What Are the Best Fuel Cards for Personal Use?

A person pays for gas from their car

Gas prices are always fluctuating, and high prices can wreak havoc on your budget. Traditional gas station loyalty programs can offer some savings, but they might not be enough. If that’s the case, then a fuel card might be the answer you’ve been looking for.

The best fuel card for personal use is The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, which allows you to earn 3% cash back at all US stations, not just partnered locations. The downside is that there’s an annual fee after the first year, whereas the Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard gives you $0.10 back per gallon you buy and no annual fees attached.

In this article, we’ll run through the best fuel discounts on offer from five major fuel cards for personal use, and how you can make your money go further by getting cash back on both gas and everyday purchases. If you’re looking for a package of commercial fuel cards, on the other hand, then take a look at our picks for the best fleet fuel cards.

Short on Time? Here Are the Key Takeaways

  • The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card: earn 3% cash back at all US stations (not just specific chains), plus rewards on several other purchase categories (with an annual fee).
  • The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard: earn 10 cents per gallon on Shell fuel purchases, plus 10% in rebates for Shell non-fuel purchases, 2% on dining and groceries, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • The BPme Rewards Visa: get some of the highest cashback rewards at BP and Amoco gas stations (with no annual fee), plus cash back on other purchases.
  • Exxon Mobil Smart Card+ Credit Card: earn bonus savings on your first month and ongoing discounts on gas and convenience store items at Exxon and Mobil stations.
  • The Citi Custom Cash Mastercard: maximize your cash back with 5% back (up to $500 per month) if gas is your biggest spending category, all with no annual fee.

What to Look for in a Great Fuel Card

When researching personal fuel cards, you should consider their network coverage, discount structure, rewards, and card fees. We take a closer look at these below.

Network coverage

Consider how many gas stations will accept the card and where. Specifically, look for cards with coverage in your area, broad national coverage, or that have partnerships with stations you use frequently.

Discount structure and rewards programs

How large is the discount on fuel offered by the card? Some fuel cards offer discounts of a few cents per gallon, while others offer discounts of 2% to 5% per gallon. Do the discounts only apply to specific fuel types (regular/unleaded, mid-grade, or premium)?

Some cards offer rewards programs alongside or in place of discounts. You could earn points, cash back, travel rewards, statement credits, or other rewards on your fuel purchases. Check if the card you’re interested in has a rewards program, understand how it works, and see if the rewards align with your spending habits.

Introductory offers

Many credit cards advertise a welcome offer for new applicants who meet certain spending thresholds using the card—usually in the first three, six, or 12 months of card ownership. These offers are generally in the form of cash back or points. For example, you could receive $250 or 30,000 points when you spend $2,000 or more in the first three months.

Credit card fees

Determine if the card has an annual fee, transaction fees, or foreign currency conversion fees. Annual fees can range from $100 to $500 or more, while transaction fees can range from 0% to 2.85%. Currency conversion fees can range from 0% to 3%, depending on the card.

These fees might not sound significant, but they can add up quickly, so be aware of them before you sign up. Some cards waive fees if you meet minimum spending requirements.

Security features

Choose a card with robust security features, like a security chip, a PIN, and the ability to disable or cancel it from anywhere. Also, ensure the card provider uses secure servers to store your information, offers end-to-end encryption, and provides account recovery options.

Customer support

The card you choose should have helpful and accessible customer support. You should be able to access it 24/7 by phone, email, live chat, or website contact form. Ideally, it will also have a mobile app.

The 5 Best Fuel Cards for Personal Use

For an overview of the best fuel cards for personal use, check out the table below. For a more detailed review, keep reading.

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American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard

BPme Rewards Visa Card

Exxon Mobil Smart Card+ Credit Card

Citi Custom Cash Mastercard

Card Fees

$0 for first year, then $95 per year

Card Fees

No annual fee

Card Fees

No annual fee

Card Fees

No annual fee

Card Fees

No annual fee

Rebates
This is a reward per gallon of fuel purchased (in the form of cashback or credit)

3% cashback on gas

Rebates
This is a reward per gallon of fuel purchased (in the form of cashback or credit)

10¢ per gallon (up to 35 gallons)

Rebates
This is a reward per gallon of fuel purchased (in the form of cashback or credit)

15¢ per gallon

Rebates
This is a reward per gallon of fuel purchased (in the form of cashback or credit)
  • 10¢ per gallon on regular, mid-grade and diesel fuel
  • 12¢ per gallon on Synergy Supreme+™ premium gas
Rebates
This is a reward per gallon of fuel purchased (in the form of cashback or credit)

1-5% cash back on gas

Savings and Discounts
  • 3% back on transit
  • 6% back on groceries
  • 6% back on subscriptions to music and entertainment streaming services
Savings and Discounts
  • 10% rebates on first $1,200 in Shell non-fuel purchases
  • 2% rebates on first $10,000 in dining/groceries
  • 1% rebates on other Shell purchases
Savings and Discounts
  • 5% cash back on your non-fuel BP and Amoco purchases
  • 3% cash back on groceries
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 1% cash back on other qualifying purchases
Savings and Discounts

5% cash back on first $1,200 non-fuel purchases at participating Exxon and Mobil stations

Savings and Discounts
  • 5% cash back on first $500 in highest-spend category (dining, gas, groceries, travel + transit, and more)
  • 1% cash back on other purchases thereafter
Network
Network

Anywhere that accepts Mastercard

Network

Anywhere that accepts Visa

Network

1,200+ Exxon and Mobil stations

Network

Anywhere that accepts Mastercard

1. The American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card

The Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express

Pros

  • 3% back on gas at all US gas stations
  • 3% back on transit: taxis, ride-sharing, parking, tolls, trains, buses, and more
  • 6% back on groceries
  • 6% back on select streaming subscriptions
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • $0 fee for the first year

Cons

  • Cash back on groceries is limited to the first $6,000 per year
  • The card has a $95 annual fee after the first year

Description

If you’re looking for an all-around gas card that offers a healthy discount on fuel and discounts on other purchases, the AmEx Blue Cash Preferred Card could be a great option. This card makes our top five list because it offers significant cash back on gas and gives you 3% back on transit, 6% back on groceries, and 6% back on subscriptions to music and entertainment streaming services, podcasts, YouTube, and more.

