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Getting the most for your Gas Mileage

If you’re going to purchase gas on a regular basis, you might as well get your money’s worth. There are a number of reasons for picking a gas station, quality of gas and price being the two most obvious. But given that quality and price are the same at a number of the locations that you have to choose from, what then? Below is a review of some of the popular loyalty rewards programs offered at gas stations in the Metro Vancouver area. Even if you don’t live in the Vancouver area, take a look at the list as it’s applicable anywhere.

Currently Superstore’s gas station offers unleaded for $1.33 a liter. Within a three block radius there is also an Esso, a Chevron, and a Shell which normally offer very similar if not identical prices. If ever you want to check the prices in a given region, you can use this site to compare the price online.

Which loyalty program would you choose?

AIR MILES at shell
At Shell you get 1 AIR MILE for the first $20 and 1 additional AIR MILE for every $30 thereafter.
Depending on how you spend them, AIR MILES are worth 10 to 50 cents each.

Therefore, a $80 fill up is worth 3 AIR MILES or a whopping 30 cents.

Esso Extra Points
At Esso you get 1 point for every dollar spent which is redeemable in the store or online for gas cards.
Depending on how you spend them, 100 to 180 points is about a dollar .

Therefore, a $80 fill up is worth 80 points or about 80 cents.

Save on More Points at Chevron
Chevron has More Reward points worth 1 point per dollar of fuel.
Depending on how you spend them, 350 to 640 points is worth about a dollar.

Therefore, a $80 fill up is worth 80 points or a whopping 13 cents.

PC Points at Superstore
Currently at Superstore you get a bonus of 3.5 cents per liter in SuperBucks.
Though SuperBucks are worth face value, they can only be used in-store and they expire after a few weeks.

Therefore, a $80 fill up is worth $2.10 in SuperBucks.

I think the winner is clear in this case. Not only does Superstore offer the best rewards, but they are also the most accessible because you can spend them immediately instead of waiting for them to add up to a dollar value that is actually worth something to you.

It makes sense that Superstore and similar stores like Costco and Safeway would have the best deal. To them, gasoline is a lost leader intended to get you into the store to buy goods. This is why the coupon for $2 expires in a few weeks time. So even if you don’t have a Superstore in your area, you can look for companies who offer similar deals and reward programs.

Remember the Credit Card

On top of the loyalty program, remember to puchase gas by using a credit card that offers you cash back. I’m a fan of the MBNA smart cash card which has the added bonus of getting  2% cash back on gasoline purchases. If you spend $80 a week, this is worth an extra $1.60 per week.

Gas Purchase:

  • $80 a week x 52 weeks: $4,160.
  • SuperBucks savings: $109
  • MBNA: $83

Total savings: $192 a year!

Cheap, but not pretty. And rarely found without a lineup. What do you think about gas loyalty programs and which ones do you use?

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