Ask any driver what’s on his mind and he’ll tell you gas prices. By this summer, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)estimates that regular unleaded will average $3.81 a gallon. And there’s a 41% chance we could spend more than $4 a gallon in July. What’s a family to do?
The folks at CardHub.com, a credit card comparison website, took a look at the cards on the market that offer drivers cash back rewards. Here are their favorites:
Gas Station Credit Cards
Loyalty has its perks. It turns out that the highest cash back savings are attached to gas company credit cards. So if you happen to live near one of these branded filling stations, the following cards may make sense for you:
- The Shell Credit Card. This card offers a 5% rebate on gas purchases made at Shell filling stations. It also has no annual fee. But before you sign up, make sure you’re the type of person who is going to pay off your bill every month. This card comes with a 23.99% interest rate. Carry a balance and you’ll find yourself paying far more than $4 a gallon.
- The BP Credit Card. The second card on the list offers a 5% rebate on gas purchases made at BP stations. It also gives drivers 2% cash back on eligible travel and dining and 1% on most other purchases. (As an added incentive, the rewards are a bit higher during the 60 day introductory period.) The interest rate is also a bit lower than the Shell card and comes in between 15.24% and 19.24%.
- The ExxonMobil Credit Card. The rewards with the ExxonMobil card aren’t quite as generous as the other two, but still worth considering if you happen to live near these branded gas stations. With this card you’ll get a 15 cent per gallon rebate on gasoline purchases made at Exxon and Mobil stations (amounts to 3.75% off a $4 gallon). Drivers also get 2% cash back on the first $10,000 of other eligible purchases and 1% after that. Again, watch the interest rate. It comes in between 19.99% and 23.99%.
Cash Back Credit Cards
Can’t commit to one brand of gasoline? Fortunately, there are reward credit cards that offer cash back on gas purchases made at anypumping station. Cardhub.com’s favorites include:
- The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. This credit card is only available to folks with excellent credit. But if you qualify, you can earn 3% cash back on gas purchased anywhere and 6% on items you buy at the supermarket. The downside is the $75 annual fee and the 17.24% to 21.24% interest rate. (There is, however, a 0% introductory rate for the first six to 12 months.)
- The TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express. This one offers 3% cash back on gasoline up to $3,000 annually and 1% thereafter. Card members also receive 3% back on restaurants, 2% on travel and 1% on most other purchases. There’s no annual fee for Costco members. After six months, the 0% interest rate jumps to 15.24%.
- The Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards – 2% cash back on gas (and restaurant) purchases made anywhere and 1% back on other purchases. There’s no annual fee. Plus, here’s a nice little bonus: You’ll also get free 24 hour road side assistance and no foreign transaction fees. There’s also a 0% introductory rate until April 2012. Expect to pay 12.99% to 20.99% on balances after that date.
Will rewards make your next trip to the gas station feel cheap? Probably not. But it should at least take some of the sting out of your pumping experience.
What do you do to save money at the pump?
Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook for New Parents.