Who Has Better Gas Prices: Costco or Sam's Club? (2024)

With inflation still elevated and Americans in the middle of summer travel season, many people are undoubtedly watching gas prices. The average price per gallon of gas is $3.59 right now, which, thankfully, is more than $1 cheaper than at this time last year, according to AAA.

Those looking for even lower gas prices may want to consider a discount club membership at Costco or Sam's Club. Both of which offer significant discounts to the average gas prices.

But which one has better prices? A quick look across five cities shows that it's fairly evenly split across the two companies.

Both stores offer below-average gas prices

I did a snapshot of gas prices across Atlanta, Georgia; Cherry Hill, New Jersey; Sacramento, California; Houston, Texas; and Springfield, Missouri. On the day I checked, gas prices at Sam's Club and Costco were the same at all locations, except in Cherry Hill, where Costco's fuel price was $0.08 cheaper per gallon than a comparable Sam's Club location.

It's difficult to directly compare Sam's Club and Costo gas prices in some cities because their store locations differ. But what's clear is that both clubs offer steep fuel discounts compared to the average. For example, AAA says the average per-gallon gas price in the Atlanta area is $3.39, and I found that both Sam's Club and Costco fuel prices were $0.25 cheaper.

An analyst at GasBuddy, a website that helps people find the best gas prices, said in an interview with Consumer Reports last year that warehouse clubs typically have gas prices that are $0.05 to $0.25 cheaper per gallon than gas stations. They also tend to keep their prices lower longer when fuel prices are on the rise.

And if you're buying Costo gas, you're not skimping on good-quality gas. AAA research shows that Costco's Signature Kirkland Gasoline meets independent TOP TIER standards, which AAA said is proven to be cleaner and help engines perform better.

Should you buy a Costco or Sam's Club membership just for the gas?

If we take the average savings based on the GasBuddy analysis, the median amount that Sam's Club and Costco members save is $0.15 per gallon. Based on the 489 gallons of fuel that Americans buy annually per vehicle, according to the American Petroleum Institute, then Sam's Club and Costco members could save up to about $73 a year. If you fuel up more than one vehicle or burn through more gallons than the average, then your savings will be even higher.

Of course, your savings mileage may vary depending on the price of gas and the discount prices where you live. But even with this conservative estimate, the gas savings easily pays for the cheapest $50 Sam's Club membership or $60 Costco membership. Which means that spending the money for membership could be a smart decision for your personal finances.

And if you're looking to maximize your gas savings, you may want to consider the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, which gives 4% cash back on gas purchases up to $7,000, then 1% after that. Similarly, a Sam's Club Mastercard offers 5% cash back on fuel purchases up to $6,000, then 1% after.

So if you're looking for cheap gas, both Sam's Club and Costco memberships will save you money. Sometimes Costco will be cheaper, and sometimes Sam's Club will be. But if you're looking for a good deal on gas prices, you can't go wrong with either.

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Who Has Better Gas Prices: Costco or Sam's Club? (2024)


Whose gas is better, Costco or Sam's Club? ›

Top Tier fuel is gasoline that has more detergent additives than the Environment Protection Agency requires. Detergent additives help keep engines clean. Costco offers Top-tier gasoline with higher levels of required detergents; however, Sam's Club does not provide Top Tier gasoline.

Are prices better at Costco or Sam's Club? ›

However, there are some differences: A review by Business Insider in May 2022 found that although Costco has lower prices, Sam's Club has a cheaper membership fee. There were no substantial differences in price or quality between the two chains, suggesting that the best store for you is the one closest to your home.

Is Sam's Club worth it for fuel? ›

Based on the 489 gallons of fuel that Americans buy annually per vehicle, according to the American Petroleum Institute, then Sam's Club and Costco members could save up to about $73 a year. If you fuel up more than one vehicle or burn through more gallons than the average, then your savings will be even higher.

Which gas station has the best quality gas? ›

You'll know you're filling up with the good stuff if you spot a small green sticker on the pump that says “TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline.” As of early 2022, the following stations sold Top Tier gasoline in the U.S.: 76, ARCO, Aloha, Beacon, Breakaway, CITGO, Cenex, Chevron, Conoco, Costco Wholesale, CountryMark, ...

Is Costco fuel good quality? ›

Costco fuel stations are well-maintained by our capable attendants so you may be confident that the fuel going into your car is clean. Costco uses fuel filters in the petrol pumps to catch particles or debris larger than 10 microns in diameter. For comparison, the average human hair is seventy microns thick.

What does Costco have that Sam's doesn't? ›

Sam's Club, for example, serves soft pretzels and ICEE drinks, two items you won't find at Costco. Meanwhile, Costco's food courts offer chicken Caesar salads, massive chocolate chip cookies, Chicken Bakes, and as of last month, a new turkey Swiss sandwich. These are all options that you won't see at Sam's Club.

Does Sam's Club honor Costco prices? ›

Sam's Club does not price match competitors.

Do you really save money at Sam's Club? ›

Sam's Club wins for bulk purchases

You'll find a world of discounts at Sam's Club compared to big-box retailers like Walmart. But the true savings tend to arise in the context of bulk purchases. The quantity discounts you can get at Sam's Club are really hard to beat.

Is a Costco membership worth it for gas? ›

I've been a Costco member for 25+ years and, for the past five, have been shopping for just myself. Costco has great food deals and I save by buying my electronics and tires there. I'm regularly saving 25 to 30 cents a gallon on gas by going to Costco.

How much does Sam's Club save you on gas? ›

If your gas tank holds 15 gallons and you fuel up once a week at one of the above locations with $0.10 to $0.50 in savings per gallon, you will likely save upwards of $100 a year, making this an easy “yes” to signing up for a Sam's Club membership since you'll more than earn back the cost for regular Club membership.

Which gas lasts the longest? ›

93 octane fuels are more refined and contain more stable hydrocarbons. These stable hydrocarbons can last 2-3 times longer than 87 octane fuel. Even in proper storage 87 octane gas can start to degrade in 3 months, 93 octane fuel should last closer to 9 months before degradation is noticeable.

Which gas companies have TOP TIER gas? ›

More than 50 brands offer Top Tier gas and diesel fuel in the U.S. That means there's a good chance one or more stations are offering it near you. Arco, Chevron, Gulf, Mobil, Phillips 66, and Texaco sell Top Tier gas, along with most other major gas station chains.

What is the best gas to put in your car? ›

Should I use regular or premium gas? You should use the type of fuel the vehicle's manufacturer recommends. A vehicle that runs on regular gas will not run any better on premium fuel. Using premium gas in a vehicle designed for premium gas will help the car perform better and avoid damaging the engine with regular gas.

Is Sam's Club a top tier gasoline? ›

Although both offer similar savings, there's a difference in the quality of gas they pump. The most notable difference between Costco and Sam's Club is that one provides Top Tier gas while the other does not. “Not all gasoline is created equal,” Consumer Reports wrote in March 2022.

Does Costco or Sam's pay more? ›

Costco: Average hourly wage of $20.91/hour, or $43,493/year. Sam's Club: Average hourly wage of $19.31/hour, or $40,165/year.

How do you know if a gas station is Top Tier? ›

Many fueling stations selling TOP TIER™ Licensed Brands prominently display the TOP TIER™ logo on the pump, pump handle, canopy or in a station window. The TOP TIER™ logo means you're getting fuel that meets the performance requirements set by engine manufacturers.

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