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CFN: Everything You Need to Know

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 8, 2019, 8:40:19 AM / by Piper Bloom

CFN Fuel Card Image_Dark BlurFor businesses that are considering a fuel card program, the term CFN has probably come up in searches and conversations. For fleets of all sizes, this is one of the most popular fuel card options to consider. It supports businesses along the West Coast and provides discounts at over 3,000 locations. To learn more about how a CFN fuel card program can save you time and money, reach out to P-Fleet today!

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What is CFN?

CFN is short for the “Commercial Fueling Network” and is one of the largest membership-based fuel programs in the United States. Established in 1988 with the goal of providing business services and discounts to fleets of all sizes, CFN is comprised of over 200 independent partners. Collectively, the partners service over 650,000 businesses and over 3.5 million active cardholders across the United States. The program provides access to discount fuel sites, primarily on the West Coast. At over 3,000 locations, members can purchase fuel at either cost-plus or retail-minus pricing, allowing members to save money on fuel and run their business smoothly.

 

What Industries Typically Use CFN?

Though any business can utilize discounted fuel, trucking, distributors, manufacturers and construction companies can experience the full benefits of the program. Trucking companies and distributors and manufacturers that operate their own trucks benefit from the fuel sites that are designed for large vehicles, and construction companies can use dyed diesel to eliminate on-road taxes up front. However, any company that has over $1,000 in fuel spend every month is a prime candidate to become a customer and save money at the pump.

 

Which Companies Issue Cards for CFN?

The CFN Fuel Card Program is essentially a partnership between The Commercial Fueling Network (CFN) as a whole and those who provide their cards. The Commercial Fueling Network maintains the network infrastructure, authorizes transactions and acts as a clearing house between card issuers and merchant sites. Fuel card issuers offer this card to their clients and provide the customer service, billing, customized card controls, and reporting. This is similar to the model of any other credit card. The large name brands (like Visa or MasterCard) set up agreements with the merchants and work to ensure their card is accepted across the globe. Then banks or other financial institutions can provide their own versions of this card, complete with specialized rewards or incentives. This partnership expands the reach of each card and provides additional options for consumers.

 

How Do I Pick the Best Fuel Card Issuer?

Since all card issuers offer access to the same locations, your focus should be on the customer service and supporting services of your vendor. An easy way to help narrow down your search is to look for fuel card reviews of each provider, as this will help you learn more about their reputation and customer experiences.

 

How Much Do Customers Typically Save?

Since prices are based on the current fuel costs in each area, it is difficult to give a precise estimate. Customers in states with high fuel prices (like California) typically experience the biggest savings. Our California data from 2018 shows an average savings of 32 cents per gallon compared to retail pricing and 35 cents per gallon compared to truck stop pricing. For estimates in your area, along with a list of sites along your routes, reach out to a fuel card provider today!

 

What Are the Industry-Leading Controls?

Customers gain access to industry-leading purchase controls, which are essential to running a business smoothly. The most comprehensive is the ability to lock out products that your company vehicles cannot use. For example, if you operate only diesel trucks, you can customize your controls to “diesel only.” This eliminates the possibility that drivers will use their cards to fuel personal vehicles. However, retail and truck stop sites within the CFN and extended Fleetwide network do not have this capability, since most retail sites use multi-product dispensers. Because of this, the dispenser has no way of knowing which product has been selected, as they all come from the same place. If you use the extended Fleetwide network, we still recommend keeping product controls on your card, but you should pay more attention to purchases at retail sites and truck stops since they don’t have these useful product controls.

 

What Are the Benefits of CFN Sites?

In additions to the many  locations along the west coast and the savings per gallon, these sites are also created especially for businesses. Their locations are designed specifically for large commercial vehicles and provide overhead clearance, space to accommodate wide turns, and high-speed fueling pumps to quickly get drivers back on the road. They also have much less traffic than retail locations with almost no cars or personal vehicles, since only commercial customers are allowed to fuel there. All of these features, combined with pay at the pump and security cameras, allow your drivers to refuel quickly and safely.

 

What Are Cardlocks?

Cardlock is a term that is often used to describe a CFN site. They are unattended fuel sites that are designed for commercial vehicles. A cardlock fuel program is a fuel card that allows users to access these facilities.

 

Where Can I Find These Sites?

Though there are additional locations across the United States, discount sites are primarily located in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, and Utah. When you compare the number of cardlock sites to truck stops in these states, it becomes clear how numerous they really are:

 

State

CFN Stations

Truck Stops

Arizona

51

50

California

536

116

Idaho

118

64

Nevada

62

27

Oregon

123

33

Utah

47

73

Washington

205

37

Total

1142

400

 

There are nearly 4 times more CFN locations than there are truck stops in these 7 western states. This is because CFN has many fuel sites in major metro areas across the West where there is a lack of truck stops.

Since they cater to businesses as well as truckers, these sites are located plentifully along major highways and surrounding major industrial areas and cities. For example, there are only three truck stops in the San Francisco/Oakland metropolitan area, compared to 27 CFN sites. The Los Angeles area is much the same, as it only has 10 truck stops compared to 22 CFN locations. Along the I-5 (which connects Los Angeles and San Francisco), the totals are similar, with 31 truck stops and 34 CFN fuel locations. For businesses that operate along the West Coast, it is typically easier to find CFN sites than truck stops for this reason.

 

Can I Purchase Dyed Diesel?

If your company utilizes off-road or dyed diesel, you are a prime candidate for membership. Traditional gas stations tend not to offer this fuel, as they must take on the responsibility of confirming that each customer has completed proper paperwork with the state and federal governments. However, a commercial program makes it much easier to offer dyed diesel fuel to participants. After paperwork is filed, your paperwork is linked to your account so drivers can easily obtain dyed diesel for your vehicles. Check this list of CFN dyed diesel sites by city and state to help your drivers find dyed diesel in your area.

 

What Is CFN Fleetwide?

The traditional CFN program only provides access to 3,000 discount locations on the West Coast. To help support companies that need additional locations, the Fleetwide fuel program provides access to a further 57,000 locations across the country. These gas stations and truck stops include major brands like Pilot, Love’s, Fuelman, Chevron, Circle K, Speedway, Texaco, Sinclair, Kum & Go, MAPCO, Murphy USA, and more, ensuring that you can refuel across the country.

 

Resources for Members

CFN Site Locator

CFN Dyed Diesel Sites by City and State

Full List of CFN Sites in California

Full List of CFN Sites in Oregon

Full List of CFN Sites in Washington

 

Conclusion

CFN is a network of commercial fuel sites for which specific member companies can issue fuel cards to customers.  If your company is in search of fuel discounts, reporting, and controls, the CFN program can be the perfect fit. If you are interested in learning about how your company can benefit, contact us today!


Topic: CFN Fuel Cards

Piper Bloom

Written by Piper Bloom