If you’ve noticed that advertised gas prices often differ from those that are actually at the pump, you’re not alone. Gas prices posted on gas station signs often advertise the lower price charged when customers are paying cash as opposed to a credit card. If you pay with a credit or debit card, you’re being charged a higher price.
It’s not only confusing but misleading and Broward County Commissioner Lois Wexler has asked the County Attorney’s office to see if an ordinance can be created that will protect consumers without increasing costs to gas station operators. One option under consideration is making gas station operators post the highest price charged at the pump.
“It’s about the consumer for me. If the consumer out there passes a gas station on the road and sees the price on the sign, they’ll have an idea before pulling in that it is the highest price they’re going to be charged, not the lowest,” said Commissioner Wexler.
Another option under consideration is to impose rules that would require gas stations to post signs for both the cash price and the price charged for those using a credit or debit card if the two prices differ.
“It’s a point well taken. By the time you’ve figured out that it’s a cash price on the sign, you’ve pulled in, put the hose in your car and then you see the price on the pump and it’s higher,” said Commissioner Chip LaMarca.
At least one constituent asked Commissioner Wexler to look into the practice. “As I’m asking people, they’re saying it happens all the time. Now I’m looking at all these gas station signs and finding out how prevalent it is. They got me just last week. I paid ten cents more,” Wexler said.
“Me too,” said Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness. “Pulled in, starting pumping the gas and realized the cash price difference.”
Commissioner Sue Gunzburger said the first time it happened to her, she got angry, stopped the pump and drove to the gas station across the street. “I was furious, so I filled up next door. I think it’s an excellent idea.”
Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs said she was surprised to learn that a debit card is not considered cash. “I saw the sign posted was for cash and I thought using my debit card was the same as cash, but it’s not. They treat it as credit. So the price is still wrong.”
The County Attorney’s office expects a draft ordinance for Commissioners to review in the fall.