Limits on gas purchases?

Published 9:18 pm Monday, June 23, 2008

By Staff
Who knew there would come a day when credit card companies would limit what you could spend on gas?
I realize there are credit limits that are supposed to keep you from spending more money than they think you can repay. I also realize there are some companies who place daily spending limits on cards to prevent overspending by thieves. But I never thought I'd see the day when they would put a limit on what you can spend at the pump.
Just the other day as I was purchasing my $72 worth of gas, I read a sticker that had been placed on the gas pump.
The sticker instructed the gas buyer that if they were using a credit card, they would be unable to purchase more than $75 on certain cards and only $90 on another if they were paying at the pump.
Those limits might be reasonable for those folks who drive compact cars or motorcycles. However, for those folks who continue to drive minivans, SUVs and trucks, may have a little trouble filling up at the gas pump with those limits.
A friend of mine recently explained she had spent nearly $95 to fill up her tank. Yes, she does drive an SUV. And in the big scheme of things, she's only paying $20 more for a tank of gas than I do in my minivan.
If my friend had attempted to use her VISA, MasterCard or Discover card at the pump, she wouldn't have been allowed to buy a full tank of gas. In order to fill her vehicle up, she would have had to make two separate purchases - one for $75, which is the limit for those cards, and an additional $20 purchase.
I expect notices like those stickers on the gas pump will probably be popping up all over the place in the coming weeks.
As the price of gasoline increases so does the price of everything else. It's simple math, really. If it costs more to process (electricity), package (plastic is an oil-based product), and deliver (most delivery companies use diesel powered trucks) products to the stores, then you can bet they are going to raise the prices to recover some of the losses.
When manufacturers and distributors increase the price of a product to the retailer, you can bet the retailer is going to pass along the increase to the customer. In addition to the increased wholesale price, retailers are also paying more to keep the business open with increased power costs and merchandising items.
The only problem with that is most employees are seeing a significant, if any, increase in their take-home pay. They are still making the same salary they were making last year and are paying out 10 to 15 percent more for fuel to get them to their salaried job.
It's a vicious cycle and it is one that most of us are powerless to stop. I have to get to work so I buy gasoline. I have to feed my family, and since I'm not a farmer, I have to buy groceries at the store. We have to bathe and wash clothes, so I have to purchase soap and cleaning products.
What scares me the most is that prices of gasoline are expected to continue to rise. Because of that, the cost of bread, milk, eggs and ketchup will increase as well.
Maybe I should be a farmer with cows, chickens and corn growing in the back forty. Can't you turn corn into gas?
Lisa Tindell is news editor for The Brewton Standard. She can be reached by email at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com.