You'd think gas stations are making a killing on $4 a gallon gas, but they are getting killed by swipe fees, according to a c-store trade group that is girding its loins to duke it out with banks.
The Oil Price Information Service recently reported gas stations took in 13 cents a gallon in gross profit -- before taxes, payroll and other overhead expenses -- during the first quarter of 2012. However, NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuels Retailing, puts the cost of selling gas around 15 cents a gallon. As a result, gas retailers lost approximately 2 cents per gallon during the same time period, according to the coalition. The 7-to-10-cent per gallon swipe fee every time a motorist pays for gas with a credit card gives banks a bigger piece of what drivers pay for a gallon of gas, the group added.
"To deflect attention from this, banks are misleading the public about their hidden credit and debit card swipe fees in a new advertising campaign. They want to convince the public that gas stations are sitting on a windfall when, in fact, many didn't even turn a profit last quarter in this hyper-competitive business," said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at NACS.