Gas prices are on the rise again. The average price of gas is $3.77 (as of 4/11/11) and companies are looking for any excuse to raise prices even more. The market is so volatile right now, it seems like every time a Middle Eastern dictator has a loose stool, the price goes up another dime.
Everyone is well aware of this problem. However, there is another issue related to gas prices that no one is talking about. I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in this country, or at least in the area where I live. It’s getting harder and harder to find a gas station that doesn’t charge higher prices for customers who pay with a credit card.
These gas stations are very subtle about it. You may not even notice. But if you look closely, there are often two sets of prices at the pump—and the higher one is for customers using credit cards. You may not realize this as you pull into the station, because the sign visible from the street only reflects the cash price.
Let me tell you something that is fairly obvious. This is FUCKING BULLSHIT.
This is just another way for oil companies to continue to nickel-and-dime you. I’m well aware that credit card companies also charge the merchant a percentage of the sale paid for with a credit card. These oil companies may claim they are trying to offset that cost by charging a surcharge. However, in just about any other business, credit cards are considered a trade-off worth having because merchants will earn more business by accepting credit cards.
Personally, I rarely carry a lot of cash on me. Most of the time, I don’t have more than 50 bucks on me. If I have any more than that, then my wife will usually hit me up for some of it. So I never pay cash at the gas station. It’s also just easier to pay at the pump than have to walk inside and wait on line to pay the cashier. If a gas station only accepted cash I wouldn’t bother filling up there and I’m sure I am not the only one who feels this way. They should be welcoming people who pay with credit cards!
I really hope this trend does not extend to other businesses. Will it be long before I have to pay a credit card fee at the supermarket, at restaurants and any other place that credit cards are accepted?
We may not be able to control the overall price of gas but at least we can refuse to put up with these extra charges. If you can avoid it, don’t go to the gas stations that have credit card surcharges. When their profits plummet, they’ll be forced to lower prices. Don’t be a liberal hippy and blame capitalism and big business for all your problems in life. Make capitalism work for you. There are still some stations that don’t charge two different prices. From what I’ve seen in my area, ExxonMobil and Shell charge credit card surcharges, while Gulf and Hess do not (I’m not sure if this is the case throughout the country).
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