As Gas Prices Rise, Costco & Sam’s Club Membership Costs Are Covered Just by Filling Up

Citrus Heights, California, USA - Jun 28, 2013: Vehicles waiting in multiple lines for the gasoline at Costco, members only, gas station.
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According to AAA, today’s national average gas price is $4.622 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline. This is yet another new all-time high, up from $4.619 yesterday, $4.178 a month ago and $3.046 on May 31, 2021. At a time when nothing in life can be predicted, gas prices remain predictably high.

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Now might be the time to think about where you get your gas. As Consumer Reports suggests, looking to wholesale centers for bargains on gasoline is something that must be considered as prices at the gas pumps continue to climb to new heights.

But are the gas savings worth the price of memberships at places like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale? According to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at the popular gas search engine GasBuddy, the answer is a definite yes.

“Gas prices at warehouse clubs are nearly always lower, ranging from 5 cents to 25 cents less per gallon,” says De Haan. “And when prices rise, they hold their prices down for longer.”

As an example, Consumer Reports says that if a driver in Long Beach, California, uses 20 gallons of gas a week, they should expect to save $832 annually filling up at the Sam’s Club instead of at the nearby Mobil station. The price difference between the two when compared was $5.49 a gallon at Sam’s versus $6.29 at Mobil.

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There are a couple of things to consider says Ted Rossman, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. The main one is the location of the wholesaler you are considering. If it is an inconvenient drive and a popular spot for drivers looking for similar savings, it might not be worth your travel and waiting time. If you simply aren’t a frequent driver, the changeover to bargain gas might not be worth pursuing.

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However, for most people, there is a significant savings opportunity to be had by buying gas at warehouse clubs. Memberships vary in price and incentives but most range from $45 to $120 a year depending on level of membership, according to Consumer Reports. Besides the great prices on gas, warehouse clubs offer similar discounts on staple household items, sweetening the deal.

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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