Gas pumps fueling Costco sales

If you’ve’ bought your gas at Costco, you’ve had a hand in fueling profits at the popular warehouse club.

Costco Wholesale Corp. said quarterly profits rose better than Wall Street analysts expected as the high price of gas elsewhere drove members to its pumps and inside its stores.

A glance at average gas prices in metro Atlanta at midday Wednesday showed Costco and Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club had the lowest price for regular at 3.55 a gallon.  The average price of gas was $3.679 in metro Atlanta,   $3.685 in Georgia and $3.685 nationally, according to

Low-balling its fuel prices cuts into Costco’s profit margin, but as Reuters points out, it’s part of a larger strategy. Costco is banking on luring customers with its cheap gas in hopes they’ll park and go inside its warehouses and stock up.

As Reuters further notes:

Selling gasoline drives revenue, but gas is less profitable than other goods. Costco has said in the past that about 30 percent of its members buy gas and shop on the same day.

Gasoline sales also have helped sales at Wal-Mart‘s Sam’s Club.

Do you find yourself getting a better break on gas prices at wholesale clubs?

26 comments Add your comment


February 29th, 2012
3:06 pm

The only reason I joined Costco 3 years ago was the cheap gas. I would say 90% of the time we get gas we go inside to buy something that is overally excessive and not needed for a Husband, Wife and two small infants.


February 29th, 2012
3:09 pm

I appreciate Costco’s gas prices, but the best deal is at Kroger, with $.10 off per gallon for each $100. spent in the store per month. Yesterday I got premium for $3.35.


February 29th, 2012
3:13 pm

I always end up buying a bunch of stuff when I stop at costco for gas. Last week I bought 3 shirts and digital camera.

bob from account temps

February 29th, 2012
3:16 pm

to save 3-4 cents per gallon (a buck at most per tankful), it is hardly worth the hell one must endure with the traffic around the pumps and the time lost waiting.


February 29th, 2012
3:36 pm

Well lets see, there are nine Costco’s in metro Atlanta; that works out to be one Costco for every 555,500 people; also, If their lines are anything like Sam’s club, I am more than happy to pay a few cents more per gal.


February 29th, 2012
3:42 pm

Not every Costco has gas…the one in Brookhaven does not.


February 29th, 2012
3:55 pm

You spend $100.00 at Kroger to get 10 cents off. They make about 30% on that $100.00. The average fill-up is less than 15 gallons per car. They profit $30.00 and give you back $1.50. Costco does the same. They are not in the gas business to make money, they are in the store business. Before long they run the little guys out.

Dan Downer

February 29th, 2012
4:04 pm

The majority of folks are not as smart as bob from account temps. In my profession I see plenty of people mindlessly drive out of there way costing dollars to save pennies.


February 29th, 2012
4:25 pm

what is so funny is all the supposed wealthy people crowding the gas pumps at costco to save 10 cents a gallon! Any wealthy person wouldn’t care one way or the other about so I guess these fools at costco getting gas are just as broke as everyone else, they are just trying to act like they got it like that when they don’t.

Bob from Accounttemps

February 29th, 2012
4:45 pm

@bob from account temps: Hey! I’m the REAL Bob from Accounttemps. Come up with your own handle! And notice that not all Costco’s are created equal. Cumberland’s gas is typically 10-20 cents LESS per gallon than the gas at the Perimeter Costco. Their generosity only goes so far.


February 29th, 2012
4:48 pm

To answer the author’s question, I do find myself buying cheaper gas at warehouse clubs. Sam’s Club, to be specific.


February 29th, 2012
4:50 pm

Publix has the best deal-$50 gas gift cards for $40 for each $25 of Publix grocery purchase and you can choose from among most major dealers. For those of you who are weak on math, that is 20% off whatever the price is. Available as a coupon in their flyer. Not available every week but if you get when available can cover most of gas costs for average car.

View From Midtown

February 29th, 2012
5:11 pm

I was a CostCo shopper before, but after my new commute began taking by the Cumberland store regularly, I now buy my gas there almost exclusively. I don’t always go in to buy other things, but I do so on a regular basis buying the usual goods I get there.


February 29th, 2012
5:25 pm

Between Costco, Sams and Krogers I usually find the best price at one of them

bob from account temps

February 29th, 2012
5:40 pm

if your time and sanity have a value, costco and sam’s are not a good choice.

Kroger Gas

February 29th, 2012
8:58 pm

Kroger Gas is a deal if you don’t depend only on buying overpriced groceries. They give double points on gift cards, and sometimes quadruple. So if you buy a $50 card, you get 100 points –> $0.10 discount/gal –> $2 per minivan fillup … That’s equal to 4% “cash back” which I certainly can’t get on any of my credit cards.

(Technically, the first 100 points only gets you a 7cent incentive, since anybody with a Kroger card can get 3cents off by just scanning the card. The first 200 points = 17cents off, 300 points = 27 cents off, etc.)

I usually get a variety of fast food cards in the lowest denominations, then work on them for the whole month. When I have a big purchase coming up (e.g., spring planting materials from Home Depot), I try to buy a gift card for that store.

Tyler Durden

February 29th, 2012
9:21 pm

I’m Spartacus. I’m Bob from Accounttemps. I’m not who I say i am, You guys crack me up. I’m outta here. Wait, now who was I ?

Bob from Accounttemps 2.0 Default Settings

February 29th, 2012
9:23 pm

Dick Jackman

February 29th, 2012
9:26 pm

Buy gas where you want and don’t stress over it.

My Two Cents

February 29th, 2012
9:47 pm

Costco, Sam’s and Kroger are near me and I will purchase the cheapest fuel. Enjoy checking out the latest merchandise at Costco and Sam’s but just because I am in the store does not mean I buy something each time. Lines for gas at Costco can be longer on the weekends so I try to purchase fuel during the week.


March 1st, 2012
5:03 am

costco > sams

sams has too much walmart rif raf type customers. go with costco.

Dan Downer

March 1st, 2012
6:19 pm

Wow!!! It amazes me to see how many people actually think they save money by going to these stores. Like I said before they spend 5 dollars to drive to the store to save 5 cents a gallon or maybe a dollar total on a fill-up.

Kroger Gas

March 1st, 2012
8:26 pm

Dan Downer…
and yet if you pass by one of these stores 5x per week, why not take advantage of the dollar saved?


March 1st, 2012
9:15 pm

And with my Costco Amex card I get another 3% back, whether I buy it at Costco or not (exceptions do apply)

Rick S

March 1st, 2012
9:35 pm

Let’s be honest: The only way to solve the oil crisis and high gas prices is to take out that idiot in Iran!

Deal Me

March 5th, 2012
7:02 am

Best deal at Costco–$4.99 rotisserie chicken—can’t be beat!