© Guardian photo by Heather Taweel
Wilson Fuel is one of the companies offering a break on the price per litre if customers pay with cash or credit.
While the days of cheap gasoline are long gone, motorist can still get a bit of a deal in P.E.I. thanks to discounts offered at some Island gas stations.
That's as long as they're willing to put their credit card away and pay with cash or debit.
Wilson Fuel is one of the companies offering a break on the price per litre if they pay with cash or credit and its vice-president David Collins said public response to the offer has been good.
"People understand it," he said.
Companies are able to offer the discount because the cost of processing credit card transactions has gone up as gas prices increased.
Credit card companies charge businesses a percentage of the sale for every transaction, which means the higher the price the more they pay and that leads to higher costs for the companies that with other types of transactions.
Collins said Wilson Fuel approached the Island Regulatory and Appeal Commission (IRAC) about offering the discount six or seven years ago, but didn't proceed because of issues with its credit card contract.
That has since changed and Wilson Fuel has been offering a two-cents per litre discount in P.E.I. for about two years.
"We approached them (IRAC) one more time and they said certainly, by all means," Collins said.
While the offer has been in place at some gas stations for years, Collins said it may be getting more attention lately because the company changed its signs, since the old ones didn't seem to resonate with consumers.
Now, at least with the Wilson Fuel stations, the prices are posted side-by-side on digital signs so consumers can compare them.
"Nothing like comparison shopping so it made it easier for consumers to make that decision," Collins said.
For Wilson Fuel, the discount has also been a better incentive than loyalty reward programs, which Collins said can be more expensive than offering a lower price option for gas.
"It was something that...we could implement and control so we did," he said.
Because IRAC regulates gas prices by setting a maximum and minimum at which retailers can sell their gas, those businesses have to notify the commission of the discount first.
Allison MacEwen, IRAC's director of regulatory services, said the posted price on the pump has to show the maximum and minimum prices, but there are conditions under which businesses can legally charge customers less then the lowest posted price.
He compared it to coupon promotions that some grocery stores run to give costumers a break on gas prices when they buy groceries.
MacEwen said it's an attempt to let retailers pass on some savings to their customers and allow for some competition.
"Hopefully consumers are the winners in these promotional events," he said.