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$4 gas? How to cut what you pay

If you're getting pinched at the pump, a gas rewards card could help. There are more than 1,000 offers out there -- which one's best for you?

By MSN Money Partner Mar 19, 2012 2:57PM

This post comes from Odysseas Papadimitriou at Card Hub.

 

CardHub on MSN MoneyWith gas prices nearly 20% higher than they were at the beginning of the year, who wouldn't love to save at the pump? You could trade in your gas guzzler for a hybrid or start biking to work, but such options aren't for everyone.

 

Image: Credit cards © Fuse/Getty ImagesA simpler alternative is to change what's in your wallet -- switching to a gas rewards credit card that offers substantial savings.

 

The best gas rewards card, selected from more than 1,000 offers, is the Pentagon Federal Platinum Rewards Credit Card. First you'd need to join the Pentagon Federal Credit Union, which you can do for as little as $15.

 

Highlights of the card:

  • You earn five rewards points (equal to 5 cents) per dollar spent on gas purchases paid for at the pump, three points per dollar spent at supermarkets and one point per dollar on everything else.
  • You receive 5,000 bonus points (equal to $50) after your first purchase.
  • You get 20,000 additional bonus points (equal to $200) if you spend $1,000 in the first three months.

But if you spend at least $1,000 at Marathon gas stations each month, a better choice is the Marathon Credit Card, because of its 25-cent-a-gallon rebate. Most consumers, however, would be best served by the PenFed card because you can save no matter where you buy gas. Plus, the PenFed rewards are more lucrative than nearly all station-affiliated cards, including big names like the ExxonMobil Credit Card, the Shell Credit Card and the BP Credit Card (which used to be one of the best gas cards around but, after rewards program changes this month, is now one of the worst).

Whichever gas card you choose, there are ways to enhance the rewards it provides. Some of the best tips:

 

Be aware of corporate partnerships. Gas station chains often partner with other businesses, such as supermarkets, to create rewards-earning opportunities. For example, Shell has a deal with some of the nation's biggest grocery companies, including Giant and Kroger, so that every $100 you spend at the supermarkets gets you a 10-cent-a-gallon rebate on your next fill-up. Tack that on to the 5% cash back offered by the PenFed Card and you're looking at saving around 7.6% per gallon the next time you buy gas at a Shell station. The trick is to find savings opportunities that fit your spending habits, rather than changing where you shop or going out of your way to save.

 

Build a strategic rewards-card arsenal. The most effective rewards-card strategy is to use multiple cards that complement one another. For example, if your biggest expenses are Marathon gas, groceries and airfare, you'd be better off getting the Marathon Credit Card, the Blue Cash Preferred Card (6% cash back at supermarkets) and the Capital One Venture Card (essentially 2% cash back, provided you redeem miles for travel-related purchases) than a single card offering middling rewards across all purchases.

 

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149Comments
Mar 20, 2012 2:23AM
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Let's get something strait, there is plenty of oil.  We get most of our oil not from the middle east.  We get it from Canada, Mexico and other places, very little comes from the Middle East.  The reason oil is expensive is availability.  No new refineries have been built in the U.S. since around the early "70's or late 60"s.  Obviously the demand has increased beyond the capacity of what the current number of refineries can produce, and the oil companies want to keep it that way.  This artificially inflates the price of gasoline and other fuels.  The oil companies keep it this way to keep the cost of fuel high so they can make more profit.  If the politicians would stop politiking and start running the country like we pay them to, then we wouldn't have half the problems that currently exists.  It is both Republicans and Democrats that have caused these problems.  Fire all of them and elect independents or other parties and then you will see a change, but as long as you keep electing Dems and Repubs, you won't see any changes.  Remember the definition of insanity; Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Keeping voting the same way and nothing will change.
Mar 20, 2012 10:28AM
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Credit card Involvement in lowering gas price is just another scam. Wanna save gas, force the corrupted system to lower price at the pump.
Mar 20, 2012 7:14AM
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I BELIEVE IT IS TIME FOR ALL OF US TO WAKE UP.  I HAVE NO IDEA HOW MANY PEOPLE SAW A FEW WEEKS AGO ON THE NEWS ABOUT CONGRESS WEALTH.  THE NEWS STATED I BELIEVE THAT EVERYONE OF THE US  SENATORS NET WORTH IS A MILLION OR BETTER.  THE HOUSE ABOUT 50% NET WORTH IS SAME AND THE REMAINDER ABOUT $750,000.   NOW YOU TELL ME THAT ANY OF THOSE SO CALLED LEADERS OF THE COUNTRY CARE ABOUT WE THE PEOPLE.  IT DOESN'T SEEM LIKE IT..  THEY ARE ON A GRAVY TRAIN AND WE THE PEOPLE KEEP LETTING THEM GET AWAY WITH THE GAMES THEY ARE PLAYING.  MAYBE IT IS TIME TO STAND UP AN BE COUNTED.  OUR COUNTRY WASN'T BUILT BY HAVING WALL STREET LAWYERS.  IT WAS BUILT WITH BUSINESS MEN WHO KNEW HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS.  BY THE WAY THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT FOR ANY OF THE PRESENTLY RUNNING CANDIDATES.
Mar 20, 2012 9:45AM
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  Ethanol IS A BIG SCAM .It ruins your engine, especially marine engines .I just bought a 2012 Elantra and I get 15% better mileage with pure gas that with   Ethanol, there is no saving by putting veggie alcohol in your motor just larger repair bills and worst gas mileage.

