This Cult-Favorite Costco Perk Pays for the Membership Fee — Twice!

published Dec 12, 2022
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front of costco store
Credit: Costco

Along with Costco’s endless assortment of affordable food and housewares, it seems our favorite membership-only wholesale store also awards its members with access to high-quality gasoline—often for much less than the price per gallon of fuel at other retail gas stations.

Trust me, I know what you’re thinking: “Sure, the gas (and just about everything else) is cheap at Costco, but I’ll wind up paying it back and more in annual membership fees.” Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s just simply not the case. In fact, we did the math, and the benefits of being a Costco member actually work out in your favor on this one.

Read ahead for a breakdown of this beloved warehouse club member perk and all the awesome benefits that come along with it.

Is Costco Gas Actually Cheaper?

Here’s the math: On average, Costco gasoline is about 21 cents less per gallon than their direct competition, ranking it among the top lowest-priced fuel brands in the game. And since Americans use an average of 656 gallons of gasoline every year, which—according to our calculations—means switching to Costco fuel could save you around $146 per year. This more than makes up for the cost of the $60 “gold star” membership.

Do You Really Need a Membership for Costco Gas?

Yes, technically you need to swipe a membership card to purchase gas at any self-serve Costco gas station, but we did some digging and found one interesting exception: gift cards, aka Costco Cash Cards.

That’s right, anyone in possession of a Costco gift card is allowed to use it to pay for gas at any Costco fueling station—no membership card necessary. This means that whenever you can get your hands on a Costco gift card, you’ll be able to fuel up for less at one of their onsite stations, without actually signing up and paying for a membership. However it’s important to note that you can’t purchase a gift card unless you are a member—hopefully you have an aunt or friend that will give you a gift card for the holidays or your next birthday.

Does Costco Have Premium Gas?

Although Costco won’t actually name its gasoline provider, their website offers a slew of assurances that its fuel is both “top-tier” (based on standards set forth by major automobile manufacturers such as Honda and BMW) and EPA-approved. In fact, Costco gasoline contains five times the EPA detergent requirement for regular unleaded and premium grades and is specially formulated with powerful deposit control additives that clean your engine and “help your vehicle run like new.”

Anything Else I Should Know About Costco Gas?

For starters, know that you won’t be able pay for Costco gas with actual cash, even if you are a member. In an effort to reduce wait times for customers at their gas stations, Costco eliminated the need for cashiers by not accepting cash or checks for payment.

It’s probably also worth noting that Costco designed their gas stations with one-way traffic flow to make it easier to get in and out more quickly. They also installed extra-long fueling hoses, so it doesn’t matter what side of the car your tank is on—just pull up to any pump.

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: This Cult-Favorite Costco Perk Pays for the Membership Fee—Twice