Skyrocketing Gas Prices Benefit Credit Card Companies

ATLANTA,None — As of Wednesday, metro Atlanta drivers pay $3.72 per gallon for regular unleaded on average, according to AAA. That's up almost 30 cents from a month ago.

High gas prices are tough on commuters, but good for oil companies and one other business that might be overlooked. Credit card companies benefit because they earn a percentage of each fill-up charge.

The oil supply is actually up, and yet so are prices.

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"Fifty-mile-plus round trip, over $110 a week. Easy," driver John Kusch told Channel 2's John Bachman.

Experts blame speculators and the futures market. Oil companies and credit card companies watch the numbers turn. Credit card companies receive about eight to 10 cents for each gallon purchased.

"Although it doesn't show up on your statement, it shows up in the price of gasoline because retailers pay anywhere from 2 to 3 percent of the purchase to credit card companies when you use plastic," said Jim Tudor of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores.

Contrary to what many drivers may believe, gas stations don't rejoice over skyrocketing gas prices, Tudor said.

WSB-TV Inside QT "Our customers think we're making all this money, and we're some of the first people they get angry at," he told Bachman.

Tudor said high gas prices discourage drivers from spending money on other items sold at gas station convenience stores. Bachman found a Quicktrip in southeast Atlanta offering free pastries to lure customers inside.

"Gasoline is not where we make profit, so if all of your money is spent at the gas pump, our model doesn't work," Tudor said.

He said drivers will likely soon see discounted prices for cash users.