Mar 20, 2012 7:31AM
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i believe because of the warm winter and lack of home heating costs the gas companies didnt make a record profit like they did in the years past. so to make up the difference their raising fuel prices. its called corporate greed.
Mar 20, 2012 12:54PM
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We also need to strip Big Oil of their subsidies.  Any congressman or woman who doesn't want to go for that should be removed from office!

 

We need term limits for Congress!

Mar 20, 2012 9:28AM
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The solution vote out the president,  then Give tax breaks to open new refineries.  My business spent $3100 in gas 3 years ago last year $9800 with less business. How is that?  thank you  Obama for the Change!!!

Mar 20, 2012 6:25AM
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These are Gas Pump Post-It Notes you can buy at the Patriot Depot website

 

Dear Voter,

Did you know that when Obama took office,

On January 20, 2009, the national average

for a gallon of gasoline was $1.84?  Keep

that in mind when you vote in November.

 

Anyone But Obama in 2012

 

Stick Them On Every Gas Pump!

 

Mar 19, 2012 9:39PM
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Get ready for the next recession, high gas prices will get us there.
Mar 20, 2012 10:57AM
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Where is the out cry for the president to do something??? When Gas prices were high when Bush was President, that is all you heard on the News! "President Bush was for Big oil! It's Bush's fault that gas prices are high. But now you hear nothing!!! Whats good for one has to be good for the next, WTH!

Mar 20, 2012 12:58PM
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No one in Washington, DC seems particularly concerned about the public paying more and more for gas each week.   The money we spend to dig deeper into our budget comes out of our money not the greedy s.o.b.'s in the nations capital!   They are selling us down the river! 

 

It's time for a change in how we do business in Congress and the oval office.   I voted for Obama in the last election and he talks a good game but his game doesn't cut it anymore.   I am tired of us paying to keep big business in power and having them stick it to the rest of us for these failed incompetent policies enacted by the corrupt Congress and Obama who lacks backbone to deal with them.

