Buy Super-Cheap Costco Gas Without Costco Membership

Costco sells gas for $0.10-0.15 less per gallon than retail stations, but only to members who pay annual dues. Blueprint For Financial Prosperity claims to have found a way for non-members to access the bargain gas…

Normally, you have to swipe your Costco Card or the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card in order to authenticate in their gas station systems. It appears that you can simply use any American Express card in the authentication phase because the American Express Costco TrueEarnings card is just an AMEX with a Costco bar code.

The trick definitely works in Maryland, but not in New Jersey or Oregon. Would you fill your tank at Costco, or are the ethical considerations enough to keep you at your local station?

Buy Costco Gas without Costco Membership [Blueprint for Financial Prosperity]

(Photo: beebo wallace)

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  1. Triterion says:

    I didn’t even know Costco had cheaper gas! Its a good deal to shop there anyway, it’s probably worth it if you shop and drive a lot (which is everyone).

  2. nsv says:

    I’ll be trying this soon.

  3. Penny pinching is no place for ethics. I’d save what, $1.80 on a fill up?

    Kids! Daddy’s super-sizing all the meals tonight!

  4. CPC24 says:

    Ethical considerations? On Consumerist? I think most people on here love to cheat “evil corporations”. BTW, my nearest Costco is about 40 minutes away, so it’s not worth it for me.

  5. Seiko says:

    The store in Henderson Nevada it did not work at.
    I pulled out my work AmEx card instead of my personal Costco one about a month ago on accident.

    Costco is too far from my house to use on a regular basis for gas, but 2-3 times a month when I shop there I always fill up. Generally 8 cents cheaper then the average price around here.

  6. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    The best is Mexican gas. Diesel fuel in Mexico is $2.21/gal.

  7. Crrusherr says:

    Amex… count me out

  8. IssaGoodDay says:

    Costco =/= “Evil Corporation”

    It’s definitely big, and I’m sure some of their business practices are less than perfect, but on the whole, they’re a WONDERFUL company IMHO.

    I have a membership. $50/year to save 10x that much? One pair of Lucky Jeans at Costco: $36. One pair of identical lucky jeans from “typical” retailer: $100. Plus their eggs are AMAZINGLY cheap – I get 3 dozen for right around $4 for the big good eggs vs $1.99 for one dozen crappy small eggs from other local retailers.

    Definitely worth $50/year in my opinion.

  9. forgottenpassword says:

    And just my luck I dont have an american express card! I could never get approved for one back in the day (over 15 years ago) so I just gave up (And I have stellar credit).

    If I had one I’d go for the costco gas… ethics-smethics.

    Note: sadly, the nearest costco is about 30 miles away nowwhere near where I usually travel.

  10. @ConsumptionJunkie: I think 7¢/gallon in Venezuela safely undercuts just about everyone.

  11. DeeJayQueue says:

    Round here, Costco is only cheaper on Premium gas, which I don’t use. Plus, my SO has a membership anyway… but I’ll pass the info along.

  12. creativecstasy says:

    Or, get a Costco gift card. Totally ethical. You can either buy it yourself (via a visitor’s one day membership from the front desk) or have a friend pick it up for you. AFAIK you can have a minimal amount on the card, swipe it for your membership, and then pay with a debit or amex card.

  13. beatofhawaii.com says:

    Here in Hawaii, Costco gas saves 5 cents a gallon compared with the next cheapest stations. And no you can’t just use your Amex card. I’ve tried it by mistake (instead of putting in my Costco card), and it didn’t work.

    Aloha, [beatofhawaii.com]

  14. cotr says:

    works in VA. i have a membership but i still do this trick since i dont carry my Costco card with me all the time.

  15. ianmac47 says:

    Anyone consider this works in Maryland because of a state law, rather than an electronic glitch? In New Jersey, Costco sell liquor, but it has to sell that liquor to anyone, regardless of membership in a club. Perhaps the same is true in Maryland, but with gas.

  16. sicknick says:

    Eh. CostCo gas used to save 5-15 cents per gallon, and probably still does if you live in the suburbs. I moved from M-59 and Garfield in Macomb Township, MI to Hazel Park, MI. The local CostCo sells gas for about 1-5 cents cheaper on good days, and more expensive by about the same margin on bad days then the station at 8 Mile and John R in my neighborhood.

