Individuals on a fixed income may be struggling to make ends meet as gas prices approach $4 a gallon in some areas as we head into the weekend. You might even wonder if your EBT card, formerly known as food stamps, can be used at a gas station.
“Perhaps,” is the response. You may be able to use EBT-Cash — but not EBT from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — for fuel and other gas station purchases, depending on your government benefits.
The Difference Between TANF and SNAP
Let’s start with a quick rundown of the various programs available to low-income families in the United States, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture and provides benefits to families in the form of an electronic debit card that can be used to purchase food, non-alcoholic beverages, meal ingredients, and seeds at grocery stores and other retailers that accept EBT.
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program also offers an EBT card (known as EBT Cash) that can be used for a wider range of living expenses, such as fuel, housing, home maintenance supplies, personal hygiene, and other living expenses. Your ETC Cash card can also be used to withdraw cash from an ATM.
Is it Possible to Use Your EBT Card at a Gas Station?
EBT/food stamps and EBT-Cash cards are accepted at many gas stations across the United States. More than 50 gas stations across the country accept EBT, according to FoodStampsnow.com, including large chains like 7-Eleven, Circle K, Cumberland Farms, Flying J, and Exxon Mobil.
If you use an EBT Cash card at a store that accepts EBT, you can use it to buy gas and almost anything else in the store, including personal hygiene products and food.
You will not be able to buy cigarettes, alcohol, vaping products, lottery tickets, scratch-offs, or anything else that children under the age of 18 cannot legally buy.
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If your EBT card is only good for SNAP benefits, your shopping options will be even more limited. You can’t buy fuel, prepared convenience foods like pre-cooked hot dogs from a 7-Eleven petrol station, or foods to go like an ice cream cone from Cumberland Farms,
in addition to the preceding “adult-only” products. Milk, bread, butter, and other routinely purchased goods are available at petrol stations and convenience stores.
Foodstampsnow.com recommends calling ahead to confirm that the gas station near you takes EBT, as rules may differ according to the franchise owner. You can also check for a sign that says EBT is accepted on the door or in the window.