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Are you paying more for gas than you think?

Some gas stations advertise prices based on a cash discount. But that's not always clear to credit card users. Pay attention and don't get surprised at the pump.

By MSN Money Partner Aug 26, 2013 4:36PM

This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News. 


MSN Money partnerCash or credit card? The price at the pump can vary quite a bit, and depending on where you live, the price on the sign could be for either one.


Filling fuel tank © CorbisThe difference is usually about 5 to 10 cents a gallon, but a Long Island, N.Y., gas station recently displayed a price reflecting a cash discount of 70 cents, Consumer Reports says. Last year a $1 difference was spotted at several Long Island gas stations, according to Newsday. Even if you buy just a few gallons, that could add up fast.


This gets tricky for consumers. Most consumers (65%) choose to visit a gas station based on the display price, a National Association of Convenience Stores study finds. So what if you fill up and then find out you're being charged the higher, credit card price?


Almost half of consumers (46%) in the study strongly agreed with the statement, "I would pay with cash to save 5 cents per gallon."


Want other ways to save on gas? CR has a few tips:

  • Don't rely too much on website prices. They generally don't indicate whether prices are for cash or credit.
  • Do some math. If you have a card that gets cash-back rewards on gas, the station's cash discount may not be worth it. "At 5% back on $4 gasoline, the rebate translates to 20 cents a gallon. If a station's credit price is 10 cents higher than for cash (or $4.10 a gallon), using your card -- after taking into account the rebate -- would leave you paying a hair under $3.90 a gallon, compared to $4 a gallon with cash," CR says.
  • Check debit card prices. Some stations have a separate discount for debit card users, but they're generally charged the credit card price.

Have you found a gas station charging more than you expected?


More on Money Talks News:

1Comment
Aug 27, 2013 7:37AM
avatar
I very rarely see a cash/card difference anywhere.
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