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Warren Buffett just placed a big bet on a $20 billion chain that truckers are obsessed with — here's what it's like to visit

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is betting big on a chain of truck stops. 

 

On Tuesday, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway announced it had agreed to acquire 38.6% of Pilot Travel Centers, the owner of the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain. By 2023, Berkshire will become the majority shareholder. 

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-pilot-flying-j-warren-buffetts-truck-stop-2017-10/#james-a-jim-haslam-ii-opened-first-pilot-station-opened-in-gate-city-virginia-1

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The "article" says they keep the bathrooms clean, I would like to formally disagree with that statement.  The Flying J in Gulfport, MS was always bad, I was so happy when they opened a Love's the exit before.

 

Seperate question, how do people fill up at the rigg big diesal pumps now?  Don't they require pre-payment or a member card or something?  Back in my high school days they were just like normal pumps.

WBI

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If we use a truck stop I usually send the wife inside to pre-pay she then uses the restroom while I pump the fuel, after I finish pull forward then go inside to finish payment transaction.

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21 hours ago, WannaBeImagineer said:

Seperate question, how do people fill up at the rigg big diesal pumps now?  Don't they require pre-payment or a member card or something?  Back in my high school days they were just like normal pumps.

We strictly use P\FJ and we have the Good Sam card that will turn the pumps on at the pump, no need to go inside. At the other big truck stops near me you have to go inside like Rennie said and prepay, then settle up the transaction when you are done pumping.

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3 hours ago, Helmsey......Todd said:

We strictly use P\FJ and we have the Good Sam card that will turn the pumps on at the pump, no need to go inside. At the other big truck stops near me you have to go inside like Rennie said and prepay, then settle up the transaction when you are done pumping.

Thanks Todd I didn't know that about the Good Sam card.  Honestly I have a gas now so I don't have to worry I was just curious.

2 hours ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

For those of us who do not buy our gas at these places, is there a reason they can't offer pay at the pump?  Is it because of the size of the transactions?

TCD

That's a good point, I remember back 5-10 years ago when gas was real high the normal pumps would stop at $100 for some reason.  I wouldn't be suprised if it has something to do with that.

WBI

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9 minutes ago, WannaBeImagineer said:

That's a good point, I remember back 5-10 years ago when gas was real high the normal pumps would stop at $100 for some reason.  I wouldn't be suprised if it has something to do with that.

WBI

The TCD Excursion has a 40 gallon tank, so I remember what used to happen when gas shot up to $3-4 a gallon.  There were some places that would cut off at $50, some at $75, and some at $100.  It was dumb, because at most places all I had to do was complete the first transaction at the pump, then immediately swipe my card and start over. It wasn't long after that that stations increased those limits.  Since gas has come back down, I rarely encounter any kind of automatic cut-off.

I would think a place that caters to truckers could have higher limits on their pumps.  So, why don't they?  Is it a ploy to make people come in the store?

TCD

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28 minutes ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

The TCD Excursion has a 40 gallon tank, so I remember what used to happen when gas shot up to $3-4 a gallon.  There were some places that would cut off at $50, some at $75, and some at $100.  It was dumb, because at most places all I had to do was complete the first transaction at the pump, then immediately swipe my card and start over. It wasn't long after that that stations increased those limits.  Since gas has come back down, I rarely encounter any kind of automatic cut-off.

I would think a place that caters to truckers could have higher limits on their pumps.  So, why don't they?  Is it a ploy to make people come in the store?

TCD

Our Suburban 2500 has a 37 gallon tank and we went through the same thing.  Only difference is I spent 2 seasons before I realized you could re-swipe and continue filling!  I would sometimes only get 2/3 of a tank, drive to the next station, and fill the rest of the way.  :wacko:

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Are there discounts or anything off the price of diesel at truck stops if you have a Good Sams card or that stations card to turn the pump on? I ask because the Pilot around here and the Loves on I4 always seem to be higher priced on fuel especially diesel than other stations. I guess if you were traveling you know stopping at one of these you should be able to get to the pump with no problem no matter the size of your rig, but I always try to find another station maybe an exit or 2 away with better prices. Around here I look for racetracks as they usually have a diesel pump on the end. 

