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Question Of The Week

Fuel Savings Card Tips and Tricks

By using a variety of membership programs and cash-back credit cards, readers rack up fuel cost savings from coast to coast.  Some of the recommended saving schemes could save you some serious truck camping money.

Two discount cards that are mentioned repeatedly are Costco and Sam’s Club memberships.  BJ’s Wholesale club is also mentioned.  The challenge is to figure out if you can recoup the membership costs ($45/year Sam’s Club, $50/year BJ’s Wholesale Club, and $55/year Costco) with fuel savings.  If you also enjoy shopping at these club warehouse stores, membership is probably a no brainer.

Readers also reveal that saving money on gas isn’t always in the cards.  A couple readers with gas trucks claim that the quality of the gas is as important, if not more important, than the price per gallon.  If I read their responses correctly, it might actually be more cost effective to use premium fuel from name brand gas station than regular grade gas from discount gas stations.  That would be amazing!

There are a lot of great ideas here for people in different areas, or different needs.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  You have helped a lot of truck campers save money.

This week’s Question of the Week was, “What credit card programs, membership card discounts, or discount cards in general do you use to save on fuel while truck camping?”

“We use a Pentagon Federal Credit Union Visa card.  It gives us 5% cash back when we pay at the pump.  This amount is applied to our statement.  We also use GasBuddy to find the lowest fuel prices.” – Rick Nunemaker, 2014 Ram 3500, 2006 Mobile Suites, looking for a truck camper

“BJ’s Wholesale Club (similar to Sam’s Club) has member discounts.  The one we use sells gasoline and propane.” – Richard Ward, 2006 Ford F250, 2007 Arctic Fox 990

“I use Good Sam’s Flying J / Pilot card, and the Costco, Safeway, and Kroger gas programs.  We also use GasBuddy.” – Erwin Greven, 2002 Chevy 2500HD, 2002 Lance 921

“We use GasBuddy and I have a 77 gallon of tank.  Flying J stations are just too expensive, even with the Good Sam’s discount card.  I pay with a 3 percent back card.  Good range is important.” – Tom Trimpe, 2015 Ram 4500, 2016 Adventurer 116DS

“The Sheetz card gives three cents off on all fuels.  We also have a Good Sam’s membership, but hardly ever use it as we seldom pass a Flying J / Pilot on our trips.” – Wade and Becky Johnson, 2004 Ford F350, 2003 Lance 1130

“We go to Walmart and use our credit card.  That gets us miles or points, so I buy a Walmart gift card, usually for $500 or $750 if I am getting ready to travel.  You can use this at the pumps at Walmart/Murphy and Sam’s Club.  The discount ranges from .03 to .10 cents per gallon.  Note that not all Murphy gas stations accept the Walmart gift cards, but most do.” – Don Pryor, 2005 Ford F350, 2008 Arctic Fox 1150

“A little testing and note keeping proved that it costs less per mile for me to buy the highest octane non-ethanol gas I can find.  The price per gallon is meaningless.  The difference in miles per gallon between that gasoline and 87 octane 10% ethanol is 30% or more.  That 30% figure is also true for my wife’s 2016 Honda Pilot.  I belong to the Shell Fuel Rewards Program, and pay with a linked MasterCard.” – Philip Tron, 2009 Chevy 3500, 2012 Lance 1050

“In several western states (Utah being one of those), there are Maverik gas stations that offer two different levels of discounts.  One is just a membership card that gets you a 2¢ per gallon discount.  The other one is their NITRO card that is actually a debit card associated with your checking account and it gets you a 6¢ per gallon discount.  We have the NITRO card and use it whenever possible.

Maverick also gives you points on all purchases (gas, food, drinks, etc.) worth 1% of your purchases and you can redeem them in 500 point increments for $5 gift cards (or merchandise).  The debit and gift cards only work at Maverik stations and cannot be used for any other purchases.

We use our Costco/Sam’s Club cards when Maverik stations are not an option.  And, of course, we use our Cabela’s Visa card for everything (except at Maverik).  That gives us 1% cash back points usable on all the fun stuff that Cabela’s carries.  The $1,200 sonar on my boat was completely paid for with those Cabela’s points.” – Robert Hicks, 2010 Chevrolet 2500HD, 2011 Lance 992

“In Canada, I use Petro Canada and Pioneer gas cards, plus my TD Visa card which has a decent cash back at the end of the year.  Any gas is a bargain for me in the states, but I always fill my tank at Akwesasne reservation before crossing back to Canada!” – Maaja Sutak, 2012 GMC Sierra, 2015 Northstar Liberty

“We use CITI 1% + 1% = 2% cash rewards and Good Sam Flying J which I think it is 1 cent per gal discount.  This definitely helps.

When we grocery shop out of state, we immediately apply for the store’s discount card and then also use it at their gas station connected to the store for further discounts in groceries and gas.” – Thomas Bender, 2011 Ford F250, 2009 Sun Valley Apache Chief 8.65 WS

“The Costco Visa gives 4% back on gas and is our go-to store when we need to do a large stock up.  However, upon reading about Sam’s Club and it’s 5% from Charlie Coushaine, we will be getting a membership there as well.

For us, they are in two different towns, neither being where we live.  Both are a drive, but then that’s why we have a truck camper.  Thanks for the tip, Charlie.” – David Pracht, 2015 GMC HD K3500, 1987 Lance LC900

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