There may be an energy boom going on in the U.S., but prices
at the pump haven't given Americans any relief lately. With
gasoline prices setting new record highs
for the winter season in recent months, cash-strapped consumers
are looking for every break they can find.
To help you in your search for ways to pay less for gasoline,
here are five good prospects. You won't find all of them
everywhere across the country, and some of them will only have a
small impact on what you pay. But by combining the ideas that you
take advantage of, they can add up to real savings.
1. Warehouse-club discounts
In order to encourage customers to join their clubs, Sam's Club,
, and BJ's often have gas stations connected to their stores that
offer discounted prices. In some areas, the discounts are are
just a few cents, but some reports show cheaper prices of $0.10
per gallon or more.
You're only allowed to use the pumps if you have a membership
card. With memberships costing $40 and up, it usually won't make
sense to join solely to save on gas unless you plan to take
advantage of other discounts as well.
2. Grocery-store gas rewards
Many grocery-store chains offer points that you can use to save
on gasoline at local stations.
, and several grocery retailers established their own proprietary
programs as a way to encourage shoppers to spend more money
generally as well as to buy certain targeted promotional
products. A typical deal might involve saving $0.10 per gallon
for every $100 you spend on groceries.
Clearly, if you pay more for groceries, the savings at the
pump won't be worth it. But if you're shopping at a store anyway,
there's no reason not to take the opportunity to save.
3. Day-of-the-week specials
Some gas stations offer discounts if you buy gas on certain days
of the week. The discounts usually aren't that big, with $0.03 to
$0.05 per gallon being a typical amount. Yet many people are able
to time their gas purchases to take advantage of those discounts
at least part of the time.
4. Credit card rewards
Many credit card companies offer a substantial discount on gas
when you use their cards. With rewards of 5% not uncommon, the
effective savings can be $0.20 per gallon or more based on
current prices. For instance, Pentagon Federal Credit Union
issues cards that offer 5% cash back on gas purchases with no
With these cards, be sure to read the fine print. Most of the
time, you have to slide your card at the pump in order to
qualify; going inside to pay can disqualify you from getting the
reward. Also, some cards, such as
's Chase Freedom card and
's Discover Card, only give special gas discounts during certain
times of the year, with rotating categories in other areas for
the remainder of the year. Finally, check to see whether your
reward comes in the form of cash or points, as points can be
harder to convert to cash on some rewards programs.
5. Special promotions
From time to time, companies do gas-related promotions to build
business. For instance, just two weeks ago,
announced the latest version of its Great Gas Rollback program,
in which the company offers a $0.10-per-gallon discount at
Wal-Mart and Murphy USA gas stations for those using Wal-Mart
gift cards. The discount rises to $0.15 per gallon with a
Wal-Mart-branded credit card or MoneyCard. But the promotion runs
only through July 7, and it's only available in 21 states.
Similar limited-time promotions from other businesses
occasionally pop up in other places, so be on the lookout in your
Save where you can
High gas prices are hard to stomach. But with a little help, you
can at least put a dent in the amount you have to spend at the
pump every time you fill up.
Costco's low prices haven't just benefited customers --
shareholders have walloped the market, returning 11,000% over the
past two decades. However, with prices near all-time highs,
is the ride over for Costco investors?
To answer that and more, The Motley Fool's compiled a premium
research report with in-depth analysis on Costco. Simply
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has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him on
Twitter @DanCaplinger. The Motley Fool recommends Costco
Wholesale. The Motley Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale,
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