    This was the reason I didn’t renew my membership.

    As a note, you can also use an outdated CostCo card. I didn’t have a membership for about a year once and still pulled in for cheaper gas, using my expired card. Not sure if this works with a cancelled membership, but I had no problem at multiple CostCo’s around Detroit with the non-renewed card buying gas.

  17. balthisar says:

    I have a Sam’s membership, and it’s usually a few cents cheaper than the other stations. It’s even cheaper when you’re a member (i.e., they’ll sell to the general public at the advertised rates). I go because it’s conveniently on my way home, but I’ll buy gas just about anywhere I need it. Why? I’ve only got an 18 gallon tank. If I coast in on fumes, and the price difference is 10¢, that’s only a friggin’ $1.80. I see that people are shying away from premium lately. Around here, the typical spread is 10¢ higher for midgrade, and another 10¢ for premium (typically, that is, as there is some variation towards higher spreads). If you have a car that recommends (or requires) premium (mine does, but runs fine on regular), that’s only $3.60 for a tank. As a percentage of price, premium has never, ever been cheaper than it is today. If your car can benefit (e.g., use the correct ignition timing and get more power and mpg), you should be thrilled to spend so little for the “upgrade.”

    How many have to have their two Starbucks coffees every day? Or buy impulse stuff needlessly? A few damned cents per gallon is nothing. Being willing to fraudulently purchase club-only gasoline to save a lousy dollar is the epitome of indecency.

  18. balthisar says:

    @sicknick: LOL. I don’t know if it’s so at the pump, but my general experience with Sam’s is they renew your card. It’s part of the membership agreement. Not sure how that’d even work at the pump, though. But again at Sam’s, if you don’t use the card, you just pay the posted price.

    @ianmac47: Same here in Michigan. Just tell the card-checker on the way in that you’re buying booze if you just want to look around. Or buy booze.

  19. MercuryPDX says:

    @sicknick: The expired Card trick works in OR and WA…. uh… someone told me it does. ;)

  20. MercuryPDX says:

    @balthisar: How many have to have their two Starbucks coffees every day? Or buy impulse stuff needlessly? A few damned cents per gallon is nothing.

    You’re going on the assumption that most people have SOMETHING. Any extra money I can eek out so I can have ONE workday lunch a month that isn’t “Cup of Noodles Ramen” is worth it. Go ahead and chide me for indulging in one luxury, if you can consider one fast food meal a luxury.

  21. sn1per420 says:

    In NJ, it’s illegal to offer lower gas prices with a paid membership, so the Costco gas prices are good for anyone, no matter how you want to pay.

  22. Panamapeter says:

    In what way is this not theft? I thought getting what you paid for included paying for what you get. Some of you should be on the list of worst consumers in America. Save money, steal.

  23. bobpence says:

    @creativecstasy: I misremembered (or it changed recently), and was going to say the Costco Cash gift card didn’t work for gas, but I would have been wrong (a sad and rate happening). FWIW, the gift cards sell for over their value on eBay because of the savings on membership fees for those who only rarely shop Costco. (And who are therefore fools! fools! in my opinion.)

    Some thoughts on Costco:

    1) They do have fewer workers per customer and per sales volume than Wal-Mart, thus may expect more from them and so pay more. (The same is true of Sam’s Club.)

    2) The sample servers / product demonstrators you see are NOT Costco employees. I wonder what their pay and benefits look like.

    3) If I were not a member, I think I would respect the “Members only” signage on every gas pump and gas price sign, and just take my business to Sam’s Club which is near my nearest Costco with gas and often has the same price just for using a WM gift card.

  24. bohemian says:

    I wondering if it would be economically practical to just take a tanker truck to Mexico and fill it up there.

  25. smarty says:

    Ethics? It’s already been shown with the “get most foods free by saying you’re not satisfied” a while ago that the Consumerist really doesn’t care about ethics. Different people, different ethics.

  26. Sham03 says:

    @bohemian:

    Not really since gas goes bad. Not sure what would happen if you used a gasoline stabilizer.

  27. Not Alvis says:

    This seems like a pretty cut-and-dry case of Consumerist encouraging readers to defraud Costco.

