February 9, 2023
BALTIMORE – A Maryland Senator is lobbying to pass a bill that will increase transparency when it comes to gas prices, and making gas stations clearly display both cash and credit.
The Maryland Senate held a hearing Thursday on a bill that will make gas station price signs a little bit easier to understand.
Maryland Senator Cheryl Kagan is sponsoring the Gas Price Gouging Act which would require gas stations to post the price of gas when purchased with a credit card.
The Senator said this bill will limit what she calls “bait and switch” and price gouging.
“It’s important for motorist to see both prices of cash and credit so that they know what they are paying before they get into the station,” said GasBuddy’s Patrick De Haan.
Due to transaction fees, gas stations often charge 5 to 20 cents more per gallon when you pay with credit or debit.
However, the number posted on the big signs are normally the cheaper cash option.
“As soon as I see the credit and the cash gas price, credit is off my mind,” driver Tony Callaway said. “I don’t even think about it no more, strictly cash.”
But according to AAA, nearly 90 percent of Marylanders rather pay with their card.
“The No. 1 use of pay day loans is to buy gasoline so as prices go up more Americans find it more difficult to buy a tank of fuel,” De Haan said.
With skyrocketing gas prices, drivers say transparency allows customers to make the best decision for them.
“Nowadays people are trying to watch their budgets and it would be helpful,” driver Betsy Davis said. “They would get loyal customers if they were honest and truthful about what they are charging.”
Some customers are banking on finding the cheapest price and loyalty incentives.
“I chose this gas station because I’ve been coming here for 10 years,” driver Mike Duvall said. “I didn’t even look at the price.”
“I’m looking for the cheapest price,” Callaway said. “The points are fine but if your price is cheaper after I get my points, I’m going with the cheapest price.”
Ten states have already passed similar transparency laws.
The bill was met with some push back from business owners.
If approved the Gas Price Gouging Act will take effect in October.