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Friday, March 18, 2011 - 12:42pm

Savannah Price War Benefits Drivers

Savannah motorists are waking up to ever-lower gas prices because of a price war among three gas station chains.

The savings for debit card customers has more to do with Mastercard and Visa than the local competition.

Every time you swipe a debit or credit card, chances are, Mastercard or Visa are making money off you.

Retailers hate card charges and so some stores offer discounts for using cash or store-sponsored debit cards.

In Savannah this past month, three convenience store chains have been going lower and lower with prices for customers using these cards.

Greg Parker owns the Parker's gas chain and says, the discounts are really aimed at Mastercard and Visa.

"We're committed to being the low-cost leader in gasoline," Parker says. "We will do it as long as it takes."

At some stores, motorists can save 15 cents a gallon.

Patrick DeHaan of the gas price website says, the Savannah competition is intense by national standards.

"We typically don't see this type of competition among debit card discounts," DeHaan says. "We typically see stations offer five cents or as much as ten cents."

The three Savannah chains -- including local Flash Foods, Murphy's and Parker's stores -- save money when customers use the store’s debit cards instead of Mastercard and Visa.