Drive by a Costco during peak hours and you’ll likely see a line for the gas station. You may be wondering what all of the excitement is about.
Costco offers some of the most affordable gas around, while also providing high-quality top-tier fuel with additives that exceed requirements set by the EPA. Members often find that Costco gas is well worth the wait and the membership fee.
There are good reasons why Costco gas is so popular, but there are some caveats regarding who can buy Costco gas and how you can pay for it. Here’s everything that you ever wanted to know about Costco gas.
Why Prices Are Cheap
When you see how much more affordable gas is at Costco compared to most other gas stations, you might be a bit suspicious. Does the low price indicate poor quality?
In fact, gas is so cheap a Costco because of the way Costco works. Unlike most gas stations which sell pretty much only gas along with some odds and ends to get you through a long road trip, Costco sells thousands of everyday things in bulk.
However, you need a Costco membership in order to shop there. Membership sales provide Costco with as much as 75% of its profits.
Costco is able to convince people to buy a membership because they can get such great deals. The low cost of gas is one of those incredible deals.
People may come for the gas and leave with everything else that they need a lot of. Costco can charge less for gas because they are so likely to make the money up in additional purchases as well as the sale of membership.
Another reason that Costco can afford to charge less for their gas is that they use fuel additives that they source in bulk like the other things they sell. This doesn’t lower the quality of the gas, but it does mean that Costco can save some money while offering high-quality gas.
Don’t be worried that the affordability of Costco gas implies a compromise in quality. Costco supplies Kirkland Signature gas, widely acknowledged as a top-tier fuel option.
This brand isn’t just about meeting basic requirements; Kirkland Signature gas adheres to stringent additive standards set by the US, ensuring it’s on par with what you’d find at leading gas stations like Exxon, Chevron, Shell, Texaco, and Mobil.
Beyond just meeting these standards, Costco’s Kirkland Signature gas excels in quality. It’s formulated with detergent additives that not only enhance your vehicle’s fuel economy but also contribute to smoother engine operation and environmental benefits.
Using low-quality gas can lead to significant problems like clogged injectors, which diminish fuel efficiency and your car’s lifespan.
The cost of replacing such components can be substantial. However, by choosing Costco’s high-quality Kirkland Signature gas, you’re actively preventing these issues while ensuring optimal performance for your vehicle.
Notably, Costco gas doesn’t just meet but actually exceeds the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), offering an assurance of excellence despite its affordable price.
Top Tier Gas
Costco uses Kirkland Signature gas, which is a top-tier gas according to US requirements. It has detergent additives that keep your engine cleaner.
In fact, Kirkland Signature goes even further than the minimum requirements set by the US government to provide quality gas that helps your car run its best.
More detergent additives than are required by law enable superb performance for your vehicle by minimizing intake valve deposits.
When compared to gas that isn’t considered Top Tier, quality gas like Kirkland Signature can improve your fuel economy by as much as 4% and reduce emissions that negatively impact the environment. Not to mention, using Top Tier gas can improve your driving experience.
WhY Top Tier Gasoline Matters
Top-tier gasoline like the Kirkland Signature gas used by Costco is recommended by many automakers, including Honda, Toyota, Ford, FCA, GM, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen, because it can help your engine run better over time.
Top-tier gas is also better for the environment than gas that isn’t top-tier. It meets the standards set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Very high quality top-tier gasoline like Kirkland Signature goes even further than the recommendation set by the EPA by adding additional detergents that help your car run better.
Even if your car manufacturer doesn’t recommend top-tier gasoline, it’s likely that using this gas will improve the life of your engine and your fuel economy. It’s also better for the environment.
Costco sells both regular and premium gas. In some locations, it also sells diesel. Generally, Costco gas has 87 octane for regular gas and 91 octane for premium gas.
The amount of octane in the gas is determined at the refinery, it is not an additive. Octane levels are the only thing that’s different between the regular and premium unleaded gasoline at Costco.
The Kirkland Signature gas sold at Costco contains an amount of ethanol established by the Renewable Fuels Standard set by the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005. The amount of ethanol contained in Costco gas can be found on the pump.
Costco gas contains deposit control additives to keep your engine cleaner, improve fuel economy, and reduce the negative impact on the environment, as required by EPA guidelines for top-tier gas.
Its diesel gas contains additional detergent additives designed to lubricate and reduce friction as well as keep fuel injectors clean.
