DISCOUNTS FOR CASH IN RETAIL GASOLINE MARKETING

JOHN M. Barron, Michael E Staten, JOHN Umbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Before introducing cash discounting in retail gasoline markets, major oil companies offered proprietary credit cards as an unpriced service to their customers. This paper analyzes the origins of cash discounting in order to determine why oil companies introduced explicit pricing of the credit service in 1982 only to begin discouraging it by the end of the decade. Sharp increases in nominal interest rates and in the real price of gasoline between 1978–1982 spurred a rapid rise in the cost of financing accounts receivable. This increasing cost in part drove the initial decision to discount. By 1990 the discounting trend reversed as the costs of processing credit transactions and of the float associated with non‐revolving accounts receivable fell. Using station data from Delaware in 1983 and Washington in 1989, the paper also provides two separate estimations of the subsidy to credit buyers by cash buyers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-102
Number of pages14
JournalContemporary Economic Policy
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Administration

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