Mar 20, 2012 11:45AM
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wow what a great answer to the problem that is high gas prices, get a credit card. Give me a break. Debt free people.
Mar 19, 2012 11:15PM
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so let me see if I have this right, can't drill for oil, or accept Canadian oil, too dirty, can't build new hydro electric projects, like site C on the peace river in northern B.C. Canada, can't have nuclear, after all look at what happened at Chernobyl, and 3 mile island, coal is too dirty, Mr. Obama wants to put coal fired electric provides OUT OF BUSINESS, wants an ELECTRIC car, that goes for 25 mile on a 12 hr charge, has spent half abillion dollars of taxpayer money on just one FAILED solar company,(who really knows how much he funneled to his buddies in other FAILED solar/wind "investments") lets put the VOLT batteries in AF1, solar panels on the wings, and wind mills at the leading edge of the wings, I doubt that Mr. Obama would say that he would be willing to take the risk there, Farm tractors don't run on Solar, or wind, neither do freight trains.
the president was not Elected to make "investments like this, or to fundamentally change the country. You Tree huggers need to do the planet a favour, eliminate yourselves first.
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Most of you are ridiculous, teaming up with parties and arguing against each other, getting no where because someone's always got an arguement for something. Wake up, we shouldn't have been separated by political parties in the first place They've divided us and our beliefs. Once again, wake up, it's America, the people running it that are corrupt...most Federal organizations (maybe all of them). AND it's not Government we should get rid of btw, Government is good, to a certain degree, but the people running it?....many of us have no idea how much the people in office are controlling us, the people, the people that should be taking this country back to serve US, not make Corporations more and more rich. So far, most administrations, except a few, have been running this country for the benefit of profits. The officials have, basically, worked MINIMALLY in the people's interest, and MORE SO in the interest of their profits...personal profits. It's all there, the evidence, the facts, the SOLID PROOF... you just have to look for it. You'll find it.

No, I'm not some constitutionalist or extremist...I just want America to be the way it should be.........so many illegal actions taken by them, so little time for us. BUT, it doesn't have to stay this way...Technically, some people tend to forget, WE are in power, YOU are in power.

Mar 20, 2012 9:38AM
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You realize that if we use more Ethanol even more corn is going to go to fuel and the price for everything else will go up even more.  Only so much corn can be produced and if the supply stays the same and the demand goes up, guess what happens to the price of corn?  If corn prices go up the price of food will rise because corn goes into so many foods or feeds livestock.  So even if you did spend less at the pump you would spend even more at the grocery store. We would just screw ourselves.
Mar 20, 2012 2:42PM
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thx1166, You are so backwards in your thinking of oil production and cost.

The United States of America sits atop one of the largest untapped oil reserves located below the Rocky Mountains near Colorado. Studies have shown it to have:
  * 8-times as much oil as Saudi Arabia
    * 18-times as much oil as Iraq
    * 21-times as much oil as Kuwait
    * 22-times as much oil as Iran
    * 500-times as much oil as Yemen

but our fantastic Government will not allow drilling there. Getting to this oil with our current technology is easy and safe. This would create jobs and would flood the market  taking away the grip that OPEC and the speculators have on our country. One area alone is estimated at having between 2 to 3 trillion barrels of oil.




Mar 19, 2012 10:55PM
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Let me get this straight.  Four years ago, the climbing gas prices were Bush's fault but now when gas prices have doubled, it is the private companies fault?  How convenient.
Mar 20, 2012 2:14PM
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Thank you Obama!! You acted as if this was all Bush and you would turn this all around...It's been almost your entire term and things have either stayed the same or went worse, is that Bush's fault? perhaps someone else's fault...well this is why I didn't vote for you nor did I believe in you. I doubt the american citizens will make the same mistake twice, I can not wait for your term to be up!

Mar 20, 2012 1:19PM
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I can't believe anyone would boast about cash back bonus for gas at this point...Gas is selling for over DOUBLE what it should be and people are bragging about saving a few pennies.  Talk about penny wise and pound foolish.  I said this years ago and I was ignored...so I'm going to say it again.  Gas will keep going up and up until it FALSELY makes these stupid electric and hybrid pieces of crap actually look as if they are a smart choice.  We are all taking it up the backside and nothing is or will be done about it.  And as for credit cards....people are actually excited about saving $3.00 on a $100.00 tank of gas????..Whoopee friggin do!!  Now you can afford a gourmet meal of a small Coke and burger on the dollar menu ...I'd say get 2 dollar burgers, but with only $3.00 you don't have enough because you can't forget the tax on that, too.....Oh and by the way...the credit card companies CHARGE the store about 3% or so, PLUS they also tack on a bunch of other monthly service fees.   SO, when you pay with a credit card, even if you pay off your total in full at the end of the month so you don't get a finance charge...WE ARE ALL STILL paying more for the item in the first place because the added cost to the merchant for having to accept them is already added in the price of the item. 
Mar 19, 2012 9:50PM
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We have our own resources in this country for oil !! Why don't we utilize what WE HAVE which would give more jobs in the process !!

Obama has to go.............he's nothing but a lot of gas !!
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