KSL Does the Math to Compare Fuel Rewards Programs

Aug 30, 2018, 10:15 PM | Updated: Aug 31, 2018, 4:42 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Gas prices in Utah right now hover just over $3 a gallon and a fuel rewards card could help you shave a lot of money off your Labor Day road trip. There are pros and cons to the different options, so KSL did the math to see how the savings stack up.

We based our test on a fuel price of $3.19 a gallon, and a 14 gallon tank.

Gas Company Cards

First up, credit and charge cards.

Gasing up on Chevron Texaco’s Visa earns you three cents a gallon. That’s 42 cents saved on 14 gallons. You can bump up the savings to ten cents a gallon if you’re willing to spend at least $300 on non-fuel purchases in their convenience stores.

Even better, Exxon Mobile’s gas card gets you six cents off every gallon for a savings of 84 cents.

According to our math, the best might be the Sinclair card. Depending on the station, the discount ranges from 5 cents to 10 cents a gallon. Keep in mind, not all Sinclair stations participate in the discount, but if they do, the savings on a 14 gallon tank will be between 70 cents and $1.40.

“One of the things I think is really important for the consumer to consider is their shopping style,” said Teresa Hunsaker, an educator from Utah State University Extension’s Family and Consumer Science division.

Hunsaker warned that credit cards issued by gas companies will typically have significantly higher interest rates than standard bank-issued cards. It’s important to look into those details before signing up.

“If people rack up balances and not get them paid off, then it takes away from the value of any savings you have received,” she said.

Gas Station Loyalty Cards

Next, we compared gas station loyalty cards.

For her fuel savings, Melissa Christensen gases up with her Nitro card from Maverik.

“You save six cents a gallon,” said Christensen. “And, they do price match for the area.”

Christensen prefers the Nitro card because it’s not a credit card. Instead, the loyalty card is linked to her debit account.

Using our same calculations based on $3.19 a gallon for a 14 gallon tank, the Nitro card saves users six cents a gallon, or a total of 84 cents..

Shell’s Fuel Rewards Network is similar – it is also linked to a debit card. It will save you five cents a gallon, or 70 cents total on the fill-up. You can bump up your savings by buying meals from Shell’s participating restaurants or goods from partnering stores.

But there’s a hidden benefit to Maverik’s Nitro card: it will instantly match a competitor’s pump price if that price is lower than the Nitro’s six-cent discount.

Shell doesn’t price match.

Grocery Store Loyalty Cards

That doesn’t matter to Rachel Madsen. She has an entirely different strategy.

“I like to go to Smith’s, I use my fuel rewards,” said Madson, a busy mother-of-three.

Madsen’s fuel rewards card earns her one point for every dollar she spends at Smith’s. If she earns a hundred points in a month, she’ll get ten cents off a gallon; with 200 points, the discount climbs to 20 cents off a gallon. The discount maxes out at 1,000 points, or $1 off a gallon. It’s good for up to 35 gallons.

Harmons’ Foodie Club card offers up very similar savings, but maxes out at 30 gallons.

Bottom Line on Savings

Both grocery loyalty programs offer excellent gas savings potential if you frequently shop at either Smith’s or Harmons.

Otherwise, the Maverik Nitro’s six cents off a gallon and a possible 10 cents off a gallon at Sinclair are your best bet.

Warehouse Clubs

Many Utahns swear by another option to save on gasoline: warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.

Both sell gas that’s around 12 to 16 cents cheaper a gallon than the next cheapest competitor. But unless you use your club memberships frequently, the annual cost may not add up. You’re paying for the privilege to shop there.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this story was first published, the information about Sinclair has been corrected. Sinclair no longer offers a Visa card with a four percent cash back incentive. It now offers a private label charge card which carries an instant discount ranging from five cents to ten cents a gallon, depending on the station. Some Sinclair stations do not participate in the discount. This changes the payout from $1.79 on a 14-gallon tank as reported earlier, to either 70 cents or $1.40, depending on the discount.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Consumer File

Roe v Wade Utah...

Sunday Edition: Republican Primary Election Debates; Roe v. Wade impact in Utah; Drought Conditions outlook

Doug Wright sits down with Senator Dan McCay to discuss the Supreme Court leaked draft opinion on Roe v. Wade and about the so-called "trigger law" that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
2 months ago
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

GPS gadgets and other devices that can help parents keep tabs on their children

Moms and dads have all sorts of gadget options that can help their peace of mind while keeping tabs on their kids.
1 year ago
Dan Spindle, KSL TV

How to stream Utah college football games

Here's how you can still watch your favorite teams on the gridiron without the expensive satellite or cable package.
1 year ago
A US government agency issued an "urgent warning" for users of Peloton's Tread+ following multiple ...
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Peloton Tread+ Owners Told To Stop Using Treadmill In ‘Urgent Warning’

A US government agency issued an "urgent warning" for users of Peloton's Tread+ following multiple dangerous incidents with the machine, including a child's death.
1 year ago
Matt Gephardt, KSL TV

Gephardt: Gas Company Resumes Disconnecting Delinquents, Vows To Help Customers

Dominion Energy decided in March to cease disconnecting those who didn't pay their gas bills, but that program only runs through mid-July.
2 years ago
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images...
Dan Spindle, KSL TV

Utah Housing Market Good For Buyers & Sellers Despite Pandemic

Even considering the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the laws of supply and demand were in full swing in Utah for the housing market.
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
KSL Does the Math to Compare Fuel Rewards Programs