    Telling people how to find good deals is one thing, but how to exploit an oversight in a system to authenticate paying members? Going to far.

  28. krunk4ever says:

    You may also want to consider what the true cost is (including cash back). One thing if you did not know is that Costco gas DOES NOT accept Visa/MC/Discover.

    You can easily find a 5% cash back for gas via Visa/MC, but not particularly easy for Amex. Even the Costco Amex only gives 3% back (and if you already have the Costco Amex, why are you trying defraud it?)

    A 2% difference on $4 gas 8cents. A 4% difference is 16cents.

    Just FYI.

  29. TVGenius says:

    I used to buy all our gas with our Sam’s membership, but with prices up we started only doing my wife’s car on midgrade, which Sam’s doesn’t offer. And we found the new AMPM is cheaper anyway (half the time even with the $.49 debit surcharge, or we just swing by the bank on the way and grab $40 or $60 in cash and pay at the pump.)

  30. krunk4ever says:

    @Clold:
    @smarty:
    @Panamapeter:

    Consumerist has long forgotten the difference between a “deal” and “illegitimate loophole”. I’m waiting for the day they start posting price mistakes. Whatever gets readers, right?

    I’m not saying I’m all high and mighty and won’t try my hand at ordering what is obviously a price mistake once in awhile. I’m saying crap like that does NOT belong in Consumerist.

    It’s like those security hole researchers. When they find a security hole in a software, they don’t go and tell everyone how to do it and then ask if it’s ethical. They try to contact the software company first and hope the issue a fix fast.

    I guess we can never really expect Consumerist to be of that quality. And yet I had high hopes when they just started. Sigh…

  31. krunk4ever says:

    @TVGenius: You might want to read your car’s manual. There is a specific quality of gas that it requires. If it requires 87, pumping in 92 may damage the engine. Vice versa, if your car requires 92 and you pump in 87, it may damage the engine. You car may seem to run fine, but several years down the road, you may start experiencing engine problems quicker than if you had followed the gasoline requirement.

    I believe no car actually requires 89 (the midgrade) and was only introduced take advantage of the human mentality. People don’t want to pay for the most expensive grade, but they’re willing to pay for the 2nd highest (just like the reason why Wendy’s introduced the 3 patty burger was to get people to buy the 2 patty burger).

    I have been told that in older cars, pumping in 89 when it requires 87 may help out a bit engine knocking.

    As for getting cash to purchase gas, you may want to consider the amount of cash back you’re losing. I’m not sure how much you fill each time, but $40 of gas at 5% cash back nets you $2 back and $60 of gas at 5% cash back nets you $3 back.

  32. QuantumRiff says:

    Course, Oregon and New Jersey being some of the only states that you can’t pump your own gas. I’m sure it would work technically, but the attendant would notice that it isn’t the right card.

  33. Joe S Chmo says:

    If you shop at Costco all the time then upgrade to the Executive membership. It costs $100 but you get cash back on what you purchase in store. We have had it for 2 years now and we get back a little over $100 each year. The price difference on the gas here in Seattle/metro is about .20/gal usually so this pays for the card itself over the course of the year. Since we are going to Costco for our regular shopping we really are saving money on gas. A penny saved is a penny earned….

  34. covaro says:

    Doesn’t matter to me, because BJs is right across the street and we are already members. Probably saves me close to $20 a week between me and my wife.

  35. wjmorris3 says:

    As was said earlier, New Jersey does not permit members-only pricing on gasoline (BJ’s got themselves in trouble for it here.) There, the price is good for everyone.

  36. TheMu says:

    It all sounds great, but think about it. The only reason Costco can offer that reduced-price gas is because of all the dues-paying members. If we all started doing this, Costco would have to raise the price of its gas, thus ruining it for EVERYONE.

    So it’s a bad idea.

  37. SkiAliG says:

    You can get $.10 off a gallon if you just use your shoppers club card a few times at Tom Thumb (Texas) or Tops (New York). Plus there’s no membership fees.

