Americans who drive to work or plan to travel over the July Fourth weekend are subject to high gas prices.
There are still ways motorists can save money at their pumps, even though Wednesday's national average for regular gasoline is $4.87 per gallon.
According to Bank of America Global Research, Americans are actively looking for cheaper fuel.
There are many types of gas cards available, including Chevron, Shell and Texaco-issued credit cards that offer fuel discounts and rewards. A few general credit cards offered by payment companies such as American Express or Visa offer valuable cash back and points for gas cardholders who spend money on gasoline.
Ted Rossman, senior credit analyst at BankRate.com, stated that it is great to receive rewards from a gasoline card, provided you pay in full and avoid interest. "But the best gas cards may not be the one you think of first."
Rossman says that while gas station cards like Shell might appeal to consumers, they don't offer a lot of rewards. The cards are typically worth between 5-10 cents per gallon and have high interest rates.
"You don’t want to accumulate continuous debt," David Chang, a credit card expert at The Ascent, stated.
A branded credit card is only useful if you live near a Shell or Texaco station where you buy most of your gas. It won't give you any rewards at other brands' pumps.
Chang stated that if you live near a Shell station and drive a lot, a gas card might be advantageous.
A percentage discount is more valuable than slashing a few cents per gallon.
Look for a card with 5% cashback. Rossman stated that a percent is more significant.
A 5% cashback card can save you 25 cents on every gallon of gas if it costs $5 per gallon. This is in contrast to the 5- or 10-cent discount that a gas station card could offer.
Sam's Club Mastercard, for example, offers 5% cashback on gas purchases up to $6,000 at any station. Customers can get 4% cashback on gas purchases up to $7,000, and not only at Costco.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spent approximately $2,000 on gasoline in 2019. According to Rossman's calculations, an average American family can save $157 per year by using a rewards rate that gives 5% cash back. Gas prices are now approximately 50% higher than last year. This is equivalent to a few fill-ups per year.
He said that while you won't get rich from it, the point of these cash-back cards was that you get something for free. You would have spent it anyway, and you can avoid interest by paying your entire balance. It's almost like getting free money.
A new card may be worthwhile if you are a frequent user of fuel.
You might find that your credit card offers 2% to 3% cashback on gas if you aren't a big spender.
For example, the American Express Blue Cash preferred gives you 3% cash back at U.S. stations and can be used as a statement credit at month's end.
Rossman stated, "It is not the top market, but it beats everything."
Combining rewards cards with money-saving strategies such as downloading the payment app at your gas station can help you save even more. Branded apps often offer discounts of 5-10 cents per gallon when paid through the app using a card you choose.
Rossman stated that using a payment app will show a drop in the price of your purchase as you fill up.
This method lowers gas prices per gallon at point of sale, and also earns you rewards. These rebates can be credited to your monthly statement, or you can get a check or direct deposit.
According to Patrick DeHaan, GasBuddy analyst, it is a mistake not to take advantage of any fuel-savings program.
He said, "If you're going to a station and just swiping your cards, you're generally spending more than you should."
You can also save gas by driving less or more efficiently.
Chang suggests that motorists aim to reduce their driving distance by 75%.
He suggests running errands instead of making multiple trips. Also, he recommends traveling light by removing excess weight from a vehicle, or a cargo hatch from a truck or car.
Remote work is a great way to save money, as you don't need to travel to the office every day. Driving less is the best way to save money. Chang stated that working from home can be like a raise, especially if you don't spend money on gas.