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The Price of Gasoline and "Cash Only" versus Credit/Debit

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Since about this time in 2009 the price of a gallon of gasoline has just about doubled. When I am buying gasoline I often simply buy at the first station that has a reasonable price and takes debit/credit cards. But, with gasoline approaching four dollars a gallon I find myself taking advantage of the price difference at the "cash only" stations. In my town the best of those stations is currently .16/gallon cheaper than the stations that take debit/credit cards. I have a 20.5 gallon tank so that is $1.23 per tank and about $100 a year. It really doesn't sound like much but on a single-parent budget I'll take $100 anytime.
I do a lot of highway driving to get to the colleges where I teach. I have begun driving no faster than 60mph which has increased my gas mileage by almost 30%. A 30% increase in gas mileage has the same effect as paying $2.44 a gallon for gas at it's present price of $3.49 a gallon (again, in my town). So, by combining improved fuel efficiency through gentler driving with smarter buying of fuel I am achieving a significant savings per month.
I am not in position to buy a car with better fuel efficiency so I have to find the savings where I can.

erick99 posted Feb 15, 2012

What is the advantage of charging cash prices at gas stations? Is it so they won't have to pay for credit card transaction fees? And also to pay less taxes since cash payments have no records? I don't like the fact that there are two prices. Sometimes I am low on cash and end up paying more with my credit card. ;(

gangstabarbie (rep: 21k) posted Feb 15, 2012


I think it's mostly no transaction fees and no local bank fees as well.

erick99 (rep: 433k) posted Feb 15, 2012


Gas is at 4.10 a gallon where I live so I just hedged it by going long on oil commodities. If you don't have that much money, then buy an oil etf. Wait until oil drops to a comfortable price and buy into the etf the same amount you spend on gas during th year. Then ur hedged and will always pay the same price lol I don't understand why ppl don't do that

kffight3r (rep: 777) posted Feb 16, 2012


Since you don't have any brand loyalty there are some stations that charge the same price cash or credit. Charging will get you points on your CC if you have a rewards program. Granted 1% it may not be much but when they offer 5% back during cycles on gas purchases, it helps.
An alternate way to use CC for gas and rack up points on CC is to buy gas gift cards in supermarkets and use the gas cards as a CASH purchase at the gas station of that GC name. That way you save on the difference at the pump.

chuckydealpl (rep: 59.7k) posted Feb 16, 2012


chucky the gift card idea is great! i will have to consider that option. thanks!

gangstabarbie (rep: 21k) posted Feb 16, 2012