2. The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard From Citibank

The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard from Citibank

Pros

  • Save 30 cents per gallon on up to 35 gallons on your first five Shell fuel purchases
  • Save 10 cents per gallon on up to 35 gallons on all Shell fuel purchases
  • Get 10% in rebates on your first $1,200 in Shell non-fuel purchases per year
  • Get 2% in rebates on your first $10,000 in dining and groceries per year
  • Get 1% in rebates on all other qualifying purchases
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Most discounts come as rebates rather than immediate benefits
  • No discounts or benefits from non-Shell gas stations

Description

The Shell Fuel Rewards Mastercard might be perfect for you if you want a gas card that offers discounts on fuel and fuel-related purchases and you’re already a fan of Shell gas stations. This card made our list because it offers a healthy discount ($0.10 per gallon forever) on gas, as well as rebates on other gas station purchases.

Redeeming rebates earned on your Shell card is both simple and automatic. Rebates are applied as a statement credit against purchases made with your card in future billing cycles.

3. The BPme Rewards Visa Card

The BPme Rewards Visa Card

Pros

  • Save 30 cents per gallon at BP and Amoco stations for the first 60 days after account opening
  • Save 15 cents per gallon every day after the first 60 days
  • 5% cash back on non-fuel BP and Amoco purchases
  • 3% cash back on groceries
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee
  • Discounts are among the highest available

Cons

  • No discounts or benefits from non-BP or Amoco gas stations

Description

If you frequent BP and/or Amoco gas stations, then the BPme Rewards Visa could be the perfect option to help you save money and stress on your next fill-up. The BPme card is worth considering due to its significant gas savings—15 cents per gallon forever—and because it rewards you for both grocery and dining purchases.

4. The Exxon Mobil Smart Card+ Credit Card

The Exxon Mobil Smart Card+ Credit Card from Citibank

Pros

  • Save 40 cents per gallon or more for the first month after account opening
  • Save 10 cents per gallon on regular, mid-grade, and diesel fuels
  • Save 12 cents per gallon on Synergy Supreme+ Premium gasoline
  • Get 5% back on drinks, snacks, car washes, and more on the first $1,200 in non-fuel purchases per year
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • No discounts or benefits from non-Exxon gas stations
  • Ongoing savings (mentioned above) are lower than other options on this list

Description

The Exxon Mobil Smart Card+ Credit Card could be an excellent option if you frequent Exxon or Mobil gas stations. With it, you’ll save not just on fuel ($0.40 per gallon for the first month, then $0.10 or $0.12 afterward) but also on non-fuel purchases (up to $1,200 per year) like drinks, snacks, car washes, and more to make your drives cheaper and more enjoyable.

5. The Citi Custom Cash Mastercard

The Citi Custom Cash Mastercard from Citibank

Pros

  • Get 5% cash back on your highest-spend category, up to $500 each month
  • Get 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Welcome offer of $200 cash back if you spend $1,500 in the first 6 months
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • If gas isn’t your highest spend category, you’ll receive only 1% cash back on gas.

Description

The Citi Custom Cash Mastercard offers 5% cash back on gas (on up to $500 per billing cycle), but only if you use the card primarily for fuel purchases. If gas isn’t your highest-spend category, then you’ll still get 1% cash back on gas (and 5% on whatever your highest category is).

Verdict

The discounts and rewards programs offered by fuel cards allow you to save money, reduce your stress at the pump, and spend your savings on things that actually matter to you. Some provide discounts only on gas purchases, while others also offer discounts on a range of purchases, like groceries, dining, travel, and more.

Before making a choice, consider features like the size of the fuel discount, if the card offers cash back on other purchases, and whether there are fees associated with using the card. We chose the five cards on this list because they offer strong rewards and discounts on gas purchases. However, some are limited only to certain gas station brands.

FAQs

Can I get a fuel card for personal use even if I don’t have good credit?
Not all fuel cards require a credit check for approval, and some allow applications from people with less-than-ideal credit scores. Prepaid fuel cards can be a great option for people with limited credit history or who are building their credit back up. These cards work similarly to gift cards—simply load them with money and use them at participating stations.
Are there any security risks associated with using a gas card?
As with any debit or credit card, there’s always a potential for theft or fraud. To lower this risk, choose a gas card with high security standards, like a chip and/or PIN. Also choose a card from a provider that offers fraud and unusual activity monitoring, card cancellation options, and an easy charge dispute process.
How much can I realistically save with a fuel card?
The amount you can save depends on the specific fuel card you use, your driving habits, and gas prices in your area. Savings can range from a few cents per gallon to a few percentage points per gallon. So if one gallon costs $4.50 and you save 3%, that’s a savings of $0.135 per gallon. This might not seem like much, but it can add up significantly, especially for high-mileage drivers.
Written by:
David is a Certified Public Accountant and prolific finance writer, specialising in taxes, business accounting, and corporate finance. He holds a BSc in Accounting and has worked as a CPA, tax accountant, and senior financial accountant for several years. David has written and edited thousands of articles for millions of monthly readers, and has contributed to the likes of Investopedia, The Balance, OnPay, and now Expert Market.