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With gas prices rising, fuel economy is a priority for many. So is finding ways to save when filling up at the gas station. One way to save on gas is to visit a bulk retailer, such as Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s. Wondering how these three giant retailers stack up against each other? Read on to learn more. 

Costco gas is often the cheapest

Costco Gas Station with multiple vehicles at the pump.
Costco gas station | Getty Images

Costco has several advantages when it comes to finding a place to fill up at the pump that won’t leave you as shell-shocked as most gas stations will these days. First off is the price. ABC7 News revealed recently that Costco averages $0.20 less per gallon than the national average cost for gasoline. These low gas prices certainly help attract customers to Costco. Gas makes up around 10%, or $20 billion annually, of its overall sales.

What’s more, of the three retailers discussed here, Costco has by far the most locations across the country and even internationally. Investopedia reports that at the end of its 2021 fiscal year, Costco had 815 stores worldwide. This means that when you’re out on the road, you’re more likely to find a Costco to fill up at when your tank starts to run low than either of the other two stores. 

At $60, Costco’s membership fee comes in at the high end of the three. The product availability that you get for your money, though, has the others beat hands-down: Costco is known for offering higher-end wares than either BJ’s or Sam’s Club. 

BJ’s gas usually ranks in the middle in terms of prices

BJ’s tends to run around $0.10 below the national average when it comes to its fuel prices. So you can expect to save some when filling up your pump, but not quite as much as at Costco, generally speaking. Gas makes up only slightly less of BJ’s business than Costco’s: about 9% of its sales come from gas annually. 

BJ’s also has fewer than half the locations of Costco, according to Extrabux, with around 200 stores in 15 states. If you don’t travel outside of those states where it’s located much, you may not find that the number of BJ’s stores nationwide is an issue for you. But if you aren’t in a location where BJ’s is common, their lower prices probably won’t do you much good. 

Just as BJ’s gas prices come in somewhere in the middle when it comes to the three major bulk retailers, its membership fee does as well. For an annual membership, expect to shell out $55. 

Sam’s Club prices seem to depend on location 

Sam’s Club is a little harder to pin down regarding their gas prices and how the prices relate to their overall business model. In general, gas can cost anywhere from $0.10 to $0.20 per gallon less than the national average at Sam’s Club, depending on the store’s location and other factors. Sam’s Club, which Walmart owns, has also not revealed exactly what portion of their sales come from the gas pump. 

Sam’s Club does have one advantage over BJ’s when it comes to customer service: its number of locations across the country. With around 600 stores scattered throughout the country, there’s a good chance you’ll be near one when the tank starts to run low. It also has the lowest membership fee of the three, at $45. 

All in all, given the price of gas these days, you’re unlikely to go wrong with any of these choices if you are lucky enough to live in an area that has them nearby. Your savings at the pump would be sure to offset the cost of membership, no matter which store you go with.