Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Watch those pump prices when using credit cards

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Greg Peck
September 18, 2013

I was listening to Clark Howard on WCLO while running a noon errand Tuesday and caught his explanation about how he pulled into a gas station and planned to buy using a credit card. Before starting to pump, however, he discovered that he would pay 50 cents more—yes, 50, not 5—per gallon to use his credit card. He drove off without pumping.

Howard said an editor of Consumer Reports almost paid an even more staggering sum—70 cents more.

Gas stations, Howard says, are allowed to charge customers who use credit cards more to help offset fees the credit companies charge. That amounts to about 2 percent, or perhaps six or eight cents per gallon. To charge 50 or even 70 cents more and not post that prominently on those large signs that motorists can read as they approach stations, Howard suggests, amounts to gouging customers.

I would agree. Maybe no stations around here resort to such tactics. Howard's warning, however, is worth considering if you plan to take a trip by car—as my wife and I do—anytime this fall. It's best to check for any signs at the pump about markups for credit-card users before you start it.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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