The majority of gas stations in Trinidad and Tobago will not accept electronic payment for fuel starting Friday.
This action announced by the Petroleum Dealers Association (TTPDA) is being called a “cost-cutting” measure according to association president Robindranath Naraynsingh who also said it would avoid having to lay off staff.
The TTPDA says the retail margin does not allow for fair operational costs because the rate has remain fixed since 2005. Meanwhile it says in January 2016 there was “a whopping 200 percent increase in both Business Levy and Green Fund Levy taxes, immediately destabilizing the business of retailing fuel in Trinidad and Tobago.”
Many dealers had stopped accepting debit and credit cards long ago due to the small retail margin.
Dealers point out that plastic incurs a cost that they cannot pass on to the customers because the retail and wholesale price of gas is set by the Minister of Energy.
Gas station operators concede that this move will cause some inconvenience to some motorists but say accepting only cash is the best way to the nation’s gas stations open to serve everyone.