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October 27, 2008


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I get costco membership through a professional organization I belong to (so employer-paid, once removed). I'd always thought it was a strange perq, wonder how common it is.

I hate to sound like I'm spamming, but I always use the local affiliate of The site lets people submit gas prices from the stations in the local area, and it sorts these prices with the cheapest at the top. Usually when I need gas, I just load up this website and find the cheapest price that's reasonably close to my route. Doing this, very rarely does Sam's Club or Costco have the cheapest price in town.

I use a Shell or Marathon mastercard - both offer 5% off the price. How can Costco really compare to that?

Doesn't Costco have an Amex card you can get - does it offer cash back on gas, too? That might make your numbers work out better for your case.

I purchase things for a rec association from costco. I ended up with the executive card because of the rebate that is included. I end up saving money on gas between the discount and rebate. If I had just a regular membership, I wouldn't buy gas from costco.

I get my gas at BJ's and it is usually between 3 cents and 20 cents cheaper, probably averaging around 7 cents cheaper. It's not out of my way to go to BJ's, and then I have access to bananas for about 1/3-1/2 the price at the grocery store, so between the two of those weekly staples I'm sure that we make out for having our membership.

Thad --

Yes, you can get 5% back with an Amex at Costco.

The 5% back from the Costco Amex is the business card only. The regular card is 3%. That 3% is back at all gas pumps that accept Amex, including Costco.

There's also the 2% back from executive membership on all warehouse purchases, I don't know if Gas at Costco counts toward that.

If you were to upgrade to the executive card, which is another $50..$100 total annually, you'd get 2% back on everything. That includes gas purchases as near as I could tell. That would equate to about $0.05/gallon, or another $44. That's just for gas. Add on another 2% of all your other purchases.

The 2% on the executive card doesn't count for the gas station or the food court at Costco.

Even if Costco gas is cheaper (which depends on the area, it's not cheaper in Omaha, NE), you don't save anything on groceries at Costco if you compare it to the loss leaders at a grocery store. In fact, sometimes Costco is more expensive than shopping the ads. You'd be hard-pressed to make up for the rest of the membership and save enough warrant driving out of your way to get to Costco.

I can confirm the 5% gas rebate on the Costco AmEx business card. The discount also applies at standalone gas stations, but not at supercenters, supermarkets, or (ha!) competing wholesale clubs.

We use the Amex Blue Cash card. After you've charged $6K (on an annual basis, starting from the anniversary of when you got the card) you get %5 cash back on gas, groceries, and restaurants. You don't get that back on gas bought at a warehouse store though. Around here, Costco is never more than $0.10 less than other gas stations, so as long as gas is more than $2 a gallon, it makes more sense for me to get gas elsewhere. When gas was over $4/gallon, I was loving that I was actually paying $0.20+ less than everyone else!

We bought gas at Sam's Club over the weekend. We were shocked to see it was $2.19 (filling up my car) and $2.22 (wife's car) a gallon considering the station nearest our home was at $2.55.

By my calculations we saved about $10 this weekend alone.

Just a note: Costco gas was $.59 cheaper per gallon than my local station this weekend! At that rate, I will drive the extra mileage to Costco.

to Rick @1:52 PM -

I use the local affiliate of Gasbuddy and the only stations that are cheaper than Costco are ones that ONLY take cash. And they are only a penny or two cheaper. YMMV

I don't think this is for me. I have tried this but the food snack are not healthy and not enough for a sound lunch or dinner.

Plus, when I go to Cosco's I spend at least $100 and end up buying the samples I do eat. When that is not why I went to the store.

It's just not worth me gaining weight and being unhealthy.

Another assumption missed here but would nice to see is if you still save more, if anything, using Costco gas when taking MPG into consideration. A read of someone who did a test by evaluating the MPG he got using Costco gas vs. a major brand (think it was Shell). The conclusion was that Costco gave lower MPG vs. the major brand. He commuted pretty much the same path each week, but a few things were still missing in his evaluation though, such as difference in price between the two at the time he filled up. But from the MPG data we figured that the Costco gas had to be at least 11% cheaper to be on par with the major brand.

Costco in my area "North Carolina" is between 8-15 cents less, average about 11 cents less than any other place in town.
There is a possibility that gas from Costco is giving me lower MPG, I used to get 21-24MPG in my Lexus I now seem to be getting between 16-18 around town.
I haven't gone to a Shell or what ever to fill up and test this so cant say for certain.

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