Why top off when filling gasoline – straight dope message board npower electricity power cut


I don’t pay for gas by credit card, even though I pay for nearly everything else by credit card, because the gas station that I usually pay at (the cheapest one around) takes off five cents per gallon if you pay by cash. When I get gas, I look through my wallet and my pocket for how much I have on me. I go to the cashier and give them enough money to come close to filling up (and definitely not enough to go over) that uses up all the change in my pocket and the ones, fives, and tens in my wallet. I want to leave the gas station with no change in my pocket and as few unnecessary bills in my wallet as possible. Ideally, I would each time pay a twenty and nearly fill up my tank. I can generally come close to that. After I pay, I go back to my car and fill it up to the amount I’ve paid, since the cashier has set the pump to give just that amount. My goal is to spend as little time at gas stations as possible and carry no change and the fewest number of bills in my wallet as possible, down to a certain minimum.

jnglmassiv, let me go over what I do again. I don’t think you understood me. I basically don’t want to have to carry any change or any bills except for twenties (and I essentially never carry any bills over a twenty). I go to the gas station that’s on my way home from work that gives a five cents per gallon cash bonus. I look in my pockets and my wallet and see how much change and non-twenty-dollar bills I have. I always have some twenties, because I’m careful to always have some cash on me. Say that on a particular occasion I get to the gas station and have a dime, a nickel, two cents, a one-dollar bill, a five-dollar bill, and a ten-dollar bill on me, along with a number of twenty-dollar bills. (Unfortunately, although I try to use only my credit card, there are perhaps three occasions each month when I have no choice except to pay cash.) I look at the my car’s gas gauge and the price on the pump. I can now by pure intuition guess how much it would cost me to fill my tank. Say that I look at it and see that it would cost me about twenty-two or twenty-three dollars to fill the tank. I give the cashier one twenty, the one, the dime, the nickel, and the two cents. This leaves me with a five, a ten, and some twenties in my wallet and no change in my pocket. That’s as close as I can get to both filling the tank and getting rid of change and small bills. The cashier sets the pump to dispense $21.17 in gas into my tank. This is close enough that I probably won’t have to go to the gas station again for another week.

You see, sensible people understand that basic precautions should be taken against card fraud, skimmers, etc. Even apart from that, we understand that sometimes the card readers have trouble, or the satellites go down, etc. To not carry cash is incredibly stupid and ignorant.

Sorry to pile on but that’s pretty ridiculous as stated. I haven’t paid cash for gasoline in decades and have never in that time been left entirely high and dry due to problems with both credit cards I carry plus my debit card, or the pumps. And even then I do have cash on me, but I still wouldn’t go through the definitely non-sensible ritual of topping off. I’d just get change that one time every many years nothing but cash would work at a gas station.

The only rational reason to use cash at gas stations is if there’s a price for cash lower than credit price by more than cashback. With the main card I used for gas giving 5% cashback that’s never been true where I get gas. Or I guess exceptional cases where a person can justify the privacy advantage (in terms of someone tracking the card) in a non-paranoid way.

The reference to the link is the classic fallacy of using average statistics for something where you can make the personal choice not to be like the average. Nobody puts a gun to anybody’s head to run a credit card balance, and I never ever do.