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Hello my friends. Before I begin, I do want to point out that I searched for "gas" since I am sure this topic has been addressed before. I didn't find this topic on the first few pages and I wasn't about to shuffle through all 71 pages looking to revive this topic. So I hope no one minds that I start a new one.

Well anyway, I finally got around to getting a costco membership. After I posed for my picture and was handed my card, I didn't even enter the store to look around. I immediately left the store and headed straight for the pumps!! Man was I excited, I was going to stack my 5% penfed rewards with the costco gas selling for a 10 cent discount and then come post the experience on here and get lots of green. Well you guys know what I am about to say. Imagine my disappointment when its rejecting my cards and asking for PIN codes!! I drove off with an empty tank crying, it was so sad, a grownass man crying like that. You would have cried if you saw me.
Later I did some research and discovered what, again, I bet most of you already know. That you can use only AMEX, debit cards, or costco cash cards at the pump. No problem, I have a no-annual-fee AMEX card (actually 2, another for my wife "employee" that gives 3 points per dollar rewards for gas. But then in the fine print it says it must be a standalone gas station and that costco is excluded. What the hell does a guy gotta do in society to get ahead these days!!
So I am now thinking that there is no possible way to get credit card rewards with costco gas. I am thinking that penfed's 5% rewards, which is always going to be better than 15 cents per gallon as long as gas is more than $3/gal, will always be better than costco's 10 cent discount. A real bummer since one of the big reasons I got the costco card was for the gas....

But anyway, as I see things, the best way to purchase gas is to use grocery rewards, if they are available where you live, and stack that with 5% gas rewards. I can't think of another way - costco doesn't even fit into the equation.

Thoughts? Anything I am missing?

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The best way to save on gas is to drive less!

If you keep going to Costco Gas, make sure you ignore which side of your ca... (more)

muumuu (Dec. 14, 2012 @ 2:08p) |

Yep, that's why I don't bother with Costco gas. I do not want to waste 15 minutes getting gas and worse waiting in a li... (more)

bgdc (Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:28p) |

Costco is the closest gas station to my house, so that's where I go, usually at an hour when it's not jam packed.

tjguitar85 (Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:30p) |

This AMEX card will give you 4% back at Costco gas stations (thanks to Krutis).
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Yup. Penfed card is good.

I purchase Arco gas cards at the grocery store (Albertsons), using my 2% Cash Back FIA AMEX. When I purchase $500 in groceries, including gift cards, I receive a $5 off coupon that I can use in store. Arco is always the cheapest, closest, and most convenient gas station to my house.

Use your Penfed card and buy costco cash card on costco.com then use cash card to pay for gas.

No need to worry my friend, this Amex card will give you 4% back at Costco gas stations.

Buy Arco GC's at safeway with Blue Preferred or Sallie Mae. Gets the cash price.
When safeway fuel rewards reach $1.00 off per gallon (or $2 in some geographical areas) then stock up at the safeway pumps (car & gas cans).

Other than the limited time promos like AMX Like Link Love the strategy above generally beats Costco by a wide margin.

There's always siphoning from your neighbors who don't have locking gas caps

Edit: There is also a strategy involving 7-eleven & plink.com that gets 15% if done correctly. I posted about that site a while back but the thread did not receive any real action.

safeway has a nice program where you can earn a dollar off per gallon of gas pretty quickly, plus use your 5% rewards card. The lines are atrocious though!

I'm born and raised in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, so I know what you mean when you say Arco and safeway. But now I'm a Minnesota man so most of these solutions won't work for me.

Anon94305, you are suggesting to use the Penfed card to buy the costco cash card? Do you get 3% grocery store rewards when you purchase the cashcard online? I am a new costco member, so I am not sure if costco is considered a grocery store since you can buy so much stuff there, and am even more doubtful if you are buying the card online from the costco website. Please let me know your experiences.

Krutis: Wow, no annual fee. This might be exactly what I was looking for. Thank you very much for sharing this with me!!

I use Penfed card at the pump at Sam's Club. I think they only give $0.05/gallon off though.

kintro said:   There is also a strategy involving 7-eleven & plink.com that gets 15% if done correctly. I posted about that site a while back but the thread did not receive any real action.

I reread your thread. I guess I didn't pay it much mind from the title on fast food! What CC do you use? Do you recommend earning through Plink or through MemoLink? HAs your experience been positive with them thus far?