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7 hours ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

The TCD Excursion has a 40 gallon tank, so I remember what used to happen when gas shot up to $3-4 a gallon.  There were some places that would cut off at $50, some at $75, and some at $100.  It was dumb, because at most places all I had to do was complete the first transaction at the pump, then immediately swipe my card and start over. It wasn't long after that that stations increased those limits.  Since gas has come back down, I rarely encounter any kind of automatic cut-off.

I would think a place that caters to truckers could have higher limits on their pumps.  So, why don't they?  Is it a ploy to make people come in the store?

TCD

My particular card wouldn't let me swipe again without triggering a fraud alert. I had to use a different card to finish filling up.

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14 hours ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

The TCD Excursion has a 40 gallon tank, so I remember what used to happen when gas shot up to $3-4 a gallon.  There were some places that would cut off at $50, some at $75, and some at $100.  It was dumb, because at most places all I had to do was complete the first transaction at the pump, then immediately swipe my card and start over. It wasn't long after that that stations increased those limits.  Since gas has come back down, I rarely encounter any kind of automatic cut-off.

I would think a place that caters to truckers could have higher limits on their pumps.  So, why don't they?  Is it a ploy to make people come in the store?

TCD

Shell fuel rewards turns off at 20 gallons because you are getting a 5 cent discount. I've never tried to reswipe immediately.

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13 hours ago, Cortezcapt (Derek) said:

Are there discounts or anything off the price of diesel at truck stops if you have a Good Sams card or that stations card to turn the pump on? I ask because the Pilot around here and the Loves on I4 always seem to be higher priced on fuel especially diesel than other stations. I guess if you were traveling you know stopping at one of these you should be able to get to the pump with no problem no matter the size of your rig, but I always try to find another station maybe an exit or 2 away with better prices. Around here I look for racetracks as they usually have a diesel pump on the end. 

https://www.rvpluscard.com/ This is what I have

This gives 8 cents off per gallon of diesel and 5 cents off regular fuel. It also sort of a credit card, but you have to pay balance off every month. We use it all the time when we travel. Now all the Flying J's and Pilots that we have come across are about the same price as surrounding stations so there is a savings with the card.

Also, if you are a Good Sam member, I believe if you swipe that card you save 3 cents per gallon. Flying J/Pilot also have an awards card that you can get form them that is also 3 cents savings per gallon as well.

Best Regards,

Norm

 

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We use our Flying J "RV" card often.  We save .03 cents per gallon at the pump, which over-time, can add up in a 55 gallon gas tank.  In the gas stations we have been, the limits on dollar amounts purchased by card, have been limited by the credit card companies, I think.  This is because, I have seen $100 limits on one card, and $150 limits on another card, at the same pump.  Can't imagine the station would do this, but nothing would surprise me.  BTW, over the years, the cheapest gas we have found is at the Flying J in Rock Hill SC.

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On 10/5/2017 at 1:21 PM, Tri-Circle-D said:

For those of us who do not buy our gas at these places, is there a reason they can't offer pay at the pump?  Is it because of the size of the transactions?

TCD

I can only speak for Pilot\Flying J but their bulk diesel lanes were setup to provide an added benefit (turning on the pump) for their commercial accounts. If you didn't have a commercial account with them the driver has to go inside and stand in line to make their transaction for fuel.

 

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On 10/5/2017 at 12:21 PM, Tri-Circle-D said:

For those of us who do not buy our gas at these places, is there a reason they can't offer pay at the pump?  Is it because of the size of the transactions?

TCD

The limit is set by the credit card company. It's to limit losses on credit card fraud.   Basically when you swipe your card it's authorizing an unknown amount. So they have to limit it. 

Because neither the card holder or the merchant are liable for a fraudulent purchase.  So if someone steals your card and gets gas the CC company eats it.   It's kind of stupid for CC companies to allow you to swipe twice.   I have one that allows it but the others don't. 

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12 minutes ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

The limit is set by the credit card company. It's to limit losses on credit card fraud.   Basically when you swipe your card it's authorizing an unknown amount. So they have to limit it. 

