Gas Musings

By Tim Butler | Posted at 12:54 AM

So, I was standing at the pump the other night, putting nearly forty dollars worth of gas into my little VW Bug. Next to the current cost is a little sign about how I could receive 5% cash back for my gas purchases with the Shell MasterCard. I've noticed Conoco-Phillips has a similar ad on their pumps as well. Admittedly, as prices go up, such an offer sounds enticing, and not necessarily a bad idea, given that I was already paying at the pump with my (non-rewards) credit card.

The problem with this card, like most rewards cards — at least the ones that actually offer decent rewards for something other than air travel — is that they are typically tied to one retailer. I am not a particularly loyal gas purchaser, so a card that offers a 5% rebate at Shell does me little good when I'm at Phillips 66. And vise versa.

I have no particular conclusion to draw from this, mind you. That was just my thought process as the gallons rolled in and the dollars rolled up.

But, I did come to one conclusion. Gas prices are not high enough. The pump was having trouble, so after I pulled in, I had to walk inside before it would agree to start. I then filled up an almost empty tank. During this entire process, another car waited behind me for my pump, and during that entire period of time, the driver let that car idle. That's right, he burnt $3.50 gas for the better part of ten minutes, as he waited while I went inside, stood in line, talked to a clerk, went back out and filled up my car. i hope he did not proceed to complain about the price of gas when he filled up his tank.

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