5 Reasons to Put the Brakes on Your Gas Card

What's Hot

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

How a Mexican Tariff Will Boost the Cost of 6 Common PurchasesFamily

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

How to Protect Yourself From the ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Phone ScamFamily

Report: Walmart to Begin Selling CarsCars

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

Is Your TV Tracking You? Here’s How to Tell — and Prevent ItAround The House

11 Staging Tips to Help You Get Top Dollar When Selling Your HomeAround The House

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

20 Simple Hacks to Make Your Stuff Last LongerAround The House

4 Car Insurers That Might Raise Rates Even When the Accident Wasn’t Your FaultCars

How to Invest If Trump Kills the ‘Fiduciary Rule’Grow

12 Surprising Ways to Wreck Your Credit ScoreBorrow

9 Secret Ways to Use Toothpaste That Will Make You SmileAround The House

The 2 Types of Music That Most Improve Dog BehaviorFamily

Sure, gas prices are sky-high. But credit cards that give you cash back on gas might not be the best deal – because other rewards cards are offering even more these days.

If you always pay your credit card balance in full each month, congratulations. Instead of worrying about interest rates, you can focus on getting the most rewards from your card. While the high price of oil has made cash rebates for gasoline increasingly attractive, what if I told you many rewards card experts like myself don’t bother to carry a gasoline card? Here’s the truth about gasoline rebate credit cards…

1. The savings don’t compare to other rewards cards

Gasoline is expensive, but how much do you really pay? A person driving 10,000 miles a year with a car that gets 20 mpg will consume 500 gallons. Even at $4 per gallon, the $2,000 annual gas bill will only return $60 a year from using a card that returns 3 percent cash back, such as the Gulf MasterCard. While these numbers might vary based on your car’s fuel efficiency and the miles you drive, there’s rarely more than a $100 a year at stake. Even that amount doesn’t represent a true savings when compared to other cash-back cards that don’t offer a special deal on gas purchases. For example, all purchases with Capital One’s Venture Rewards card earns 2 percent cash back in the form of a statement credit toward any travel expense at all – which makes the savings from a gas card even less significant.

2. Gas retailers want you to ignore competitors

A funny thing happens to people who receive a credit card from their local gas station: All of a sudden, they no longer notice better prices at their competitors, just so they can get their cash back for the brand that issued their card. Gasoline prices fluctuate so quickly that it’s impossible to predict who will have the best price any given day. So it’s unlikely that your gas card will always offer the best price, even when you factor in your cash-back rebate.

3. Cash-back offers often exclude the best deals

American Express offers cards (such as its Blue Cash Preferred) that offer a 3-percent rebate on gasoline – but only when purchased from a stand-alone station. This excludes superstores like Costco and Sam’s Club, where gas is often more than 3 percent less than at neighboring stations.

4. Gas cards have poor sign-up bonuses– if any

In a world where several credit card issuers are offering sign-up bonuses of $500 and even more, why waste your time applying for a card that offers little if any initial cash back? The paltry savings on gasoline over a traditional cash-back card would take years to make up for the wasted opportunity of receiving two free flights. (See The 5 Best Credit Card Sign-Up Bonuses for details.)

5. Gas cards are just another bill to pay

I suppose it’s possible to save some money by using a particular card for each kind of expense you have. You can have a wallet full of gas cards, grocery cards, travel cards, and so forth. But where does it end? Pick two or three of the best deals out there and use just those cards. Creating more work for yourself invites potential errors – like forgetting to pay a bill – that easily can wipe out your small savings.

Prices at the pump are painful, but fuel cards are probably not the ideal solution for all but the biggest gas guzzlers. Find a rewards card that fits your lifestyle at the Money Talks News credit card search tool, which objectively breaks down rewards, interest rates, sign-up bonuses, and annual fees.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage Mistakes

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,783 more deals!