Maryland Bills Would Require Price Transparency At Gas Stations

February 8, 2023


Two bills in Maryland — one introduced in the state legislature and one in the Montgomery County Council — are aiming to bring more transparency to the pump.

On Tuesday, Montgomery County Councilmember Gabe Albornoz announced a bill that would require county gas stations to display the credit card price of regular gasoline. Current state law requires gas stations to display the lowest price of regular gasoline, which is usually what customers pay if they use cash. But gas stations can charge more if a customer chooses to use a credit card — an interchange fee that covers the cost gas station owners pay to the payment network. Under Albornoz’ bill, which has several co-sponsors, gas stations would be required to disclose the credit price for regular gas in addition to the cash price.

“We have all experienced that moment of noting the posted price of a gallon of gas, pulling up to the pump and then realizing that the credit price is much higher,” Albornoz wrote in a press release on Tuesday.

A public hearing on the legislation is scheduled for Feb. 28. Meanwhile, state lawmakers in the General Assembly will discuss a bill Thursday that would implement a similar practice at gas stations across the state. State senator Cheryl Kagan, a Democrat who represents parts of Montgomery County, introduced the Gas Price Gouging Act in January. The bill would require all gas stations in Maryland to post the price of gas when using a credit card. A hearing for the bill will take place in the Senate tomorrow, and if passed by the end of the legislative session this spring, the change would go into effect October 1, impacting the roughly 90% of Marylander drivers who pay for their gas with a credit or debit card.

According to the Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailing, credit card processing fees at gas stations can be about 2.5% of the total transaction price. With the average price of gas in Maryland currently around $3.76, that’s around $0.09 per gallon.