the convenience store. All you will need is a small refrigerator, some utensils, a stove or an electric skillet, and a blender. If you do not prefer cooking at all, you can get a microwave and pre-packed meals. A few other eatables you can keep with you are bread, cheese, nuts, fruits and veggies, hummus and ketchup.
  4. Redeem your rewards: Rest stops and convenience stores often have a rewards program for their returning customers. As you are on the road around the year, you can save a lot by redeeming these rewards points for a free drink, shower, grocery and even get a discount on fuel.
  5. Laundry: Using laundry service at a rest stop can be expensive. You can easily cut down on this expense by bringing an extra pair of clothes. You can also bring a small laundry kit, and do necessary washing on your own. Also, if you have to use laundry service, it is better to get a huge load of clothes done at one go.
  6. Data Plan: Rather than opting for a limited monthly data plan, losing the track of data usage, and paying more for that every extra GB of data, switch to an unlimited plan. Also, most rest stops now offer free Wi-Fi. It would be best to avail of this benefit and make a video call to your family or download a podcast or movie.

After having gone through the list, you may feel that the expenses towards the items mentioned are not huge. Well, if you take into perspective the fact that you travel for most of the year, these expenses amount to a couple of grand for each item, per year. That is a huge amount which you can save by proper budgeting. At the end of the year, when you have finally saved all that money, you can treat yourself with a nice vacation!

Ensuring The Safety Of Your Car Rental Fleet

As a car rental service provider, the safety of your vehicle, the client and your driver becomes your responsibility. Whether you offer chauffeur driven cars or self –driving rental facility, it is important that you ensure that the vehicle is properly maintained, the client and driver understand the safety protocol and insurance requirement, and are experienced drivers.

Here are a few tips to ensure the safety of your fleet:

  • Maintenance: A well-maintained car can enhance the driving experience, and also elongate the life of the vehicle. If you have several cars in your fleet, it would be a good idea to invest in a fleet management system (FMS). The FMS will help you in keeping a track of engine status, coolant temperature, and other repair related data, and assist you in scheduling maintenance periodically.
  • Location: Knowing where your car is at all times has various advantages. It allows you to identify the cars that you can allot to your customers. When it’s on the road, you know where your car (and driver) is at. Having a fleet track device installed in your car will ensure that it is on the allotted route. Also, in case of a safety emergency, you can send immediate help, based on the location. With real-time GPS location, recovery of your vehicle, if stolen or hijacked, also becomes easier.
  • Client information: For self-driving rental fleet, it is vital that you have complete information about your client and their destination. Make sure that they are eligible to drive, and offer them a vehicle model that they have better experience in driving. The more comfortable they are in their car, the better the driving experience, and client satisfaction.
  • Client education: Even though your client is a seasoned driver, they are probably new in the area, and often do not have information on the geography of the area. Before handing them the keys to your rental car, go through with safety protocols and some driving tips. Also, if you do have any new updates of their route, condition of the roads, any maintenance work, or possible change in weather, share it with them to prepare them for the journey ahead. Also, discuss with them the protocols in case the vehicle breaks down or they misplace the key. In short, cover all basics.
  • Driver training: If you provide chauffeur driven cars, always hire experienced and trained drivers. Train them about roadside vehicle maintenance and safety tips. If you do have a fleet management system, provide proper training to your drivers about its functionality and uses, and compliance. Make sure that they follow the allotted route, take proper rests, and inform beforehand if there is any diversion or change in route. Most FMS offer reports of unsafe driving like hard braking or speeding. This data can help you alert the driver and avoid dangerous situations.
  • Insurance: All the vehicles in your fleet must be insured. Also, opt for insurance that gives full coverage for the driver as well as the passengers.

Fleet management system offers various analytical reports and vehicle diagnostics that can help car rental services to optimize their operations, maximize profit, and also ensure complete customer satisfaction. At Matrack Incorporation, we understand the requirements of car rental service providers and have designed fleet track devices, to suit their needs.