Because neither the card holder or the merchant are liable for a fraudulent purchase.  So if someone steals your card and gets gas the CC company eats it.   It's kind of stupid for CC companies to allow you to swipe twice.   I have one that allows it but the others don't. 

That may be the case for you, but that has not been my experience. The Shell station by me would have a different cut-off than the Hess station, and some stations didn't cut-off at all.  And, it was the same cut-off at each station no matter what card I used. Around me, it was the stations that set the cut off amount. Most recently, right before our last hurricane, I had a pump cut off at $85 on me, and I know I've gone higher than that at other stations before and since then.

TCD

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11 minutes ago, Tri-Circle-D said:

That may be the case for you, but that has not been my experience. The Shell station by me would have a different cut-off than the Hess station, and some stations didn't cut-off at all.  And, it was the same cut-off at each station no matter what card I used. Around me, it was the stations that set the cut off amount. Most recently, right before our last hurricane, I had a pump cut off at $85 on me, and I know I've gone higher than that at other stations before and since then.

TCD

One of my best friends owns several gas stations in OKC.  We talked about it years ago when gas prices skyrocketed. He's the one who told me the CC companies set the limit.   And I just called him to make sure I remembered what he said correctly and he said the CC companies and/or the CC processors set the limit. Not him.  Maybe it's different in Florida. 

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14 minutes ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

One of my best friends owns several gas stations in OKC.  We talked about it years ago when gas prices skyrocketed. He's the one who told me the CC companies set the limit.   And I just called him to make sure I remembered what he said correctly and he said the CC companies and/or the CC processors set the limit. Not him.  Maybe it's different in Florida. 

Must be.  Or maybe that's how it works at his station.  But, I can tell you for a fact that the Shell station nearest to my house originally had a set limit of $50 per card no matter what card I ever used there. I could take that same card to the station across the street and pump gas past that amount. And, like I said, I recently was cut off at $85 at a station near me, but I've used that same card to pump gas above that amount at other stations in the same time frame. 

TCD

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1 hour ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

One of my best friends owns several gas stations in OKC.  We talked about it years ago when gas prices skyrocketed. He's the one who told me the CC companies set the limit.   And I just called him to make sure I remembered what he said correctly and he said the CC companies and/or the CC processors set the limit. Not him.  Maybe it's different in Florida. 

And when you call the CC companies they say it's the petroleum company and/or station owner.

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I don't see how the credit cards could limit it as they have no idea what is being pre-authorized. I know the Kroger I use nearby has a warning on their pump that they pre-authorize and limit credit card purchases to $75. I have had instances where the credit card company rejected the authorization and I had to go inside to present the card. This mostly occurs my first attempted use after entering Florida or occasionally around Washington DC.

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We have two 120 gallon fuel tanks on our truck so going inside to pay works best for us because they can over-ride the card limit which always seems to be a $100. On a local level we have Royal Farms and using their member card linked to a card for payment we receive 10 cents  gallon discount with no limit.

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11 hours ago, keith_h said:

I don't see how the credit cards could limit it as they have no idea what is being pre-authorized. I know the Kroger I use nearby has a warning on their pump that they pre-authorize and limit credit card purchases to $75. I have had instances where the credit card company rejected the authorization and I had to go inside to present the card. This mostly occurs my first attempted use after entering Florida or occasionally around Washington DC.

 Did a little research and this is what I found out.

The CC companies set a limit on how much they will reimburse per transaction if there a disputed charge or a fraudulent/stolen card is used.   Visa is currently at $125 per transaction.   If you go inside the station and make the purchase in person there is no limit because it's not a remote purchase.  And the CC companies will reimburse the merchant the full amount of purchase if there is a disputed or fraud  

So if a station does not go by the limit and someone fraudulently buys more than the limit set by the CC company the merchant has to eat the difference.    

The merchants don't like it if customers have to reswipe their CC to fill up because they have to pay more transaction fees.  Or if the customer drives off without filling up they lose revenue.  

So who do you blame?

the gas station or the CC companies?

I blame the CC companies.   A small mom and pop station can't afford to take he risk of losing money because of fraud.  

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