Don’t Get Squeezed at Gas Pumps

Gas prices are on the rise again  In addition to the increasing actual prices of more than 25¢ per gallon over the past couple of weeks, you must pay close attention so you don’t pay more for gas than you expect to pay.

Many gas stations use a clever method of advertising their gas prices on station signage.  Many stations now have cash vs. credit price advertised.  The cash price is usually 5-10¢ cheaper per gallon than the credit price.  This change is easier to spot at the new stations that have electronic signs that flash the alternate prices.  However, some stations without electronic signage will have the cash price posted with large fixed numbers and then under the large numbers will be “cash price” in small letters.  Unfortunately, motorists pull into those stations, pay with a credit card, and find the price to be higher than expected.

I recently found what I believe to be a scam and think you need to know about it.  If the station you pull into has cash vs. credit system, you should be aware that some credit cards qualify for the lower cash price.  At a local station, I purchased gas using a credit card that had the gas brand logo imprinted on the front of the card which meant I qualified for the cash price.  As I began fueling, I noticed on the pump that the lower gas price was not reflected.  After filling my tank, I went inside to the attendant to report the overcharge.  The attendant sheepishly apologized telling me that something was wrong with the card reading device and gave me $2.00 back out of the cash drawer.  Driving away, I wondered how much extra money this station was making each day on overcharges.

If you want to avoid being squeezed at the pump, I recommend the following:

1.  Closely examine station signs to see if cash vs. credit price is advertised.

2.  Examine the actual gas pump to see if cash vs. credit notice is posted.

3.  If you are paying by credit card, examine your card to see if it is an “authorized” card for that brand of gas.

4.  In addition, examine any notices posted on the pump to see if the card you are using actually qualifies at the station for the cash price.

5.  Pay attention to the price you are actually paying per gallon on the pump and on any receipt.

6.  If you think you are being overcharged, make sure you get a printed receipt so you have proof of the overcharge.

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