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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The price at the pump is getting higher every day, and a new study finds there is more than meets the eye.
NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuels Retailing, has uncovered that motorists are paying six to 10 cents a gallon in hidden bank fees every time they gas up. In addition, swipe fees increase along with the price of gas, even though banks are not doing anything extra to process the transaction.
Card fees have been an ongoing problem for convenience store operators, ranking as the largest operating expense after labor. Convenience stores paid more than $11 billion in card fees last year, a jump of almost 25 percent and an amount almost 90 percent greater than their profits, according to the trade association.
"These fees have come to be a tremendous burden on convenience stores, most of which are run by small business people," said Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations for NACS. "In many cases, the banks are profiting more from the sale of gas than our members."
As gas prices reached $4 a gallon in some markets, the banks' cut of the swipe fees ticked up to seven cents when motorists paid with a debit card and 10 cents when motorists used a credit card, according to NACS.
The study also found that gas prices increased 80 percent between 2004 and 2011, while card fees rose 180 percent.