One such device is MA-HW Classic . It is considered to be the best in the industry by several light-duty fleet owners. It is compact, discreet and tamper-free – so you can be completely sure that the reports it generates are accurate. It gives real-time location alerts, driver safety reports, and engine and ignition status. Once integrated with our Dispatch application, the entire system will help you streamline the allocation of vehicles, optimizing routes, safety alerts, and roadside assistance.

Matrack has been providing FMS products and services to fleet owners for many years, and are known for our dependent and round the clock service. To know more, give us a call or contact us. We will be happy to get you started on maximizing your profits through our excellent fleet management system.

How To Minimize Driver Detention?

Driver detention refers to the extra time a driver has to spend while goods are being loaded or unloaded, over the approved 2-hour limit. The delay could lead to several problems such as:

  1. Running out of legal 14-hour driving limit, affecting the time of delivery.
  2. The driver can be pressurized to speed up to make up for lost time, leading to increased chances of accidents and other safety challenges.
  3. Any subsequent appointment for loading or unloading of goods will be delayed and can result in loss of work.

The driver detention is a huge problem in the trucking and fleet management industry, and it requires coordinated efforts from everyone involved. Here are a few tips to help minimize driver detention:

  1. Communicate: It is always better to be in contact with the shippers and receivers, and inform them of the scheduled appointment and allotted time. Also sending timely alerts of the position of the truck will help them to keep everything for the truck’s arrival.
  2. Planning: If a truck has to pick up goods from two or more different locations, make sure that the appointments are scheduled to allow for any unforeseen delay.
  3. Appropriate labor and tools: Using forklifts and additional labor can eliminate the chances of delay. Moreover, the expenses for extra labor will always be less than the operational losses occurring due to detention.
  4. Accountability: Most of the delay happens at the loading and unloading point. If the shippers and receivers are made accountable for the delay and are required to pay for the same, detention time will drastically reduce. Make them aware that if there is a delay in shipping, there will be a delay in delivery and will also have a negative effect on their business.
  5. Compensation: Having an appropriate detention compensation plan will decrease the chances of rash driving or speeding, and ensure the safety of the driver, assets, as well as the truck.

There is no technology available yet that can help minimize or eliminate driver detention. However, by using fleet management applications and ELD, the safety of the driver and assets can be optimized. Matrack Incorporation has a user-friendly fleet management platform that gives insight into any HOS violations. With this information in hand, a close eye can be kept on the driver to spot any safety violations like excessive acceleration or hard braking. Based on the data from the platform, a better safety program for training the drivers can be created.

Here is a list of 15 cities in various U.S. states that are known for some of the longest detention periods, so planning ahead for delay can help avoid safety issues as well as timely delivery:

  1. Fresno, California  – 5.5 hours
  2. Erie, Pennsylvania – 5.4 hours
  3. Rochester, NY – 4.6 hours
  4. South Bend, Indiana – 4.5 hours
  5. El Paso, Texas – 4.2 hours
  6. Shreveport, Louisiana – 3.9 hours
  7. Duluth, Minnesota – 3.8 hours
  8. Little Rock, Arkansas – 3.8 hours
  9. Fort Wayne – 3.7 hours
  10. Laredo, Texas – 3.5 hours
  11. Fayetteville, Arkansas – 3.4 hours
  12. Bloomington, Illinois – 3.3 hours
  13. Knoxville, Tennessee – 3.2 hours
  14. Lakeland, Florida – 3.2 hours
  15. Wilmington, North Carolina – 3.1 hours

IFTA Calculation Through ELD And Fleet Management

IFTA is a fuel tax agreement amongst 48 U.S. states and 10 Canadian Provinces to consolidate reporting and levy of taxes under a single license. Before IFTA, truck drivers and operators were required to pay fuel tax separately to every state they traveled.

It might seem that calculating fuel tax for interjurisdictional travel according to the rules of every state is a tedious task. With newer technology like GPS, and the ELD mandate, managing a fleet, its movement, consumption of fuel, and other tasks have become efficient and cost-effective.

Calculating tax under IFTA can be easily outlined in five steps:

  1. Tracking the number of miles: It is important to keep an accurate record of fuel consumption in each state traveled. Drivers must record the odometer reading whenever they cross the state line and work with fleet managers to provide correct information. However, various fleet management software has made keeping a record of travel, fuel consumption, and overall tracking of the movement of the fleet through GPS.

