Gas prices suck. Unless you take public transportation, walk, or have taught yourself how to fly, you already know this.

In my Toyota Camry, I get about 23 mpg and drive about 1,000 miles a month. That means I’m buying about 43 gallons of gas a month. At current prices of about $3.50 a gallon here in Texas, that comes to $150 a month, or $1,800 a year, just for gas! Now imagine if gas prices keep rising and they hit $4 a gallon ($2,064 a year). Or $5 a gallon ($2,580 a year).

high gas pricesHoly guacamole Batman! That’s a lot of money!

My first reaction is to find a way to sell my car and start taking the bus. Or maybe I can invent a worldwide system of teleportation devices so I can stop using cars altogether.

Unfortunately, I don’t see either of those things as a realistic option right now. It is something I will have to seriously consider when the lease is up on my Camry, but for the moment I’m just going to have to find a way to drive less and save money on the gas I purchase.

Cash Back for Gas Purchases

Enter the PenFed Platinum Cash Back Rewards Card. Before I get into the details, know this is not an advertisement. I just like helping people save money. With this card, you get FIVE PERCENT cash back on gasoline purchases. Not five cents per gallon; five cents per dollar!

Think about it. You’d probably drive down the street if a different gas station were charging five cents less per gallon. If gas is $3.50 a gallon, this card will save you a whopping 17.5 cents per gallon! My gas tank is about 15 gallons, so it will literally save me $2.63 every time I fill up my car.

Here’s a table showing the projected annual benefits at 1,000 miles a month and 23 miles per gallon, depending on the price of gas.

[table id=4 /]

Joining PenFed and Getting the Card

There is a small catch to this card; you have to be a member of the PenFed credit union. There are lots of ways to join, but here’s a summary of how. Either work in the military or government, or be related to someone who does. If that doesn’t apply, you can join by being a blood donor or money donor to the Red Cross (they use the honor system here), or pay $15 or $20 to join Voices For America’s Troops or National Military Family Association.

I joined because I donated money to the Red Cross for Tsunami victims. Even if I hadn’t done that, I would have paid the $15 to join Voices for America’s Troops, as we already discussed I will be saving a lot more than $15 by using the card. The last step is to deposit a minimum of $5 into a share account and you are ready to apply for the card. (you need good enough credit to get accepted)

So just join, apply, get the card, and then save lots of money. Well, as long as you pay off your card in full every month. But that goes without saying, because Thousandaires are transactors, not revolvers.