In my family, we're having a gas crisis

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Column by Jim Clark

My family is having a gas crisis, and it’s becoming a very serious matter in the household. No, not that kind of gas. It’s all about gasoline and what kind we’re going to put into our vehicles.
For years, we have had a BP Visa card, the rewards type that gives you a break on future gasoline purchases. No matter what you use the card for, you get credit toward gas, which shows up at the pump where you get an option of whether you want to use it or let it accumulate.
Recently I was driving down the road and glanced over to where my friendly BP station should be. All I saw was some guy on a ladder putting up a Marathon sign.
Since then, I’ve become aware of at least four stations east of the Interstate that have abandoned BP and become Marathon … stations at 36th Avenue and East Silver Springs Boulevard; U.S. Highway 27 just off the Interstate; South Pine and State Road 200 and South Pine and 17th Street.
The other day I had occasion to be on Pine and I was going to need gas. I finally ended up at Pine and First Avenue, across from Pizza Hut, which at the time was still BP. When the pump gave me a choice, I immediately used the 31 cents per gallon reward before all the BP stations were gone.
My wife was in one of the stations and asked about it. She was told that BP had to be out of Florida by the end of the year, something about the settlement after the oil spill.
I don’t know that for sure, but the Texas City BP Refinery was sold to Marathon in late 2012, and since then BP stations all over the Southeast have been converted to Marathon stations. I’ve read stories from Florence, Alabama, Starkville, Mississippi, Sebring, Florida and other smaller places about stations in those areas all switching off BP.
So now I’ve started scouring the Internet to see what credit card we will switch to. No matter what, I doubt if it will be as good as the BP card and the benefits that came with it.
Around here we have Shell and Chevron and RaceTrak and Valero and Diamond Oil and Kangaroo and various others I can’t recall immediately.
Reading the reviews of some people on the Web helps you limit your choices, but sometimes you have to take these reviews for what little they’re worth.
But if I can’t find one that gives me good rewards, I’ll go back to what I used to do … go to the station that advertises the cheapest prices. That’s the practical side of me … or is it the cheapskate side of me?
Jim Clark is the editor of the West Marion Messenger and South Marion Citizen.