The Costco branded AMEX gives 3% at Costco gas stations

http://mytrueearnings.com/

terms :
"Each Eligible Purchase on your TrueEarnings Card from Costco and American Express shall earn a Reward of 1, 2, or 3% of the purchase amount as follows: 3% on the first $4,000 in eligible purchases each annual reward period (1% thereafter) of gasoline at Costco and domestic stand-alone gas stations (excluding superstores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and warehouse clubs other than Costco);"

E85 biofuel. where I live it's 3.15 vs almost 3.80-4 for regular gas (almost $20 difference on tankful)
just make sure your car is compatible (few are),
I know Mercedes C class is, SAAB 9-5, some Chevy trucks...
+ pay with a Costco AMEX or similar card that gives gas Cash Back.

OliverQuackenbush said:   Well anyway, I finally got around to getting a costco membership. After I posed for my picture and was handed my card, I didn't even enter the store to look around. I immediately left the store and headed straight for the pumps!! Man was I excited, I was going to stack my 5% penfed rewards with the costco gas selling for a 10 cent discount and then come post the experience on here and get lots of green. Well you guys know what I am about to say. Imagine my disappointment when its rejecting my cards and asking for PIN codes!! I drove off with an empty tank crying, it was so sad, a grownass man crying like that. You would have cried if you saw me.

you need to get out more

Cratos said:   E85 biofuel. where I live it's 3.15 vs almost 3.80-4 for regular gas (almost $20 difference on tankful)
just make sure your car is compatible (few are),

E85 ethanol has 27% less energy per gallon than gasoline. So while you're paying $3.15 per gallon, on a per mile traveled basis you're paying the equivalent of $4.31 gas.

Or put another way, if you fill a 15 gallon tank with E85 at $3.15/gallon, you'd pay $47.25. But that tank will only take you as far as 10.95 gallons of gasoline. 10.95 gallons of gasoline would've cost you $43.76 at $4/gallon.

I buy BP gift cards at Kohls with Discover and Chase Freedom and get the 5% discount at certain times of the year. Sometimes there is an extra bonus like on Black Friday.

During the year Publix will sell gift cards at $10 off $50, with a $50 purchase (used to be $25).

My local BP(next to a Kangaroo so prices are lowest in my area) gives the cash price for gift card purchases, so it lowers the price per gallon by a $.05.

Save just over 12% on my yearly gas purchases with this strategy.

For the record, I do not overspend on groceries to reach the $50. Everything I purchase at Publix is researched to be the lowest price for that item.

depalma13 said:   I buy BP gift cards at Kohls with Discover and Chase Freedom and get the 5% discount at certain times of the year.

Do you get Kohl's cash if the promotion is going on?

If you have a Costco Business AMEX (my household is a business as far as AMEX and I are concerned), you will get 4% back on gas from AMEX. In order for grocery store gas stations to end up cheaper here, I would have to spend a lot at the higher priced grocery store to earn a reward and bridge the 20 cent per gallon difference in the price of gas. For us that doesn't make sense.

scottybweyy said:   depalma13 said:   I buy BP gift cards at Kohls with Discover and Chase Freedom and get the 5% discount at certain times of the year.

Do you get Kohl's cash if the promotion is going on?


No, gift cards are excluded.

CostCo TrueEarnings Business AMEX. 4% back on gas (including at CostCo). I also have the SallieMae MasterCard which gives 5% on gas, so I buy gas at CostCo only when it's at least 1% (currently about 4) less than the cheapest station where I can use my MasterCard.

Chris.

Here in NJ, cash and credit prices are different (credit is higher than cash). If I buy a gas station GC at a supermarket and try to use it, they will count that as cash, correct?? and NOT credit?

Solandri said:   Cratos said:   E85 biofuel. where I live it's 3.15 vs almost 3.80-4 for regular gas (almost $20 difference on tankful)
just make sure your car is compatible (few are),

E85 ethanol has 27% less energy per gallon than gasoline. So while you're paying $3.15 per gallon, on a per mile traveled basis you're paying the equivalent of $4.31 gas.

Or put another way, if you fill a 15 gallon tank with E85 at $3.15/gallon, you'd pay $47.25. But that tank will only take you as far as 10.95 gallons of gasoline. 10.95 gallons of gasoline would've cost you $43.76 at $4/gallon.


