ARAL FUEL CARD - QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Why has the Fuel Card being introduced?
We are continually looking at how we can improve the way in which we deliver services to the Germany population. This card provides easier access to cheaper fuel because there are less printing, handling and administrative costs.
Where can I use the Fuel Card?
You can use the Fuel card at all ARAL fuel stations in Germany.
Check https://www.aral-fuelcard.com/stationsfinder for a list of the current stations that accept the Fuel Card.
Why should I apply for a Fuel Card?
The Aral Fuel card is the way to access this tax free provision for Entitled Personnel stationed in Germany.
What benefits will the card bring to me?
The cost of fuel purchased through the card will be lower than through coupons. Depending on when you fill up, the cost could be significantly lower, up to €0.10 per litre on what you pay using coupons.
You will also be able to access tax free fuel as and when you need it rather than be confined to pre-purchasing via coupon selling points.
How do I get one?
Once you have accessed the online application formcomplete and submit it.
If you do not have access to a computer, speak to your RAO or Unit Welfare Office who will assist you..
Why is there a charge for the FuelCard?
From 1 Jan 18 a one-off charge of €50 will be introduced for all new ARAL fuel card applications. The one-off charge will apply to each new card application, but this will cover your vehicle for as long as it is registered to you and with GEO. Since the introduction of the ARAL fuel card in 2013, the administrative costs for the service have been absorbed by funds from the old Fuel Coupon system. These funds have now been exhausted, and it has become necessary to introduce a fee to ensure the system remains financially sustainable. This will allow personnel to continue to enjoy the privilege of Tax Free fuel.
The charge will be raised for:
- Cards produced for applications submitted on or after 1 Jan 2018.
- Replacements for lost cards.
- Replacements for destroyed or damaged cards.
- Replacements for stolen cards.
There will be no charge for:
- Cards requiring a name change as a result of marriage.
Any other requests for a no charge replacement card are to be referred to OC VLO, GEO for consideration.
It has been estimated that even for a small car you will only need to refill twice before the card has in effect paid for itself.
You will be asked to pay the fee when you collect the card.
How long will I wait for a Fuel Card?
The longest most people will wait for an AFC is 2 weeks.
There are occasional delays, usually down to a German public holiday and/or the distribution company employed by Aral. GEO will always strive to have your card delivered to as soon as possible though the date we take receipt of them is occasionally out of our hands.
When can I apply for my AFC?
The answer to that question is…it depends. Yes, if you are importing a brand new car to Germany then by all means, ring your dealer in the UK a couple of weeks before you are due to collect your new vehicle, get the UK DVLA Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) from them and use it to apply for your AFC. Your card will then hopefully be available for you to collect on the same day you register your vehicle with GEO. If however you are arriving in Germany with an older car, then you will not be able to apply in advance, you will be given a new VRN when you register with the VLO. Only then, once you know your new VRN, will you be able to apply for the AFC.
Please note that you will under no circumstances be able to collect your AFC until the vehicle to which it relates is registered with GEO.
When and for how long will they be valid?
Your card will be issued to you by your local office. It will be valid from the day it is issued to you until the date on which your vehicle ceases to be registered with the VLO, or 3 years, whichever is the earlier date. You are able to see the expiry date when you log into your account. If this needs to be changed you are to inform the VLO office who will then contact the ARAL Fuel Card office to change the expiry date. A new card will not be needed so no charge.
Who can be included on the card?
The card is tied to each vehicle, not to a person, and therefore anyone who the owner permits to drive the vehicle can be included on the card. However, everyone on the card must be an Entitled Person and be entitled to drive a GEO registered vehicle.
What happens if I lose my card?
You need to declare it lost to your local VLO office who will arrange for it to be cancelled. You will then have to apply for a new card in order to obtain tax free fuel with an explanation in the text of the email.
Who owns my card?
The card remains the property of ARAL. If the fuel station confirms a misuse of the card or that the card is blocked for whatever reason they are within their right to confiscate the ARAL card. If this happens you must inform this office soonest.
Can I use the card to pay for my fuel, like a credit card?
No. The Fuel Card is a ration card, like an electronic version of a NAAFI ration card. It has no monetary value, cannot be used to purchase anything and cannot be used to collect loyalty points. So, when you use your Fuel Card, you will also need to have a method of payment: cash, credit card or debit card.
Is there a limit to how much fuel I can buy in a month?
Yes. The monthly ration limit that is shown on your current Form 73(A) (Registration Card) will transfer to your card. There will be no change to your vehicle’s basic fuel ration per month.
The Zollamt (German customs) will ask that any one time fill in excess of 95 litres be investigated and a reply to be given at the following month audit.
A maximum of 60 litres, by law, is allowed to be carried in the rear of the vehicle. All tax free fuel carried in the rear of your vehicle must be used within Germany and not to be transported across the border.
How do I know what my ration balance is?
ARAL will email you details of your card account, enabling you to log on and see the transactions you have made and the balance after each transaction.
What if I don’t have access to the internet?
You will see your balance printed on the invoice you will receive from the service station cashier when you use your card.
Why do I have to give my email address on the application form?