  38. toteadler says:

    @TVGenius:
    @krunk4ever:
    The Octane rating of the fuel is actually a reluctance to burn. The cetane rating of the the fuel is how readily it burns. High performance engines need a higher octane gas so the gas will ignite when the spark plugs tell it to, not when it gets really hot from compression like a diesel does. Most cars that don’t have turbos and/or high compression ratios just need 86/7 what ever the manual calls for, its really just wasting money to put the high octane. Also, most modern engines will have an anti-knock detector which de-tunes the engine so you don’t damage it from putting in lower octane fuel but you get worse gas milage and performance, and increased emissions.

  39. Islandkiwi says:

    @SkiAliG:

    Beat me to it. Yeah, in Texas Tom Thumb gives you 10 cents off if you spend 50 dollars in the store, but even if you don’t buy anything you get 3-5 cents off just by putting in your phone number or swiping your Tom Thumb card.

    I’m a regular Costco visitor, but rarely buy the gas. It’s not much of a better deal, and the wait usually makes it not worth my time.

  40. oldtaku says:

    Wait, wait wait. What person who cares this much about saving money would not actually be a Costco member already? You save staggering amounts of money just by buying your stuff there instead of elsewhere. It’s like half to a third of the price of buying it at Ralphs or Albertsons or Vons or those guys and the service is much better. Or are you all just Sam’s Club members?

  41. TheLemon says:

    Many of these factors are local, so one answer will not fit all here. I buy my gas at Sam’s because it is nearby, always cheaper than other stations in the area (only members can pump gas), and my business pays for the membership anyway.

    If we’re talking about shenanigans with expired cards just to save a few cents on a fill-up, I can think of many other ways to save a quarter that don’t involve teaching my children how to defraud others.

  42. Southern says:

    Or if you know someone with a membership, just get their membership number, print out a barcode on any printer, then scan it at the pump.

  43. Anonymous says:

    Costco varies in the Phoenix market for gas prices. There is one fairly close to my office so it’s a *short* trip out of the way to get gas there. Phoenix-metro is like a zillion square miles but my GPS knows where the Costco stores are. I know exactly the distance and can choose to go out of the way or not.

    ARCO/ AM/PM is a scam – 45c extra for debit card. By the time I go to my bank etc. and then go to ARCO – well I’d never do it anyway since I log all my mileage as either business or personal and pay for the gas with my business debit card at Costco.

    Food at Costco is generally cheaper than at the supermarket – especially on things like bananas, ham steaks, breakfast cereal and other fruits/vegetables.

    Costco employees get better benefits and pay than the disposable slaves at Sam’s/Wal-Mart and its reflected in the level of service. The company has lower employee turnover than Sam’s and for that matter, than in the retail sector in general.

    I frankly don’t care that the people inside Costco offering samples are outsourced. Been to any other supermarket lately? Coca Cola/ Pepsi have their own outsourced folks who enter the stores to re-stock, same with most of the snacks and most of the bread. Why demonize Costco for doing the same?

    Besides, everyone cuts their own deal for an income. Granted, that’s becoming harder and harder in the USA – but Americans are in serious denial about their gradual drop in their standard of living.

    @Smarty: Consumerist readers have wised up to the fact that 99% of the businesses they may have an opportunity to deal with are ethically bankrupt. What’s wrong with paying ‘em with the same coin?

    @Bohemian: Taking the tanker truck to Mexico might work – until you got to the USA border. The taxe$ on that Mexican gasoline /diesel that the USA will levy as well as whatever the border state’s cut is… not economically viable. Besides, you need all manner of permits to be in the fuel business. Look at the cases of the poor bastards who’ve done the ecologically correct thing and brewed up some biodiesel – the states they live in come after them for the taxes.

    Of course, officially under Mexican law I’m sure it requires some special permits and licenses to buy directly from a Pemex refinery or depot. That might discourage some, but with knowledge of Spanish and your friends Jackson and Benjamin the realm of what is “possible” in Mexico is astonishing.

    The last time I was in Mexico, once I did the liters-gallons conversion and then adjusted pesos to dollars, gas was on a par with the nearest border state. This was about four months ago.

  44. eelmonger says:

    @sarusa: I tend to disagree, unless you have kids Costco doesn’t save you that much. You can buy toilet paper and stuff, but most of the food is just too much for one or two people to eat. Some things can actually cost more. For example, soda is always more expensive at Costco because at the grocery store, either Coke or Pepsi is going to be on sale cheaper than the regular Costco price.