This is correct. DO a search where you live for 100% gas stations and check prices. Regular gas can have up to 10% ethanol. Often its a better deal to pay a little more for pure gas.

The absolute lowest price would be to fill up your tank and drive off, while not paying anything. If you can find a gas station that lets you pump before you pay which used to be the norm.

brettdoyle said:   The absolute lowest price would be to fill up your tank and drive off, while not paying anything. If you can find a gas station that lets you pump before you pay which used to be the norm.

Most gas stations in Minnesota allow prepay. The majority of them write down your license plate before "switching on" the pump. If you drive away, they'll report you. The next time you get pulled over, BAM, felony.

062703 said:   Solandri said:   Cratos said:   E85 biofuel. where I live it's 3.15 vs almost 3.80-4 for regular gas (almost $20 difference on tankful)
just make sure your car is compatible (few are),

E85 ethanol has 27% less energy per gallon than gasoline. So while you're paying $3.15 per gallon, on a per mile traveled basis you're paying the equivalent of $4.31 gas.

Or put another way, if you fill a 15 gallon tank with E85 at $3.15/gallon, you'd pay $47.25. But that tank will only take you as far as 10.95 gallons of gasoline. 10.95 gallons of gasoline would've cost you $43.76 at $4/gallon.


This is correct. DO a search where you live for 100% gas stations and check prices. Regular gas can have up to 10% ethanol. Often its a better deal to pay a little more for pure gas.


I find that the stations around here charge much more for pure gas than it is worth.

The energy density of gas is about 45.3 MJ/kg; the energy density of ethanol is about 26.8 MJ/kg, which gives a 90/10 blend an energy density of 43.5 MJ/kg, about a 4% reduction in energy.

So if the difference between pure gas and a 10% ethanol blend is more than 4% (14¢ when pure gas is $3.50), go with the ethanol blend.

kvs25 said:   Here in NJ, cash and credit prices are different (credit is higher than cash). If I buy a gas station GC at a supermarket and try to use it, they will count that as cash, correct?? and NOT credit?

I'm in NJ.

I have a Chase BP Gas card. It used to be good, now not so much... BUT... here local BP stations will sell gas at 'cash' price if you use your BP CC card. Great savings to me, about 8c a gallon each fill up.

Jonomatic said:   
Most gas stations in Minnesota allow prepay. The majority of them write down your license plate before "switching on" the pump. If you drive away, they'll report you. The next time you get pulled over, BAM, felony.


Any seasoned theif knows to switch your tag with one from the junkyard before you pull up to the pump, then drive away and quickly switch the plate back somewhere. Better yet, have a knightrider type switch rigged up that switches the plate for you.

Buy gift cards at a grocery store that offers 4X gas points. You save $1 per gallon plus an additional 5% off with a good gas rewards credit card. I'm not sure anything can beat that.

doveroftke said:   062703 said:   Solandri said:   Cratos said:   E85 biofuel. where I live it's 3.15 vs almost 3.80-4 for regular gas (almost $20 difference on tankful)
just make sure your car is compatible (few are),

E85 ethanol has 27% less energy per gallon than gasoline. So while you're paying $3.15 per gallon, on a per mile traveled basis you're paying the equivalent of $4.31 gas.

Or put another way, if you fill a 15 gallon tank with E85 at $3.15/gallon, you'd pay $47.25. But that tank will only take you as far as 10.95 gallons of gasoline. 10.95 gallons of gasoline would've cost you $43.76 at $4/gallon.


This is correct. DO a search where you live for 100% gas stations and check prices. Regular gas can have up to 10% ethanol. Often its a better deal to pay a little more for pure gas.


I find that the stations around here charge much more for pure gas than it is worth

The energy density of gas is about 45.3 MJ/kg; the energy density of ethanol is about 26.8 MJ/kg, which gives a 90/10 blend an energy density of 43.5 MJ/kg, about a 4% reduction in energy.

So if the difference between pure gas and a 10% ethanol blend is more than 4% (14¢ when pure gas is $3.50), go with the ethanol blend.

There is a lot to like about burning food in our cars rather than having to do so in our bodies

jamesboy said:   Buy gift cards at a grocery store that offers 4X gas points. You save $1 per gallon plus an additional 5% off with a good gas rewards credit card. I'm not sure anything can beat that.

