Thursday, June 19, 2008

Paper or Plastic?

Some gas stations in South Florida are giving discounts for customers who pay with cash instead of credit cards.

John Rudolph is tired of watching credit-card companies eat his lunch.

Rudolph, who owns four South Florida gas stations, marks up his fuel by no more than 10 cents per gallon. Then he pays an average of 2.2 percent — almost nine cents a gallon — to the firms. That leaves him a penny, and he hasn’t even paid his overhead.


So two weeks ago, he started offering a six-cent-a-gallon cash discount at his Shell station at Broward Boulevard and University Drive in Plantation. He plans to offer a 10-cent cash discount at his Mobil station at Sunrise Boulevard and Nob Hill Road. He also plans to introduce an eight-cent discount at his two stations in Naples.

I top off my tank once a week and use a debit card. This week I spent $41.27. If I can knock a few bucks off that by adding a stop at the ATM, I’d consider it. But for people who drive a lot more than I do, it’s problematic — if not dangerous — to be carrying around a wad of cash to fill up.