Gas discount programs are a rip off!

I have yet to find a gas discount program that is really, really beneficial to me.

A few years ago when Sam’s Club decided to open their own pumps and offer a discounted price to Sam’s Club members, my father-in-law purchased a club membership for M. and I. We were excited! Discount shopping and cheaper gas (and this was before the sky high prices we’ve seen over the past year or so).

At first, Sam’s Club did offer a significant discount for members. We found that the actual shopping didn’t really benefit us, being a household of two, but the gas prices were nice. Then, gradually, Sam’s Club began to hike the member price. We watched as the member price became the same price as the surrounding gas stations while nonmembers were paying more to fill up at the Sam’s pumps. So when our membership was up for renewal, we didn’t renew.

The next gas discount program we participated in was at our local grocery store. Certain items were tagged with a $.01 – $.03 per gallon discount at the pump if you purchased item. We got a $.32 discount per gallon once, but I think that was the best it ever got. The items tagged with the discounts were usually the higher priced brands and to keep our overall bill lower, we bought (and still buy) a number of generic brand items. Our gas discount typically amounted to about $.02 – $.05 per gallon. (Again, this was mostly before the gas prices really started to climb.)

Recently, our local grocery store announced they would be revamping the gas discount program so that the consumers would be in charge of what they buy and what discounts they received. I once again got my hopes up that finally a discount program would benefit me. (Of course, by this time gas prices had started coming back down.)

The new program started at the beginning of this month. Everyone now gets an “Advantage Card.” When you go through the checkout line your card is scanned and for every $100 spent you have a $.10 discount per gallon added to your card. When you’re ready to fill up at the pump you scan your “Advantage Card” first and then proceed to scan your credit card and pump your gas.

Okay, so on the surface this seemed to be better than the initial discount program our grocery store offered since it would not depend on purchasing specific brands. Right off the bat, one disadvantage I saw for our household is the fact we have only two people in our home and our grocery bill rarely exceeds $140 on a single trip, and I only make about two grocery trips per month. So our discount is really capped at $.20 per gallon per month. And, there is an expiration date on the discounts accrued.

Oh well, I thought, that’s okay – we still get a discount and gas prices are decreasing anyway. Since I don’t drive a lot anymore, my first opportunity to fill up my car came the other day. I did some errands before heading to the grocery store to fill up. As I drove around town I paid attention to gas prices. The average seemed to be about $1.52 per gallon. Awesome, I thought, I will get my gas for $1.42 per gallon!

As I headed up the highway to the grocery store I watched out my window for the sign of the store’s gas pumps. As I drove closer, the price started to come into focus. And it was… $1.62. A $1.62?! My gas discount of $.10 per gallon would make my fillup the same darn price as most of the other stations in town! What good was this? This was a repeat of the Sam’s Club discount program debacle all over again!

So, I’ve tried out some gas discount programs and found none of them to be of real advantage to me. I hope others have had more success.

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4 Comments

  1. Brother said,

    November 30, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    I go to M&H and always get a discount of $.05 per gallon. No card. Just have to pay inside. However as Sister said, if we pay at the pump Loaf N Jug works nicely.

  2. Storm said,

    November 26, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    Gas was $1.51 on the highway coming home tonight. Ever so close to going under 1.50!!

  3. lilseed said,

    November 26, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    Good for you! Glad you have a fairly decent program for discounts. Ours stink!

  4. Sister said,

    November 26, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    I always get $.05 off per gallon at Loaf & Jug and I don’t have to do anything but swipe my savings card (which was free).


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