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Best credit cards for saving at the gas pump

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(CBS MoneyWatch) - If you do a lot of driving, you might want to look for a credit card that can shave a few pennies off the rapidly rising cost of gasoline. In fact, even if you drive like the average American, who buys 1,100 gallons of gas per year, the right gas rewards card could save you hundreds of dollars annually.

The editors at CardHub looked at the terms and conditions on 1,000 different cards to find the best choices for drivers. Five stand out for both generous rewards on gasoline purchases, as well as other attractive terms, such as low fees or rock-bottom interest rates.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union's Platinum Rewards card tops the list for three reasons. The card provides 5 percent cash back on gasoline paid at the pump. You also get 3 percent back on groceries and 1 percent on other spending. You'll have to spend $15 to join the credit union to get the card, but that's the only first-year fee. (The annual fee is a modest $25 in year two.) But what makes this card really stand out is its low interest rate -- 4.99 percent on balance transfers and 9.99 percent on regular spending.

Blue Cash Preferred from American Express comes in second largely on the weight of its $150 bonus for those who spend $1,000 in the first three months. That bonus payment makes up for two years worth of the card's annual fees, which run $75. Meanwhile, the card pays 3 percent cash back at gas stations, 6 percent cash back at grocery stores and 1 percent everywhere else.

Costco's TrueEarnings Card by American Express is noteworthy because Costco members pay no annual fee. They also get 3 percent back on up to $4,000 in annual gasoline purchases, 2 percent cash back on restaurant bills and 1 percent from all other spending.

If you don't mind sticking to one brand of gasoline, you might want to secure a Marathon Credit Card, which offers a 25 cent rebate on each gallon of Marathon gas purchased by cardholders who charge at least $1,000 on the card each month.

You spend less? You'll still get a rebate on Marathon gas, but it's not quite as generous. Those who spend upwards of $500 get $15 cents per gallon, while those who spend less than $500 a month get 5 cents per gallon back. Other noteworthy perks: Double rebates in the first 90 days of card ownership and no annual fee.

Chevron and Texaco offer a similar deal with their branded cards. For the first 60 days you own the card, you get 30 cents off a gallon of Chevron or Texaco gas. After that, the rebate drops to 20 cents for those who spend more than $1,000 each month on qualifying purchases and to 10 cents per gallon for those spending $300 to $1,000 per month.

 

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