Fuel startup Gas Pos seeking headway into truck stop market

Photo Credit: Jim Allen/Freightwaves

A new virtual fuel payment network is looking to “turn the industry on its head” by using a cloud-based platform to drastically reduce the fuel card payment processing fees paid by truck stop operators.

Little Rock, Arkansas-based Gas Pos announced today at the National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO) conference in Orlando it is partnering with Twilio (NYSE: TWLO) to offer a less expensive method for truck stop owners to accept and process fuel card transactions through networks such as FleetCor’s Comdata and WEX subsidiary EFS.

“The annual fees paid to these networks for can equal the truck stop’s annual net profit,” Gas Pos CEO Joshua Smith told FreightWaves. Smith estimates that the average truck stop location will save over $40,000 per month.

“We are inspired everyday by the innovative ways companies use Twilio’s cloud communications platform to build great experiences for their customers,” said Jesper Joergensen, general manager of voice and video at Twilio. “Gas Pos is a great example of this.”

A fuel point-of-sale service, Gas Pos began operations in October 2016, and over the last year has been working on making headway into the truck stop and travel plaza market. The new product will be called “Steve” after a Fresno, California-based independent truck stop owner who became Gas Pos’ first customer.

“It’s been running in a beta mode for about a month now, and we’re getting ready to roll it out to half a dozen truck stops,” Smith said. “Our [point-of-sale] POS system is the guts of the product, which has been on the market for 18 months with hundreds of thousands of customers served.”

Gas Pos makes money by charging a $200 monthly fee to retailers for the use of its POS system, Smith said, in addition to a 2 percent charge for credit and debit card transactions.

With 70 current customers, Smith said the company is growing revenues by 20 percent month over month. It generated $70,000 in revenue in 2017, over a $1 million in 2018, and estimates over $5 million in revenue this year, on the strength of the truck stop product. Smith’s marketing plan is to be in 1,000 fuel retailers by the end of 2019.

“It’s something we would not have been able to do five years ago,” Smith acknowledged. Without cloud-based software, “we would have had to have been a registered telecommunications company, with servers costing tens of millions. But Twilio laid a foundation for us that we could build off.”

Officials from Comdata were not available when asked to comment. Last year the company began a new offering of its own,a fuel card that allows drivers to use it for personal purchases in addition to company-authorized expenses.

John Gallagher

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.