  45. makabe says:

    Gas prices at costco in Seattle are about 20 cents/gallon lower than surrounding stations. If you use the American Express Business card, you get a 5% rebate on gas as well, taking another 20 cents/gallon off the price.

  46. azgirl says:

    I like Costco much better than other places. You can get some organic stuff on the cheap- like milk- and the 3 half gallons I buy last 3 weeks unopened. Eggs are cheap, fruit is cheaper.. and it also makes me happy that these folks get a decent wage. They are happier, and when they help me, I am happier.
    I have the costco amex, and it pays for itself…2-3% back a year and I have the exec membership.. love this.

  47. nuton2wheels says:

    I despise “big, evil corporations” like anyone else, but Costco seems to be doing things well. I mean, they (like any retailer) have flaws but appear to pay their employees sufficiently, have great customer friendly policies, and enable me to save $ every month on groceries and gasoline (even though I commute exclusively on a motorcycle, it adds up). When I think about shopping at the local corporate grocery stores (Safeway being the first on my shit-list) I shudder. Wasting time scanning weekly sales fliers for deals, consequently traveling to various grocery stores across town to get everything I need, clipping coupons, paying more for less product and enduring the total lack of variety make shopping there completely unappealing. That said, Wal-Mart sucks.

  48. realserendipity says:

    I actually joined Costco when they opened thier first store in my area and for awhile they were significantly cheaper than any other gas station in town. Now that they have been open for six months, they are just about the same cost as everyone else or maybe 2 cents cheaper on occasion.

  49. Anonymous says:

    @eelmonger – I am single and can see that pitfall of Costco – some of the packages ARE just too large. I avoid that stuff and still make the best of the membership. I’ve been a member of Costco and of Sam’s Club and much prefer Costco. All the cost savings add up to FAR beyond what I pay annually for a membership.

  50. ecwis says:

    I do this just so I don’t have to take two cards out of my wallet. I have a Costco card but I just swipe my AMEX twice and it works. I didn’t really want to tell anyone since they might fix the glitch… :-

  51. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Expired card trick FTW! I used my expired Costco card for years to buy gas…. until I broke it scraping my windshield :(

  52. @creativecstasy: i’ve used Costco Cash cards without a membership card, but i’ve never tried using the cash card to authenticate membership and finishing with debit, i’ll have to try that next time i’m out there

  53. vorpal_hamster says:

    Gasoline at my local Costco is usually only $.01 less than the competition. I’m single so many of Costco’s items are too big for me to use economically. Where I really clean up is using them for discount home and auto insurance. Their affiliate program with IDS saves me upwards of $600 a year over my next lowest price choice.

  54. sgtdawg says:

    I wish Costco didn’t have to change their returns policies…. I Guess the gas pricing is next. You could always steal someone’s Costco card and use that. You could just siphon the fuel out of a Costco member’s tank. Just a matter of ethics and laws in the end.

  55. EtherealStrife says:

    Fraud promoted by consumerist? Lovely.

    Costco probably makes a few cents on every gallon so my feelings are mixed. Just buy the membership, it’ll pay for itself in no time if you do most of your shopping there.

  56. kalim4c says:

    A couple bucks a tank isn’t worth the possible consequences you face if you’re caught.

  57. Squeezer99 says:

    who cares, there’s not even a costco in my state

  58. mgomega says:

    Where I’m at, the Citgo (Casa de Chavez) is usually the cheapest gas around. However, I’ve noticed my car gets SIGNIFICANTLY better mileage from Chevron, which usually costs 3-5 cents (damn, when did they take the cent sign off keyboards?) more. By doing the math, I actually save MORE money by buying the more expensive Chevron gas and getting better mileage than I do by getting the Citgo gas and saving a little bit at the pump. Something to consider.

  59. Mr_D says:

    @krunk4ever: On my Charger, the owner’s manual recommends 89 octane. This probably carries over to any vehicle with the 5.7L V8.

    I also know the 3.5L V6 in the Charger takes 89, which is probably in a few other vehicles as well. The 2.7L V6 is 87 though.

    But you’re right, most cars will advance or retard the timing if you put lower/higher octane than required.

  60. jacobsor says:

    This is theft, pure and simple. The price of gas at Costco is $X.XX per gallon plus $Y for an annual membership. If you haven’t paid for the annual membership, then you haven’t paid the full price for the gas.