At Matrack, we offer a fleet tracking system with 4 different hardware solutions to choose from, according to your needs. We also have developed an excellent application that can be downloaded into any mobile device of your choice, assisting you in keeping a track of your fleet from wherever you want. With the help of our fleet tracking system, calculating the number of miles traveled in each state can be done with just a tap.

  • Fuel Purchases: To file for IFTA tax, the following information pertaining to fuel purchase must be submitted with original invoices or receipts:
  • Driver’s name
  • Vehicle plate number
  • Fuel Purchase date
  • Number of gallons of fuel purchased
  • Type of fuel
  • Price per gallon
  • Fuel seller’s name
  • Fuel seller’s location

 Along with GPS, Matrack offers our clients with fuel cards in partnership with American Express. It greatly assists the fleet managers to keep a check on fuel use, better deals, and also a detailed report on fuel purchase history, making it easier to organize the data required to file for tax under IFTA.

  • Fuel consumption in every state: For a truck that has traveled through more than two member states of IFTA, calculating mileage for every state can be done through two simple equations:

Total miles were driven in a member state ÷ Overall fuel mileage = Fuel Consumed in that state

Overall Fuel mileage = Total number of miles driven ÷ Total Gallons of fuel consumed

However, there are several cloud-based fleet management applications that are efficient and accurate in keeping a record of fuel consumption data. Matrack Incorporation’s new product MA-ELD Classic is an FMCSA – approved ELD that comes with several features that help in calculating fuel consumption easier, as it records data for duty status, GPS tracking, miles traveled, and more on a single platform.

  • The applicable rate of Fuel Tax: Fuel tax for each state can be different, and also vary for every quarter. International Fuel Tax Association website gives a detailed chart of fuel tax applicable on various types of fuel, in each state, for every quarter.
  • Final Calculation: To calculate the actual amount of fuel tax, the following formula can be used:

Fuel Tax required to be paid – fuel tax already paid = fuel tax owed

Fuel tax paid to the state is mentioned in the receipt or invoice of fuel purchase.

It is important to remember that the equations mentioned above might require adjustments based on certain IFTA regulations that might be applicable to certain vehicles or under certain conditions. For example, adjustments for taxable miles, taxable gallons of fuel consumed and surcharges must be taken into account as per the rules of each jurisdiction.

Using Matrack Incorporation Fleet management software for IFTA calculations

As soon as IFTA was adopted for interjurisdictional fuel tax calculations and reporting, Matrack updated all its applications to comply with rules and support IFTA regulations. Our solution makes it easier to calculate the mileage, fuel use, taxable miles and gallons, and the fuel tax for separate states. Here is how:

  1. Login to the dashboard: Once you login with your unique login id and password, you are welcomed by the dashboard. On the left side of it, there is a vertical menu, with the last item for ‘Reports’. Under Reports, you can find IFTA report.
ifta
  • IFTA report: When you click on the menu for IFTA report, you will see a pop-up form as shown in the picture below. Here you are required to enter data regarding the dates for which you want to generate the report, together with the vehicle identification, type of fuel, states travelled, total gallons purchased, and the number of non-taxable miles.
ifta
  • Final Tax Report: Once you submit the data, the report is generated under IFTA Report Status.
ifta

When you click ‘View’ a new tab with a PDF version of the IFTA Tax report opens. It gives detailed information for total distance traveled within a state, including taxable and non-taxable. It also gives information on fuel purchased and used, and the amount of net taxable fuel. At the bottom of the report, the amount of refund or tax to be paid is mentioned.


ifta

The above report is generated based on the information collected and recorded by our GPS application. Using a Matrack Incorporation Fleet Management application and hardware makes calculating for IFTA efficient, easy and accurate. It also helps save a lot of time, otherwise spent in the manual collection of data, recording, and calculation of traveled miles, gallons of fuel used, taxable fuel and total tax.

To know more about our products and services that are best suited to your operations and requirements, reach as on matrackinc.