Costco also strives to maintain its stations well in order to improve the quality of its gas further. Fuel filters are used to catch any debris bigger than 10 microns. The nozzle flow rate is regularly checked and when it falls too low the filter is changed.
These ethanol-compatible filters can catch all kinds of sediment, water, and separated ethanol. Furthermore, electronic sensors underground constantly check for any water that may be contaminating the gas.
As an added protection, Costco takes chemical samples and inspects them weekly for contamination.
Cost vs Competition
There aren’t lines stretching out from Costco gas stations every day for nothing. If you compare Costco gas to the competition, you’ll find that it really is cheaper.
Costco can keep gas prices as much as 5 to 25 cents lower per gallon than the competition. When gas prices go up in the area, Costco can keep their prices lower for longer.
While 5 to 25 cents per gallon may not seem like a lot, those gallons add up quickly. In fact, many members find that just the savings on gas make the membership fee worthwhile.
Using the Costco Visa card can bring your price down even further, with as much as 4% savings on gas. In fact, the Costco Anywhere Visa lets you save 4% on gas even at other gas companies.
Here’s Why People Love Costco Gas
Costco gas is popular for a number of very good reasons, any one of which may make you consider making the switch from your neighborhood gas station to Costco:
- Price. Costco gas is more affordable than most other gas of the same quality, as much as five to twenty-five cents less.
- Quality. Costco gas is top-tier and exceeds EPA guidelines for detergent additives that help your car to run better. Furthermore, Costco gas is carefully monitored and filtered to ensure that it is of the highest quality every time you fuel up.
- Convenience. Pretty much everyone can find things they want to buy in bulk and save money on at Costco, so why not fuel up at the same time as you’re stocking up on other supplies?
When Does Costco Gas Open?
If you’re a member, you can fuel at Costco any day of the week starting at 6 am. It may not be a bad idea to get there early either, since there are often long lines as people fuel up before work.
What Time Does Costco Gas Close?
Costco closes at 9:30 p.m., which is late enough to avoid the after-work rush that may leave you waiting in line for your gas.
Do All Costco Gas Stations Have the Same Hours?
All Costco gas stations maintain the same hours: 6 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. for members.
The one downside to using Costco gas is the lines. You’ll notice a wait for Costco gas at most locations, particularly during peak hours like before and after typical work times on weekdays.
Lines at Costco gas are long because Costco gas is affordable and high-quality, making it very popular. Costco does its best to keep things moving by using one-way traffic that makes it easy to get out of the station after fueling up.
You can pay with a Visa credit card, Costco shop cards, or most debit cards. However, despite its best efforts, lines for Costco gas are still generally pretty long.
In order to use Costco gas, you must either be a Costco member or have a Costco shop card. You will need to insert your membership card to pump gas at Costco.
The system will read the membership number and make sure the membership is active, so don’t think that you can get away with using an expired card to buy Costco gas.
If you’re not a member but have a Costco shop card given to you by a member, you’ll need to ask an attendant before you fuel up.
Costco only accepts Visa credit cards. MasterCard and American Express are not accepted.
You can use almost any kind of pin debit card and Costco shop cards. If you’d like to pay with a check or cash, you’ll need to purchase a Costco Shop Card, which requires a membership.
If someone has purchased a Costco shop card for you, you can ask an attendant to authorize the pump and then use your Costco shop card to pay for fuel.
Does Costco Gas Take Apple Pay?
Costco gas does take Apple pay, but your Apple payment account needs to be tied to a Visa credit card for it to be accepted.
Can You Use a Costco Gift Card for Costco Gas?
You can use a Costco gift card, also known as a Costco shop card, to buy gas. However, if you aren’t a Costco member, you’ll need to get assistance from an attendant before paying with your Costco gift card.
You cannot pay for Costco gas directly with cash. However, you can purchase a Costco Shop Card using cash and then use it to buy gas.
You can also buy a Costco shop card for anybody, including non-members, which they can then use to buy Costco gas.
Costco gas has a lot of advantages over your neighborhood gas station. Gas at Costco is more affordable than the competition, and it is of a very high quality.
If you primarily fuel up at Costco, you’ll likely find that you pay for your membership fee and then some with savings on fuel. As an added benefit, you can buy lots of other stuff at a reduced rate at the same time as you fuel up.
The only downside of Costco gas may be how popular it is: expect a bit of a wait, especially during peak hours.