    I can’t believe that anyone is trying to justify this. Shame on Consumerist. What next… discussing the “loophole” of trying to sneak into a movie through the back door without paying? Five finger discount at the Kwik-E Mart?

  61. ogman says:

    Dumb article. Super Cheap??? Ha! The best I’ve seen at Costco is a nickel cheaper. On a twenty gallon fill-up that equals ONE dollar. Even at a dime, you save…yeah, you can do the math. Here’s a better idea, just get a Costco membership and save some real money.

  62. karlmarx says:

    As a Costco member, I disagree with people that are taking advantage of this glitch in the gas station pumps.

  63. Noris159 says:

    Should this be on the Consumerist? Since when is this site pro fraud other than posting when the airlines made fare errors and promoting that people take advantage of it?

    Please, someone now post that since they’re poor or underprivileged that they’re entitled to this company’s money.

  64. nommel says:

    There is a reason the price difference is smaller from Costco gas to retail gas. The retailers are forced to compete so they must lower their gas prices.

    Gas prices in my town were the highest in the state before Costco put a gas station in their parking lot. The retailers whined about the competition in the local newspaper. Eventually they realized they were getting no sympathy and selling much less gas so they lowered their prices. Thanks Costco now my wallet is no longer sodomized by the retailers.

  65. Amy Alkon000 says:

    For those of you advocating scamming Costco — so…you’re ethical, except when there’s 15 cents involved? Nice!

    If you’re for fair and ethical treatment of consumers by corporations, how come you’re not for fair and ethical treatment of businesses by consumers? Is it that your cries for corporate fairness and ethics are really just about getting as much as you can out of a business?

    I don’t know about you, but I’d pay 20 cents extra a gallon just to know I’m not a scumbag. Of course, I do have a Costco membership, but I also have a Honda Insight, so I spend very little on gas anyway. Bought it in 2004 so I wouldn’t be putting pollutants into the air unnecessarily when I drive, and contributing to OPEC. Hmmm, sometimes you score by accident when you try to do the right thing. For example, driving a Honda Insight, I spent $228 on gas. Last year. All year. You?

  66. Amy Alkon000 says:

    Here’s who you’re scamming, asshats:

    [abcnews.go.com]

  67. rikkus256 says:

    I believe this is wrong and this article should not be on consumerist. There is a difference between consumer rights and scamming an honest business.

    Costco is one of my rare list of “Good Company”. They treat their employees right, so their employees are happy and treat the customers (us) right, which made my shopping experience there always a good one.

    People, please don’t scam Costco. And I sincerely request consumerist to remove this article from the site.

  68. Noris159 says:

    @aaron8301: Congratulations on stealing, star poster. You must be proud sticking it to those evil corporations that provide jobs and livelihood for so many of your fellow humans.

  69. provolone says:

    freeloaders.

    Stealing is stealing. You can rationalize it by saying that Costco is “big”, but only if you’re dumb. Anyway, I’d consider this stealing not only from Costco, but from their members, who are often regular people.

  70. SacraBos says:

    At one time, we decided to save a few bucks and buy gas at Sam’s Club. After a couple of months, our van ran horrible. The gas had gummed up our injectors, the repair more costly than the “savings”. I don’t know of Costco is a TopTier gas or not, but I know the damage a cheap gas can cause by direct experience. They don’t show up on http://www.toptiergas.com, so caveat emptor.

  71. bwcbwc says:

    If you’ve got an Amex card, CostCo is a good deal. Since I don’t, the best deal for me is BJs, which is usually about a penny more than Costco, but I can use my Discover Gas Card which gives me 5% (up to $100 limit) or 1% back, knocking either 4 or 20 cents off per gallon.

    As I recall, certain Amex cards have similar cash-back deals.

  72. BMRFILE says:

    I shall send this to Costco headquarters promptly, so they can make the necessary changes to ensure members such as myself continue to enjoy exclusive savings.

  73. Scuba Steve says:

    @CPC24: You’d be wrong.

  74. caj11 says:

    If this is truly a technical glitch in Maryland stores and/or other states, it won’t be around much longer because the Consumerist had to blab about it and ruin it for everybody. Boo-hoo!

