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House Passes Energy Bill Addressing Interchange Fees

What do interchange fees and a U.S. energy bill have in common? More than you may think. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed "H.R. 3893, or the "Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005." The bill includes a provision to examine interchange and its effect on pump prices at gas stations.

It addresses concerns about inadequate fuel supplies brought to the public's attention in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), an international trade association for the convenience retailing industry.

The bill's intent is "to expedite the construction of new refining capacity in the United States, to provide reliable and affordable energy for the American people, and for other purposes."

A section of the legislation that calls for a Federal Trade Commission study on price-gouging also includes "an analysis of the role and overall cost of credit card interchange rates on gasoline and diesel fuel retail prices."

NACS said it has been working diligently with Congress to ensure that the legislation speaks to the interests of retailers and the petroleum marketing industry. NACS is also one of the lead plaintiffs in a class action interchange lawsuit against the card Associations and their member banks (see "Trade Groups Sue Visa, MasterCard and Banks Over Interchange," The Green Sheet, Oct. 10, 2005, issue 05:10:01)

The House passed the bill by a vote of 212 - 210. As of Oct. 24, 2005 it resides in the Senate.

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