Monday, January 12, 2009

Now that gas is cheap (again), we wish it was even cheaper

Commentary: Americans sure do love them a discount (and how).

I was having my car inspected at a Shell station on Saturday, and I noticed the Shell Saver Card. It links your checking account to a card (more like a gift card than a credit card) to allow direct debit at the pump. If you sign up now, you save $0.05/gallon until June 1st, and $0.02/gallon thereafter.

I was reminded of this again today when I saw a story on Consumerist about something similar in the lone star state. I read the story, dismissed it, and returned to work for about 5 minutes before I lost control of the voices. They said:

Right now, you use your American Express Blue Cash to get 1% back on gas (and groceries) for the first $6500/year, and 5% back for the rest of the year after you cross $6500. Is this a better deal?!?! Are you leaving precious pennies on the table?

I mean, fuck, how do I get any work done? Even my god-damned voices have OCD.

Thankfully, I kept the spreadsheet I made last month to calculate my energy expenditures so I could hedge my estimated energy costs for 2009. For the closest comparison, I found where I hit $6500 on my AMEX (sometime in March), so I figured out 1.0% rewards on Dec-Mar, then 5% back on Apr-Nov. Then I divided the US average against what I spent to estimate gallons of gas bought, and multiplied it by (average price minus $0.05 for Dec-Jun and $0.02 for Jun-Dec). My math is a little b0rked, but here's what I got:

AMEX 1% - $4.78
AMEX 5% - $118.90
Total - $123.68

Shell $0.05 - $19.77
Shell $0.02 - $9.13
Total - $28.90

Caveats: 1) per-gallon discount is immediate, AMEX rewards is annual. 2) Rewards is likely overstated; as gas was expensive, my rewards were equally inflated 3) I would have to always go to a Shell to get these rewards, with my AMEX I can butter any gas station's bread as I see fit 4) Since I backed into the consumption numbers using the national average for that week, who the hell knows.

That's right, I did the math so you don't have to.

Had this program existed last year (when gas was hellua expensive), and I chose the Shell foolishness instead of using my AMEX Blue Cash, I would have lost out on almost $100 in rewards. I'm going to stick to my Blue Cash.

Voices satisfied, back to work.

1 comment:

schvin said...

those voices are a daisy!