KENNEWICK, Wa.,--Gas prices are still rising, the average in the Tri-Cities' right now is $3.17 a gallon. Many people assume that retailers are laughing all the way to the bank. But what you may not realize is that gas station owners are also a paying a price for your convenience.
It's becoming a daily routine, pulling into a gas station, swiping your debit or credit card and waiting for the white receipt to print out. It's fast and convenient. Yet, your method of payment just cost the station a fee. One owner we spoke with said her station was charged $40,000 in credit card fees for 2006. And its only getting worse.
"As the price of gas goes up, the credit card fees that we pay are based on a percentage basis, not on a per gallon basis," said a gas station owner. So, it increases the fees substantially."
According to the National Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailers, credit-card fees are the third-largest expense at the store level. One local operator recognizes this cost and is doing something about it. Ron's Food Mart in Kennewick is offering customers who pay with cash a $.07 discount per gallon. One customer said the discount keeps him coming back.
"I come here every morning, get gas, i own my own business, so it makes a big difference," said customer.
These are some of the rates retailers are charged per gallon if you use your debit or credit card at the pump.
As the price of gas rises, so will these costs. Gas station owners say that its no longer fun to come to work anymore. Profit margins are getting worse with each day. These fees are crippling the industry, especially small business owners.