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WEX identifies cause of fuel card problems: Too much data

WEX said that a data limit issue within its IBM Informix system was the cause of fuel cards being shut off across the country today. (Photo: Shutterstock)

In a statement to customers this afternoon, WEX (NYSE: WEX) said issues with its fuel cards, including its EFS and FleetOne cards, were due to an unknown data limit issue within its IBM Informix system. The company sent the following message to its customers this afternoon:

“Last night we experienced an issue with our IBM Informix database where a ‘chunk’ of our tables and data exceeded the maximum Terabyte allowable by IBM.  This was an unknown limit by EFS/Fleet One and IBM and required significant troubleshooting by IBM to identify the problem.

“Unfortunately during that timeframe we were unable to process transactions for you, our customer. We have four (4) layers of redundancy and this expansion happened simultaneously to all four (4) EFS/Fleet One redundant systems which caused the issue and did not allow us to migrate to our secondary, tertiary and full DR systems.

“Measures have been put in place to avoid this unforeseen issue from happening in the future.

“We humbly apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you or your drivers and are happy to answer any questions that you may have.”

The failure shut off fuel purchases for truck drivers trying to use WEX’s cards.

In addition to the EFS cards, WEX produces the FleetOne card and cards for other providers as well, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). The outage appears to be affecting at least some of those cards, according to card users. It is unclear what the specific issue is, how widespread it is, and whether it is an intermittent problem or a complete outage.

OOIDA offers the Truckers Advantage Fuel Card, which uses WEX’s system. Norita Taylor, spokesperson for OOIDA, said the association is aware of the issue and still trying to determine its extent and what communications to members are necessary regarding the issue. Later in the day, Taylor said that transactions appeared to be going through again.

WEX Director of Public Relations Rob Gould sent FreightWaves the following statement:

“We are experiencing intermittent authorization issues on EFS and Fleet One cards at some of our locations. We have been and are continuing to actively work to solve the problem. In the meantime we humbly apologize for the inconvenience.”

However, social media users felt the company was not doing enough to communicate the problems, which some indicated began on Tuesday night.

Numerous postings by angry truck drivers on the EFS Facebook page indicated a lack of communication from the company. One poster said they spent 45 minutes on the phone waiting for a customer service representative only to be told there was no word on when the system would be back up and running. As of 12:48 p.m., another poster’s card was still not working, and others reported being unable to even log in to their accounts.

Another poster said a WEX sales rep told them an email would be sent out to all WEX customers affected once the problem was corrected.

Drivers reported sitting for hours in some cases at travel centers, unable to fuel their trucks. Some turned to other cards, while others waited. Unlike some situations such as adverse weather conditions where drivers may be able to extend their available daily driving hours, an FMCSA spokesperson said this situation would not classify as an emergency situation and therefore no additional drive time would be available.

By 3 p.m. this afternoon, Facebook users indicated the problem had mostly been resolved, although a few were still suggesting their fuel cards were not working.

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  1. Anthony

    I’ve yet to see mention of how this outage has affected larger fleets such as ours who rely on said data for fuel transactions and reporting to import into our respective TMS. As of 10:00pm CST their website remains down for reporting and any clients using FTP servers for fuel data import are unable to do so. This has resulted in significant headaches in processing driver settlements and could lead to a delay in paychecks. This, coupled with the aforementioned lack of communication, has caused an unbelievable headache for customers such as us and will result in seeking other options moving forward.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected].