Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (2024)

If you’re thinking of joining a warehouse club like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s, knowing which one offers cheaper gas might help you decide which is worth your money. That's because wholesalers usually mark down their gas prices to beat local competitors — sometimes by as much as $0.35 per gallon! This is how they try to get you into the store.

You’ll need a valid membership to score discounted gas from Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s. The Sam’s Club’s membership cost is the cheapest at $50 per year, while BJ’s is $55 per year and Costco is $60 per year (that’s without a membership deal).

But at Costco, you can actually get discounted gas without a membership (we explain how to do that in our Costco gas prices post). And certain BJ’s and Sam’s Club locations will let you pump gas without a membership — but you won’t get the discounted price.

Here's what you need to know about which club offers the cheapest gas, and how much you need to spend on gas to justify the membership fees.

For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, download the KCL app or text HACKS to 57299.

Which warehouse club has the cheapest gas? Sam's Club

Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (1)Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (2)

We compared gas prices at nine different locations of all three of the major warehouse clubs to see who had the cheapest gas.

Based on our findings, Sam’s Club was the clear winner for cheapest gas. So how much cheaper is Sam's Club gas? In some locations, gas prices for Sam’s Club were up to $0.19 cheaper per gallon than Costco and $0.13 cheaper per gallon than BJ’s.

But generally, Sam’s Club gas runs about $0.05 cheaper than Costco and BJ’s, and $0.22 cheaper than the local average. With a 12-gallon fuel tank, those savings of $0.22 per gallon can add up to $2.64 saved per fill up.

"Where I live, Sam's gas is always a penny less than Costco." - Holly H., KCL reader

KCL TIP: If you have a Walmart+ membership, you can actually get member prices at Sam’s Club gas pumps without a Sam’s Club membership; just use the Walmart app to pay at the pump. You can also use Walmart gift cards at Sam’s Club gas stations if the card has a magnetic strip (not a barcode).

How do Costco and BJ's gas stack up to Sam's Club?

When we compared prices at nine cities across the country, we found that Costco and BJ’s can definitely hold their own against local gas prices, even though gas prices for Sam's Club were typically the most competitive.

Overall, BJ’s gas was about $0.16 cheaper per gallon than the local average, while Costco gas was $0.19 cheaper per gallon. So you’re still saving money no matter which warehouse club you join.

These prices are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline in May 2024:

Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (3)Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (4)

So, how much could you actually save a year?

Let’s consider that the average person in the U.S. uses approximately 489 gallons of gas per year, according to a 2022 report by the American Petroleum Institute. With a 12-gallon gas tank, that’s about 41 fill-ups a year.

Using the average savings we calculated above, we can estimate how much you’ll save per fill-up and per year with a 12-gallon tank:

  • BJ's: $1.86 savings per fill-up, $90.72 savings per year

  • Costco: $2.33 savings per fill-up, $95.59 savings per year

  • Sam's Club: $2.69 savings per fill-up, $110.35 savings per year

Which warehouse club has the highest quality gas? Costco

Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (5)Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (6)

Costco gas is certified as “Top Tier,” which means it’s higher quality than even the EPA requires, based on the additives and detergents that get mixed into the gas. This means Costco gas is better quality than the gas at either Sam’s Club or BJ’s, which is likely why Sam’s Club gas is generally cheaper.

But if you’re a Sam’s Club or BJ’s shopper, don’t let it worry you too much — the fuel at either club meets all federal and state guidelines and is perfectly safe for your car. Unless you’re driving a luxury car or a vehicle that requires a specific kind of gas, it all pretty much works the same.

Does cheaper gas make it worth buying a membership?

To pay for a Sam's Club membership, you'd need to fill up your tank about once every three weeks (19 times a year).

Considering that you’re saving about $2.69 per fill-up at Sam’s Club compared to the local average, filling your tank just 19 times would pay for your basic Sam’s Club membership fee ($50). And that’s without factoring in any other savings you find inside the store.

Boost your savings: If you have the Sam’s Club Mastercard, you’ll also earn 5% back on gas you buy anywhere. That’s the equivalent of $1 back for every $20 you spend on gas.

To pay for a Costco membership, you'd need to fill up your tank about every two weeks (26 times a year).

At $60 per year, Costco has the most expensive annual membership (at the basic level). But with the gas savings at Costco, a Gold Star membership pays for itself after about 26 fill-ups at the pump.

Boost your savings: If you have the Costco Visa card, you’ll also get 4% back. That’s like getting $1 back for every $25 you spend on gas.

To pay for a BJ's membership, you’d need to fill up your tank about every two weeks (30 times a year).

A BJ’s membership costs $55 per year. Since you’ll save about $1.86 per fill-up with a 12-gallon tank, you’d need to fill up 30 times before the basic membership pays for itself.

Boost your savings: In addition to heavily-discounted gas, BJ’s also has a competitive gas rewards program for BJ’s credit card holders. Depending on which BJ’s credit card you get, you’ll save an extra $0.10 - $0.15 per gallon when you use your card to pay at BJ’s gas stations.

BJ's also has a savings program that allows you to stack more cents-per-gallon savings by buying certain in-store products.

Where to Find Warehouse Gas

The majority of Costco locations have a gas station. But as for Sam’s Club and BJ’s, finding gas pumps at clubs is a little more hit or miss.

Most Sam’s Club locations have gas pumps, but you’ll need to use the store locator tool on their website. And out of the 244 BJ’s Wholesale Club locations (as of May 2024), 175 of them have gas.

TIP: For the most part, BJ’s Wholesale Club locations are only on the East Coast, while Costco and Sam’s Club are available nationwide.

But if you live in New Jersey, you’re out of luck when it comes to discounts on gas.

New Jersey wholesale club members don’t have the same perks that members in other states do, as the state of New Jersey legally does not allow selling memberships for discounted gas.

While you’ll find plenty of gas stations at Costco, Sam’s, and BJ’s locations in New Jersey, you won’t find a per-gallon discount there like you will in other states.

Whose Gas Is Cheapest — Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's? (2024)
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