Consumer complaints that some Long Island gas stations have imposed an extra $1 or $2 per-gallon fee for using credit or debit cards helps put a real face on how stations treat their customers ["Credit-price bill boost," Business, May 1].

Basically, they're saying that they'll take advantage of the vast majority of customers that prefers the convenience of using debit and credit cards. Stations do this even though card use boosts sales, saves them money and actually helps their customers. It does make you wonder what's really going on here.

Debit is the No. 1 payment choice for fuel purchases. Just last year, Congress imposed price controls that halved the fees that gas stations pay to process debit cards, providing them with more revenue for each gallon pumped. This was equivalent to a $1-billion annual government subsidy for gas stations.

This debate is really about a larger issue: Gas stations, along with their colleagues in the big-box retail community, want something for nothing. The ability to provide all the benefits of electronic payments involves costs, and merchants should pay their fair share. Yet they don't want to. They'd rather go to Congress for special-interest protections and take more money from consumers. That's very unfortunate.

Kenneth Clayton, Washington, D.C.

Editor's note: The writer is the vice president of legislative affairs for the American Bankers Association.