What gift cards are you buying?

If you are paying full price for a gift card, you are losing money on the front end (gift card) to save it on the back end (gas).

scottybweyy said:   I use Penfed card at the pump at Sam's Club. I think they only give $0.05/gallon off though.

kintro said:   There is also a strategy involving 7-eleven & plink.com that gets 15% if done correctly. I posted about that site a while back but the thread did not receive any real action.

I reread your thread. I guess I didn't pay it much mind from the title on fast food! What CC do you use? Do you recommend earning through Plink or through MemoLink? HAs your experience been positive with them thus far?


Maybe the thread having title of fast food is positive as it will probably survive a lot longer

Regarding your questions on plink:
- Signed up through Plink, no experience with Memolink
- Using Barclays card though I recall they supported a huge number of cc issuers
- Experience has been quite positive so far.

FWIW, the T&C say that fuel at 7-Eleven doesn't count but this hasn't been my experience. Also GC's are not excluded so I can't see how they'd be able to discern buying $25 of gas versus a $25 GC which is subsequently used for fuel. Anyway, a $25 fill up yields a $2.50 GC from plink plus whatever rewards come from the cc issuer. It's not entirely hassle free since $25 of gas doesn't really fill up anybody's tank these days.

I still think the fuel rewards from grocery stores is the way to go -- even over plink.

Solandri said:   Cratos said:   E85 biofuel. where I live it's 3.15 vs almost 3.80-4 for regular gas (almost $20 difference on tankful)
just make sure your car is compatible (few are),

E85 ethanol has 27% less energy per gallon than gasoline. So while you're paying $3.15 per gallon, on a per mile traveled basis you're paying the equivalent of $4.31 gas.

Or put another way, if you fill a 15 gallon tank with E85 at $3.15/gallon, you'd pay $47.25. But that tank will only take you as far as 10.95 gallons of gasoline. 10.95 gallons of gasoline would've cost you $43.76 at $4/gallon.


E85 efficiency ranges based on how old your car is (the technology) -- I have done some research on why my wife's 97 Taurus FFV gets absolutely terrible gas mileage on E85 in my opinion. They only made 5100 of these stupid things, and somehow we ended up with one. You can't draw a straight line for E85 -> Regular Unleaded for a MPG conversion. You can talk about the amount of energy in the fuel, but you can't say how it will perform in an unknown user's car. He may have a brand new Ford with FFV, or he may be like me and have a 97 Taurus FFV. Newer cars, it will be better -- Older cars, much worse.

depalma13 said:   jamesboy said:   Buy gift cards at a grocery store that offers 4X gas points. You save $1 per gallon plus an additional 5% off with a good gas rewards credit card. I'm not sure anything can beat that.

What gift cards are you buying?

If you are paying full price for a gift card, you are losing money on the front end (gift card) to save it on the back end (gas).


I doubt it's full price unless the store doesn't allow cc payment for GC's. Presumably he'd buy GC's with a 5 or 6 percent CB card. Some stores are harder to reach 5%+ CB through merchant coding (ie forementioned ARCO who only takes cash/debit, Target, SWA, Alaska Air, PETsMART, TRU, etc).

So it's not like robbing Peter to pay Paul because there's a CB benefit to buying the GC's and also the CB + fuel reward discount when gas is purchased.

jnheinz said:   You can talk about the amount of energy in the fuel, but you can't say how it will perform in an unknown user's car. He may have a brand new Ford with FFV, or he may be like me and have a 97 Taurus FFV. Newer cars, it will be better -- Older cars, much worse.Newer may or may not be better, I don't think you can make that claim. All the studies I have seen have E85 between 24%-30% less efficient than standard gas. From personal experience my 2005 Nissan Titan got about 25% less mpg with E85. It seems pretty fair to use 27% as a baseline figure.

Using your example of a 2012 Ford with FFV (an auto focus). With gas it gets 28/40. With E85 it gets 20/28. That is 29% and 30% worse mpg with E85.
A 2000 Taurus (couldn't find data on a '06) get with gas 17/26, and with E85 it get 12/19. So 29% and 27% worse mpg on E85.

So newer is not always better. But E85 will always be worse, and always roughly around 27% worse, give or take a few percent.

