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Federal Gas Tax

Copyright 2006 Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp.

Question: Since gas prices are on the rise, is it smart to use gas cards and what are some ways to save money on gas?

Answer: As we all know, gas prices have risen to an average of $3 per gallon in the United States. Since the gas prices are high again, this means that gas-rebate credit cards will be targeting consumers more than ever. There are some perks and advantages to using gas cards but there are also many disadvantages if you do not take care of your credit.

Advantages

Gas rebate cards offered by financial institutions and oil companies typically offer 5 to 10 cents back for every gallon of gas purchased. Some cards may also provide credit points to be used to buy other products. This can definitely save you money if you pay the entire balance off the gas card every month.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages of having a gas-rebate card probably outweigh the advantages for the majority of consumers. Some disadvantages of using a gas card include the following:

• Gas card issuers can change interest rates, rules and fees. Make sure you read the fine print – they will inform you of changes to your card.

• Gas-rebate cards are usually in the 14 to 23 percent range, depending on your credit history.

• If you are late paying your gas card bill, they may raise your interest rate and can even freeze your rewards.

According to an article written by Mc Nelly Torres of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, here are the advantages and disadvantages of four different gas card programs.

1. Discovery Platinum Gas Card promises a 5 percent cash-back bonus on gas and auto parts purchases. If you are late making a payment, the percentage rate could rise to between 15.9 percent and 28.9 percent.

2. Chase PerfectCard Mastercard offers a 6 percent rebate on all gas purchases at any station for the first 90 days after the customer signs up for the card then it drops to 3 percent. The maximum rebate you can earn for gas purchases on a monthly statement is $15. But to achieve the maximum in rebates on gas purchases, you will need to spend up to $500 monthly at any gas station.

3. The Chevron/Texaco credit card program allows customers to earn 10 cents per gallon on their first 500 gallons purchased, but the offer is good for the first five billing cycles. There is another limitation: Cardholders can use the card only branded Chevron retail stores and participating local Texaco stations.

4. At Marathon gas stations, consumers can earn a 10 percent rebate if they use the Marathon Platinum Mastercard for the first 60 days after opening the account. But the rebate drops to 5 percent afterward, and the card can be used only at Marathon gas stations.

Ways to save money on gas

For the people who want to avoid using gas cards, there are several different ways to save money on gas. Keeping proper maintenance of your car can save you significant money. This means keeping your tires inflated to their maximum level. Having under inflated tires can waste fuel, reduce your tire life and above all are a safety issue. Make sure to get regular tune-ups and oil changes. Fresh oil will decrease gas consumption.

Follow the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual and check to see the recommended octane rating for the fuel to be used in your car. Why buy premium if you can use regular?

The way you drive can directly influence your fuel consumption. Making fast starts and sudden stops can burn extra fuel. Try driving a little slower; the faster you drive the more gas you lose. Take the shorter routes for errands and also for the drive to work. Planning your routes accordingly can save you a lot of money on gas.

Try public transportation. In most metropolitan areas, there are many services to choose from such as trains, subways, metro movers, trolleys and buses. If the train or bus schedules coincide with your work hours and place of work, why not use them.

Last but not least, try carpooling to work. Find someone you work with that lives in the same vicinity and ask them if they will be willing to car pool with you to work and back. Work out a driving plan with that person by having them drive one week and you drive the next week. This will cut your work related gas expenditures in half for the month. This is also an excellent way to save money on gas.

Sources: http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/20000215c.asp http://www.sun-sentinel.com


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Pete Glocker is employed in the Education and Charitable Services Department at Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp. (“DMCC”), a 501c(3) non-profit charitable organization located in Boca Raton, Florida. Pete graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Multimedia Journalism and is an experienced web producer for Tribune Interactive products Sun-Sentinel.com and SouthFlorida.com. DMCC provides free financial education, personal budget counseling, and debt management plans to consumers across the United States. Debt management plans offered by DMCC help consumers relieve the stress of excessive debt by reducing credit card interest rates, consolidating and lowering monthly payments, and stopping collection calls and late fees. DMCC financial counselors can be reached for free education materials, budget counseling and debt management plan quotes by calling 800-863-9011 or by visiting http://www.dmcccorp.org . Pete Glocker can be reached by email to pete@dmcccorp.org.