If you give your email address on your application form, ARAL will be able to email you your account details and password for you to access you account online. If you do not provide an email address, this information will have to be posted to the Coupon Selling Clerk at your nearest Station Admin Office for you to collect. This will take longer but it will not delay your card being issued.
Can I carry over my unused monthly entitlement into the next month?
No. The German Federal Government have stipulated that one of the conditions attached to GEO being allowed to move away from coupons is that rations are zeroed at the end of each month and cannot be carried over into the next month. The same condition already applies to coupons, in that if you have only bought 100 litres worth of a 400 litre monthly ration, you can’t then buy 700 litres the following month.
How will my ration be credited to my card?
ARAL will automatically load your card with your vehicle’s monthly ration at 00:01 hrs on the first day of each month, and your entitlement will be zeroed at 23:59 hrs on the last day of each month.
Why is the unit address in the drop down box of the application form not my actual unit?
The address in the drop down box will be the local office most convenient to you, and not the address of the unit you happen to be serving with.
Can my wife/husband and I get one card each for our car?
No. As with the current system the card is tied to a vehicle, not an individual. Therefore there will be one card per vehicle but you and your spouse can have your names on the card of each vehicle, and if you only have one car, you will only get one card.
I own two vehicles; do I get a card for each vehicle?
Yes. The card is tied to the vehicle and not an individual. If you own two vehicles, and hold a Form 73(A) (Registration Card) for each vehicle, you can apply for a card for each vehicle.
Can I use the card from one vehicle to refuel another vehicle if they are both, say, diesel?
No. In the same way that fuel coupons could not be used to fuel a different vehicle, you cannot use the card from one vehicle to fuel a different vehicle, as each card bears the Vehicle Registration Number of the vehicle it belongs to.
Can I use my current card with the new car I am buying next week?
No. In the same way that you cannot use coupons purchased for your old vehicle, once you de-register a vehicle with VLO, the ration on your card will be automatically zeroed and thereafter, you will not be able to use that card to access tax-free fuel. You will need to apply for another card for your new car once it has been BFG-ed and you are in possession of a Form 73(A) (Registration Card) for the new car.
What do I do when I get to the service station to fill up?
Refuel as normal but please note that an ARAL Fuel Card can only be used for a single transaction and not a dual transaction. For example: If you intend to fill with Diesel and Ultimate Diesel each fill must be done separately using the ARAL Fuel Card. A claim for a refusal of the ARAL Card will not be refunded by ARAL in cases of a dual transaction.
When you go to the payment counter, present your Fuel Card first and the cashier will swipe it and give you an invoice showing the amount and cost of the fuel you have put in your vehicle. Pay the invoice using cash, a debit card or a credit card, for which you will get a normal receipt.
Do I need to show ID when I use the card?
Yes, the cashier will want to ensure you are one of the people listed on the Fuel Card; otherwise you will not be able to access the fuel tax-free and will have to pay full price (as the fuel will already be in you tank).
Is it true I can get cheaper fuel at different times of the day?
Yes. The prices at a German service station can change up to 4 times a day, so you should keep an eye on the prices at your local station to identify the most expensive times, and the cheapest.
Why can I not chose to use my card in a Shell or Esso station, the way I can use my coupons?
The Federal Government has stipulated that as a condition of this scheme, only one fuel supplier is permitted to sell us tax-free fuel using an electronic rationing system. ARAL won the contract to supply Entitled Personnel.
What happens if I over-run on my monthly ration when I am filling up at a service station?
If you draw more than the amount left on your card, the cashier will split your purchase into two parts: the tax-free part and a tax-paid part. The cashier will give you an invoice for the tax-free part as usual and then charge you the balance at the cost per litre at the pump.
What happens if the service station cash register doesn’t recognise my Fuel Card and I end up having to pay the full tax-paid price for my fuel?
ARAL have assured us that they will train all their staff so that this eventuality shouldn’t occur. However, if it does, please remember to ask for the refusal printout to be given to you with the receipt showing payment with tax. If there is no error slip then ask for a written explanation and complete the Fuel Card Refusal Form. and upload images of both.
Will the card be accepted at autobahn Tank & Rast stations?
No, Tank & Rast have stated that they wish to be included in the scheme but at this moment in time they are not.
What is the process of handing the card back when I am posted out of Germany?
Once you have de-registered your vehicle, the ration will be automatically zeroed and the card will be worthless. You should cut it up and dispose of it as you would an out of date credit or debit card.
When I sell my car, do I have to hand in my card, or does it stay with the vehicle?
Once you sell your car and de-register it, your card will be zeroed and worthless. Do not pass it on to the person buying your vehicle. You should cut the card up and dispose of it as you would an out of date credit or debit card.
What happens if I fill up but then realise that I don’t have the Fuel Card with me?
If you refuel without being in possession of the Fuel Card issued for that vehicle, you will have to pay the full tax-paid price to the service station and you will not be allowed to reclaim the tax afterwards. You are advised to keep the card with the vehicle.
Can I use my PayBack Card?
No. If used there will be no entitlement to a refund.
Can I use an ARAL station outside Germany?
No. Although there are some service stations in the BP network operating under the ARAL name, in the same way that current fuel coupons cannot be used outside of the Federal Republic of Germany, these stations cannot and will not accept your Fuel Card; it can only be used with ARAL stations inside the Federal Republic of Germany.