Being a driver can be expensive. Maybe that’s why so many millennials have opted out, choosing bus passes and Uber over car ownership. But there’s something to be said for the freedom and the sheer joy of driving. It’s an experience that you can’t really get from anything else but having your own car and being able to take off and hit the open road whenever you feel like it. But still, the expenses. Every little bit helps when we’re talking about making the experience of car ownership a little cheaper and a little more convenient.
You have so much to think about when you get behind the wheel. There are car payments, there’s insurance, there’s maintenance. And then there’s the elbow grease involved depending on how much of the work you want to do yourself. You can rotate your car tires at home, but that’s a pretty quick way to break a sweat. So yes, every little bit helps.
If you can save a few bucks on gas or insurance or whatever it may be that’s really eating into your budget, then you’d have to be crazy not to take the opportunity, right?
One of the ways to manage your car expenses is to look at lowering your insurance rates. If you can prove to your provider that you’re a safe bet, that they probably won’t have to pay for a totaled car anytime soon, then they’ll probably cut you a discount. Defensive driving courses can be a big help in this regard. You can also spend a little more time and money on maintenance and care right now so you can spend a little less money and time on repairs later on down the line. Buying premium motor oil, for instance, only costs a few more dollars now, but might save you hundreds over the next year.
But what about gas?
It doesn’t make sense to drive across state lines to spend fifty cents less a gallon, right?
You’ll burn up all the extra money that you saved getting there. And this is especially important if you manage a fleet of vehicles. Anything you can do to save money on gas, it’s important enough if it’s just you, and you can double it for each employee you have driving for you. Managing gas expenses can be one of the most expensive parts of running a business that relies on a fleet of vehicles. Over a dozen, two dozen, a hundred cars and trucks and delivery vans, we’re looking at thousands of dollars just to keep the cars on the road from day to day.
For many business owners who manage vehicle fleets, the answer may be found in BP’s new credit card service, introduced just last year.
Of course, the question is: Why bother? Is it really going to help you save money on gas or is it just another piece of plastic to carry around in your wallet? Would you be better off sticking to your existing debit card or is the BP card worth signing up for?
Well here’s what you need to know:
Does the BP Card Save You Money?
The main draw of the card: You can save twenty five cents per gallon for every hundred dollars you spend at BP for your first ninety days. That can add up pretty quick, especially if you’re outfitting an entire fleet of drivers with the card. Other rewards will kick in as you go, as well, so it’s not just another card but with a signup bonus, it actually keeps on helping you save cash on the road.
Besides the gas purchases, you can also earn gas savings when you spend money on food and travel expenses. That includes groceries. If Visa is accepted, you can collect your discount, as long as it’s not a non-BP gas station. It stands to reason that they wouldn’t want you using your card to support the competition, of course, but still, this provides a lot of opportunities to earn discounts on your fuel expenses. When you have several drivers working for you these discounts can add up quick, and you could be looking at thousands of dollars saved every year on getting your drivers from point A to point B.
Do You Have To Spend The $100?
Actually, no! If you spend fifty in your first ninety days, you get twelve and a half cents off of each gallon instead of twenty five cents. If you spend twenty five bucks, you get a quarter of the twenty five cents off each gallon and so on. The more you spend the more you save, but the savings start kicking in immediately. If you spend one dollar, you get two and a half pennies off of each gallon. If you don’t think that sounds like much, well, you’ve never been a quarter mile from home and wondering if the fumes will get you the rest of the way, or you’ll have to get out and start pushing.
What Else Do We Get?
A lot of credit cards let you save a few bucks on gas here and there. So the real question is: What else do we get? Spending twenty five cents less on each gallon is all well and good, but does that matter if the card demands outrageous monthly fees and no other bonuses? I mean after all, do you only buy gas at BP stations in the first place? Fortunately, that’s not all this card has going for it. There are a few extra features that make the BP credit card attractive to drivers beyond just a decent deal on gas expenses. The Visa card in particular comes with a number of extra bonuses.
- No annual fee. This is a big one. A lot of cards demand that you send them money just for the privilege of using your own cash. What’s in it for BP is that those who care the card are encouraged to use their gas stations across the country. What better way of doing that than to let people use your card without any annual fee? In short: It’s just one less expense you have to worry about when you’re tallying up the budget at the end of the month.
- Free fraud liability. You don’t have to spend extra to get protected with this card. This is a major concern for business owners. More often than not, if someone does manage to steal your information, it’s going to be the credit card company’s fault more than your own. Data theft involving the actual card holder usually involves the card itself being stolen. If your drivers aren’t losing cards all over the country, then you need fraud liability protection to keep you covered. BP offers this for free, you don’t have to buy it as a hidden fee or anything.
- ATM cash access. Not a big deal, but more than you get with some credit cards. If you do a lot of traveling, you learn that it’s a good idea to keep cash on hand. Finding your preferred gas stations where your credit card will be accepted is kinda like looking for your favorite fast food joints while traveling: Offer may not apply. You can’t find an In’N’Out Burger in Florida, and you might not find a BP for a hundred miles on a trip through the Southwest. So being able to get cash while you’re on the road is important. Everyone accepts cash.
How Do I Apply For A BP Card?
A neat thing about the BP card is you can apply right at the gas station. Fill the form out, turn it in, and in a few weeks they’ll send you your card, assuming that you have been approved for one. It’s a card for travelers, and sometimes a traveler has a hard time finding a computer to sit down and fill out a form with, and who wants to go through that process on their phone?
Do All Travelers Need A BP Card?
The thing about the BP credit card is: You might as well sign up.
Since there are no annual fees or anything, the card is essentially free. Maybe you prefer another gas station chain. Great, get a card for that chain, too. But you might find yourself in a part of the country where you don’t see so many of those gas stations around. The BP card works at any BP station and helps you to save money right away. So you might never need the card. You might never find yourself in a part of the country where you can’t find your preferred gas station. But it’s a zero risk proposition to sign up for the card. You either get a chance at saving a few bucks on gas, or you don’t. You’re not going to wind up spending seven dollars a month for a card that you never use. If you never use it then you never use it, end of story.
Our advice is to stock up on as many gas station and travelers cards as you can, if they’re free. If they don’t come with any annual fees or anything like that, then there’s really no downside to carrying one more card around with you to save a few bucks on gas and other travel necessities. Outfitting your drivers with a whole rolodex of cards, if you manage a fleet, is a good idea too. If you compensate your drivers on their business expenses, then this can save you quite a bit of money in a year. And if you don’t compensate them on their travel expenses, they’ll appreciate that you went the extra mile to get them signed up with ways for them to save money on the road.
Is the BP card a must-have? It might not be.
But it is the very definition of a might-as-well have. There are a lot of potential upsides to carrying a BP credit card, whether or not you ever cash those upsides in. But there are no real downsides. If you pay your credit card bills on time, the BP credit card is a great little piece of plastic to keep in your wallet.
Driving can get expensive. Every little thing you can do to save money counts. In fact, the little things are just about all that count. It’s the little things that bring your insurance costs down, it’s the slight changes in driving habits that save you hundreds of dollars a year in gas. You can cut down on wear and tear just by cleaning your car’s trunk out. Twenty five cents off of each gallon is one of those little things. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re buying hundreds of gallons of gas every single year, it adds up pretty quick.