Link to all 2012 vehicles mpg with E85

Use Sams Club gas station and PenFed together.
Better, Get Sams Club membership card ($40+ bonus $10) from Discover rewards and use at Sams Club gas station. Straight 20% discount to cheap gas price at Sams club

LiquidSilver said:   jnheinz said:   You can talk about the amount of energy in the fuel, but you can't say how it will perform in an unknown user's car. He may have a brand new Ford with FFV, or he may be like me and have a 97 Taurus FFV. Newer cars, it will be better -- Older cars, much worse.Newer may or may not be better, I don't think you can make that claim. All the studies I have seen have E85 between 24%-30% less efficient than standard gas. From personal experience my 2005 Nissan Titan got about 25% less mpg with E85. It seems pretty fair to use 27% as a baseline figure.

Using your example of a 2012 Ford with FFV (an auto focus). With gas it gets 28/40. With E85 it gets 20/28. That is 29% and 30% worse mpg with E85.
A 2000 Taurus (couldn't find data on a '06) get with gas 17/26, and with E85 it get 12/19. So 29% and 27% worse mpg on E85.

So newer is not always better. But E85 will always be worse, and always roughly around 27% worse, give or take a few percent.

Link to all 2012 vehicles mpg with E85
About 25% worse in my Suburban. We ran one tank of E85 through it a few years ago - never again. Corn is for eating!

062703 said:   
This is correct. DO a search where you live for 100% gas stations and check prices. Regular gas can have up to 10% ethanol. Often its a better deal to pay a little more for pure gas.


Just try to find pure gas in a state like Michigan that doesn't require the pumps to disclose the ethanol content.
You'll find it at a few marinas for high prices, and sometimes at northern locations that cater to snowmobile owners.

kintro said:   I doubt it's full price unless the store doesn't allow cc payment for GC's. Presumably he'd buy GC's with a 5 or 6 percent CB card. Some stores are harder to reach 5%+ CB through merchant coding (ie forementioned ARCO who only takes cash/debit, Target, SWA, Alaska Air, PETsMART, TRU, etc).

So it's not like robbing Peter to pay Paul because there's a CB benefit to buying the GC's and also the CB + fuel reward discount when gas is purchased.


I'm not worried about the Cash Back from the credit card, you can get that with any purchase. I'm talking about buying a gift card for the store or buying a gift card for a restaraunt or Home Depot, etc.

If he's buying the gift card for the store, he's locking himself into higher grocery prices. If he's buying it for another store, than paying full price for the value of the card will eat away at any discount at the pump, since gift cards for many retailers can be bought online for big discounts.

depalma13 said:   jamesboy said:   Buy gift cards at a grocery store that offers 4X gas points. You save $1 per gallon plus an additional 5% off with a good gas rewards credit card. I'm not sure anything can beat that.

What gift cards are you buying?

If you are paying full price for a gift card, you are losing money on the front end (gift card) to save it on the back end (gas).

Use the 6% AMEX and you will pocket the cash and the gas rewards. For the credit branded gift cards this does not work, at least for the gas rewards. Target, Kohls, fast food, airlines, hotels, rental cars, coffee, etc.

depalma13 said:   kintro said:   I doubt it's full price unless the store doesn't allow cc payment for GC's. Presumably he'd buy GC's with a 5 or 6 percent CB card. Some stores are harder to reach 5%+ CB through merchant coding (ie forementioned ARCO who only takes cash/debit, Target, SWA, Alaska Air, PETsMART, TRU, etc).

So it's not like robbing Peter to pay Paul because there's a CB benefit to buying the GC's and also the CB + fuel reward discount when gas is purchased.


I'm not worried about the Cash Back from the credit card, you can get that with any purchase. I'm talking about buying a gift card for the store or buying a gift card for a restaraunt or Home Depot, etc.

If he's buying the gift card for the store, he's locking himself into higher grocery prices. If he's buying it for another store, than paying full price for the value of the card will eat away at any discount at the pump, since gift cards for many retailers can be bought online for big discounts.

depalma you are correct for gift cards that can be bought for a discount in excess of 13-14%. Hard to find for the gift cards I need.

brettdoyle said:   The absolute lowest price would be to fill up your tank and drive off, while not paying anything. If you can find a gas station that lets you pump before you pay which used to be the norm.

Make sure to smile for the camera first!

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Costco is the closest gas station to my house, so that's where I go, usually at an hour when it's not jam packed.



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