Boston- In an effort to provide financial relief to both consumers and small business owners, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) has co-sponsored legislation authorizing gas station franchises to apply discount pricing to customers paying with cash.
“Consumers should be able to take full advantage of every viable cost saving strategy offered by management at the fuel pump,” said Downing. “This measure would help financially strapped drivers save money and can increase profits realized by small business owners without jeopardizing state resources. It makes perfect sense.”
The bill, An Act Concerning Adjustments to Certain Petroleum Products, filed by Rep. Barbara L’Italien (D- Andover) on July 10th, has more than two dozen co-sponsors and is currently pending before the House Committee on Rules.
Under the current system, gasoline franchise contracts ban large scale gasoline distributors and dealers from offering discounts for using particular methods of payment at the pump. The proposed measure would ban such prohibitions, allowing gas station owners to offer discounts to customers when paying by cash, check or debit cards. Independently owned stations are not subject to discount bans and already offer cash discounts.
Similar to a bill recently signed into law in Connecticut, this legislation offers both consumers and businesses financial reprieve without tapping state resources. Consumers could realize savings of up to seven cents per gallon and gas station owners would not be subject to the 2½ to 3% credit card transaction fee per gallon of gasoline sold.
While consumers are paying over $4.00 a gallon for gasoline, gas station owners are experiencing shrinking profit margins as they continually shell out thousands of dollars in credit card transaction fees.