Has the way we buy gas been affected by using credit cards at pumps?

When I started buying gas (about 10 years ago) I would usally do so in certain dollar amounts: $5, $10, or whatever I had in my wallet. However, I’ve noticed that once I started driving again after using public transportation throughout college, I always fill up my tank. My thinking goes along the line of “I’m using my credit card here at the pump so I don’t have to walk to the clerk, wait in line, etc., so I don’t have to try to time the gassing to end on a round amount.”

Is consistently filling up a new-ish trend, or were my dollar amounts something common to teen-agers living paycheck to paycheck?

I just eventually found it is faster and easier to go ahead and fill 'er up- plus I have more money now.

I’d like to piggyback/hijack.

Why do I have to “remove my card quickly”?

An observation: In the blue-collar working-class end of town where I live, the button on the Pay-At-The-Pump gas pump for “Cash Inside” is worn out and barely legible, whereas “Credit Here” and “Credit Inside” still look practically new.

I would routinely get $5 worth of gas when I was in high school and soon after. I don’t think I ever filled the tank until my shiny new debit card arrived at the ripe ol’ age of 20. But, if the owners of the Crown station around the corner are listening, put credit card swippers on the pumps and you’ll have a new customer. Get with the times.

Of course, filling up the tank every time is going to save a bit of money, since you are making the trip to the gas station less and using a bit less gas. I doubt it’s significant, though.

I’m not sure this is indicative of relative use. I know that on all of the gas pumps I’ve used, you don’t actually have to press the Credit Here button. All you do is swipe your card and start pumping. Credit Inside would most likely be used by people who either can’t get the card to swipe or are buying something else, probably not a huge population.
As an aside to the OP, most of the stations around here have to gone to pre-pay only for anything other than a credit card at the pump.
Bruce_daddy I’ve always wondered the same thing!

Bruce, you have to remove the card quickly because pulling the card out = swiping the card through the card reader. The reader needs a swift, even swipe to work. Too slow, or herky-jerky will give a bad read. Pulling out the card fast is counter-intuitive, so it needs to be spelled out. People who don’t do the swipe-thing often might figure, “Oh, better pull my card out real slow – like driving through the EZ Pass lane – so the machine has no trouble reading my card.” Not good.

It’s actually a badly-worded instruction because people could take it to mean that they have to take the card out as soon as they put it in, which is not really what they’re trying to tell you. But I suppose it works for most people.

Makes sense. Thankyouverymuch.

I’d bet it’s also designed that way to help people avoid driving away and leaving their card in the machine.

Personally, I would almost always have been inclined to fill up the tank when getting gas. So the real question is: “Why would I normally round it to an even amount?” And the answer, for me, is because of all of the places where you have to pay first. It was just easier, quicker, and simpler to hand the clerk a bill (or small number of bills), and fill until you hit that amount.

So, now why do I fill it up as per your question? Because it is just as simple to fill it up, now that I use a card and don’t have to pay in advance. In fact, it is a tiny bit simpler to fill it up, letting the pump stop when full instead of watching the amount.

I guess my basic answer, then, is: laziness.

I completely agree with the OP. Further, I won’t get gas anywhere that doesn’t have “pay at the pump” because I can’t stand being stuck in line behind some scumbag trying to con the cashier into taking food stamps for cigarettes. Also, I won’t leave the car unattended with the kid in the back

Usually I just insert a card without hitting “credit” buttons, even if they’re present – the machines just kind of assume I’m going to use credit.

When I was younger (i.e., paycheck to paycheck), I put in what I could. I tried to fill it up whenever I could if I could, because I always knew I’d just last that much longer before I had to make the expenditure again.

Since pay at the pump has become so popular (coincident with my becoming a good little consumer who makes money and uses plastic) I never, ever go inside unless to pickup milk or cigarettes (yeah, yeah, I know) – that’s when “Credit Inside” becomes used – if that; many times it’s enough to just do nothing, and wait for the clerk to activate the pump, despite the presence of buttons.

Also, since paying with just plastic, I don’t worry about getting a round number. Who really cares, since there won’t be any time waiting for the clerk to count it out.

How about you other states? In Michigan, gas stations charge the same for cash or credit, so I guess the buttons just don’t matter. But I recall going through Indiana in the past and seeing “Price Reflects Cash Discount.” I though that was illegal in Michigan, and certainly against credit card vendor agreements. So, in other states, is there a reason for the machine to know cash or credit if you’re paying inside?

What really drives me nuts is the places that don’t accept credit cards at all – get into the 20th century (and we’re in the 21st).

This might be a slight hijack but I think the real question is, how much has it affected the sales of other products. Instead of going in and waiting in line users dont even have to leave their car. To me this would affect the amount of impulse buys surrounding the registers and therefore slightly lower income. Just a thought!

Good point rayray. I bet this would be very interesting to examine when you compare total sales at gas stations with the pay-at-the-pump option vs. without. As several people have already stated, they won’t even go to gas stations where they have to go inside, so there’s no chance for making an impulse purchase and they’re losing gas sales, too.

I have always had/used a CC for gas since I could drive. I have always filled it up because I hated stopping to get gas and wanted to delay it as long as possible.

Also I hate when (in full service situations) they pump it up to the next dollar, it makes matching the recepts harder. If I am pumping and it lets off at a whole number I will pump a little more just to aviod it.

I have also bypassed cheaper stations to get a pay at the pump as I don’t want to wait in line, especially waiting for such addicts as smokers and lottery players.

First off, you never get anywhere near the gas pump. It’s way down underground, in the station’s tank. You stick your card in the reader mounted on the dispenser.
To the OP;
The oil companies are aware that most people are likely to fill up when using a card, credit or debit. They like it that way. I’m not really sure why, but I guess for the same reason any retailer prefers larger sales. More money now, I suspect.
All I know is that it’s convenient as hell for me.

Inside the card reader is a magnetic read head that converts changes in a magnetic field into electricity, making a signal that looks sort of like a sound wave. You create that changing magnetic field by swiping the card. If you pull slowly, (1) the field isn’t changing very dramatically, so the electrical signal coming from the head is weak and can get lost in the background noise, and (2) you’re more likely to pull unevenly, so the signal will be distorted - where you pulled slowly, the signal will be weaker and longer than where you pulled quickly.

I always use Pay-at-the-Pump (except, of course, when travelling through New Jersey :rolleyes: ), and I always tend to round up (usually to the nearest 25 cents). Just seems easier to keep records that way (I record fuel purchases)

Sporadically I get a soda from the mini-mart too (or just a soda if I don’t need fuel and I’m thirsty and there’s no 7-11 nearby), but other than fuel and soda I don’t buy anything at gas stations.

Gas Pump (esp. see synonyms).

I really hate to contradict mangeorge, who’s technically correct. We never get close to the machine called a pump which moves gasoline from one point to the other. But the device commonly called a “gas pump” is at least closer than, say, getting near a “pair of pumps.”