Is a Costco Membership Worth It Just for Gas?
If there’s anything that gets our hackles up, it’s stopping at the local gas station to fill up our tanks and seeing gas prices at a cringeworthy new high.
But that’s just the case at the moment, as a U.S.-lead boycott of Russian crude exports translates to a lack of the massive supply of fuel — five to seven million barrels sold globally per day–that the U.S. typically has access to.
Today’s national average gas price is $4.25 per gallon according to AAA. Considering that only a month ago it was $3.46, that’s a steep jump, and it could keep rising.
Californians have it even worse, with prices are up to $5.66 according to consumer website GasBuddy. And while $6 a gallon may seem unfathomable to many of us, it could be a possibility for the sunny state in the very near future.
After a few years of pandemic-fueled record lows as well, the current prices at the pump seem even more shocking. Gas in Georgia fell to $1.95 at one point in 2020, which would have been a real delight if it had actually been safe to go anywhere at the time.
Costco Gas Prices Are More Attractive Than Ever
Unless you plan to start taking the bus to work, you’ll probably be considering another solution to your gasoline price woes. It’s that same reason that has many consumers turning their heads in Costco’s (COST) – Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report direction.
Costco’s yearly membership fee offers everything from home delivery of its expansive in-store selection to discounts on rental cars. It also includes access to the chain’s on-site gas pumps, which have long been known to provide highly competitive prices.
For instance, Costco’s per gallon average is $3.69 right now, which is leaps and bounds cheaper than any of the other gas stations are offering.
Even though a price increase for Costco memberships could be coming soon, based on the chain’s history of doing so every five and a half years or so, it makes a lot more sense for consumers to shell out a little extra once versus at the pumps over and over right now.
As it currently stands, the Gold Star membership is $60 a year and the Executive is $120. Depending on the car you drive, you could easily spend a chunk of even the cheaper membership on today’s fill-up if you went to a BP or an Exxon.
Why are Costco Gas Prices So Much Cheaper?
You may be wondering how Costco can still offer gas at a lower price when the U.S. boycott of Russian exports affects it too.
The answer lies in volume. According to the American Petroleum Institute, more than 60% of branded gas stations are independently owned. That means they cannot afford to invest in the sheer quantity of gasoline that a wholesaler like Costco can.
So even though gas prices are soaring, Costco still benefits since it continues to buy in bulk, a move perfectly in line with the services it offers its customers as well.
If you do plan to head over to Costco and sign up for a membership, be warned: You definitely aren’t the only person with that idea. People in the Costco Subreddit have been reporting that the gas pumps are slammed and customer patience is wearing thin. So grab yourself your beverage of choice, bring something to read, and prepare to trade your time for saving those precious dollars.