    That said, the closest Costco is at least 10 miles from me now and I don’t even know if they have a gas station. Even when I did live near a Costco with a gas station, their gas prices were never that great, at best 5 cents a gallon cheaper, certainly not enough to justify buying a $50 Costco membership, given the amount of driving I did back then. The amount of driving I do now probably wouldn’t justify it either.

  75. banmojo says:

    There are a lot of reasons to buy a Costco membership and shop there. Gasoline isn’t really one of them (Sam’s Club almost always has them beat, plus gives you a 5 cents/gallon discount if you’ve shopped there in between fill ups).

  76. xnihilx says:

    Costco here prompts you to run your membercard through first then your debit or AMEX so this is confusing. Plus, Costco here is usually the same as everyone else is for gas. In fact the local full service shop (one of the last remaining in Indiana area of Chicagoland) is typically 5-10 cents cheaper then the stations situated by the highways and Costco.

  77. seth1066 says:

    The local tightwad/freeloader in my town (you know the type) carries a Costco membership card that expired over three years ago. He shows it to get in the store and then hits every free food sample table about four times for a free lunch.

  78. InsaneFurry says:

    Costco’s here no longer sell gas that cheap, at least as far as the 87 stuff goes. They are usually the same as and sometimes slightly higher than the other stations. the last time I got gas there even the 93 stuff was only 2-3 cents below the other stations.

  79. Erwos says:

    Nice, so now we’re ripping off companies that aren’t evil? C’mon, Consumerist, “save money” is not a justification for unethical behavior.

  80. caj11 says:

    @banmojo: You’re right… there are other reasons to buy a Costco membership besides for gas but I still can’t see the justification for it if you are single (if you’ve got a decent size family, then definitely) unless you own a small business or something. Costco stores do have a good wine selection at low prices (where you can actually buy single bottles) although certain laws prevented Maryland grocery stores from selling alcohol, and Maryland considered them grocery stores.

  81. Starfury says:

    Costco gas at the Fremont, CA store isn’t much cheaper (maybe a nickel per gallon) than any other place. By the time I factor in the time it takes for the 6 cars ahead of me to get gas I’ll go somewhere else.

  82. hexychick says:

    Even if you have a membership and it expires, you can still swipe your Costco card and get the gas there because it doesn’t check the expiration date of your card. In May I went in to my local one in Sterling, VA and went to purchase some items inside. They wouldn’t ring me up because they said my card expired in February. I went up to Customer Service to find out what’s up because the date on my card says June 07 effective (so I wrongfully assumed that meant I had till June 08) and “I’ve been using those gas pumps right outside for the last 3 months with no problems.” The rep told me that the gas pumps don’t check the expiration date and the date on my card is just my sign up date. I said “So let me get this straight. I’m expired, I’ve been buying gas, and the machine doesn’t check the date so there’s nothign stopping me from using it, right? Okay, so what is the motivation for me to spend another $100 on a membership when I don’t even need it?” She just shrugged and that was that. I’ve been using it ever since.

  83. thrashanddestroy says:

    Yeah, not sure what the basis for this is, but it isn’t 100% correct.

    I work at a Costco in Michigan, and years back I actually worked in their gas station. Believe me, one of the most boring jobs ever; you’re basically there to help people only when they need help, and being that all that’s involved is swiping a card and pumping gas, that’s a rare instance in itself. That left me with a lot of walking-around-in-a-circle time, playing around with the pumps and passing time. We tried coming up with god knows how many ways to finagle gas without using a membership card or Costco AmEx.

    As it turns out, at one time, any ol’ American Express cards would work. Corporate caught onto this along with a credit card skimming scam that was going around on the west coast and most stores’ card readers were replaced. Not every store had their pumps updated, but the ones that did, the AmEx trick wont work on anymore.

    So basically, find an older pump/card reader and you’re gold. Newer ones? No such luck. Unfortunately for you guys, you have no way of telling which readers are new without being able to open the pump itself.

  84. Marshfield says:

    The problem with the Costco that sells gas near me is that the lines are so long that you waste 20 min and who knows how much gas just sitting in line. At 10 cents a gallon for a 17 gal fillup, I’d save a whopping $1.70 on a $70.00 purchase.
    Hardly worth the wait. That’s less than min wage savings per hour.