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Best credit cards that pay you for buying gas

Robyn Crozier pumps gas into her tank at a Shell station Friday, June 13, 2008, in Scottsdale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin)

March 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Whether gasoline gets to $5 per gallon or not, no one wants to spend more than they have to at the pumps. With today's rewards credit cards, there's no reason to pay full price for gas.

Greg McBride, a senior financial analyst at bankrate.com, says an oil company branded credit card can put money back in your pocket after you spend it on gas for your car.

"If you use one gas brand all the time, you can get that company's branded credit card and you can earn up to 5 percent cash back on all of the gasoline purchases that you make at their stations," McBride said.

Use the Exxon Mobil MasterCard and you can get a 15 cent rebate for each gallon of Exxon Mobil gas you buy.

Even better are some of the gas rewards credit cards. They not only save you on the cost of gas per gallon, but they can give you bonus cash back as well. For example, cardholders of the Chase Freedom Visa are eligible to receive $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first three months. Plus, you get 5 percent cash back on various, items including gas.

The Discover card is well known for offering cash back to customers and the Discover More card is good for 5 percent cash back on gas purchases. It also has a 0 percent introductory interest rate for 15 months with no annual fee.

Signing up for the Blue Cash Everyday from American Express will get you 2 percent cash back with gas station purchases and $100 cash back bonus after making $1,000 in purchases over the first three months.

But there can be one problem using a gas rewards credit card. Some gas stations will charge you more for using credit instead of paying with cash.

"That difference in price can be more than enough to outweigh the rewards that you would get on the credit card," McBride said.

One way to get around that, McBride says, is to buy a gas gift card.

"Buy the gas cards at the super market using your credit card, so you get the reward points or cash back as you would with any other purchase," he said. "Then, taking that gas card, you can pay for it at the pump and get the better price at the pump, so it's really a win-win."

Just remember to not spend more on your credit card than you can pay off each month because interest rate charges can outweigh the reward you've earned.

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