Filling Up at Costco Gas Stations

I just got back from filling my car up at my local Costco gas station. However, knowing that I was going to be writing this article about the wholesale club’s gas stations, I paid extra attention to things like never before. 

For example, I never knew that the pumps display hours when you can fill up or where the air for your tires was located. Also, I knew that Costco gas is often much cheaper than other places, but this time I’ve got the receipts–literally.

filling up my car at costco gas station
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Costco gas stations

There was lots of other new-to-me information about Costco gas stations that maybe you aren’t aware of either. Thus, the purpose of this article.

For example, not every Costco location has a gas station. I assumed, wrongly, that they all did.

That’s because every Costco where I shopped regularly — Philadelphia area, outside Pittsburgh, Jersey Shore and Massachusetts — all had gas stations. In fact, these gas stations have had some of the longest lines I’d ever seen, and I lived through the gas crisis of the 1970s!

line of cars costco gas station and wholesale club featured image
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Also, nearly all Costco gas stations are self-serve. That is, unless they are located in New Jersey or Oregon*. Unless you’ve never seen bumper stickers or memes that say “Jersey girls don’t pump gas,” then you might be surprised to learn that it’s against the law in Jersey or Oregon to pump your own gas. 

While every Costco station has attendants on premises for answering questions and the like, in those two states they are there to fill your car with gas. Like I said, it is illegal to pump gas yourself there. 

*The Oregon house recently passed a bill to make it legal to use self-serve gas pumps. Full disclosure: the Oregon representative who sponsored that bill is my cousin.

Questions about Costco gas stations

kirkland signature gasoline pump vertical
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

I know that people have lots of questions about getting gas at Costco. Hopefully, I’ve got the answers you seek. 

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In fact, I’m going to address these questions about and tricks for using Costco gas stations:

  • Costco gas hours
  • Is Costco gas cheaper than other places
  • Can you pay cash for gas
  • Do you have to be a Costco member to buy gas
  • How do you get gas at Costco
  • Does Costco gas stations have air to fill tires
  • Is Costco gas good for your car

Costco gas hours

It appears that Costco gasoline stations are open, at the very least, the same hours that the Costco warehouse is. That being said, hours can depend on your location. 

However, at my local Costco, I snapped this picture of the gas station hours on the pumps. Then I compare that with the warehouse club hours.

costco gas station hours on pump
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

And guess what?

The gas station is open earlier and stays open later than the club itself.

Costco warehouse hours

For example, at the Costco warehouse I use in Massachusetts, here are the club hours:

Mon-Fri. 10:00 AM – 08:30 PM
Sat. 09:30 AM – 06:00 PM
Sun. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM

Costco gas station hours

Now, let’s compare that with the Costco gas hours, as posted on the pumps:

Mon-Fri. 6:00 AM – 09:00 PM
Sat. 07:00 AM – 08:00 PM
Sun. 07:00 AM – 07:00 PM

This is good information to have if you’re needing gas on the way to work or before the club opens in the morning.

On the other hand, keep in mind that the gas station is open only on the days that the warehouse club is. Therefore, the gas station is closed on the same holidays that Costco is closed.

Holidays that Costco is closed

Costco is always closed on the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Sunday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day
costco holiday hours sign new
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Is Costco gas cheaper than other places

On the day I drove to Costco to fill up my car, I had to go to a Costco location in Danvers, Massachusetts. That’s the nearest one to me, until the Costco in Maine opens.

Anyway, on my way, I noted what other gas stations were charging for regular gas. Those prices ranged from $3.49 to $3.69 per gallon.

When I got to Costco, I snapped a picture of the per gallon price on the pumps.

So, how much was gas at Costco? It was 3.23 for regular and 3.90 for premium.

costco gas prices up close on pump
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Unlike “regular” gas stations, Costco does not advertise gas prices with a neon sign or anything. You have to get up close to see the actual prices.

But, based on my unscientific research, I can say wholeheartedly that Costco gas is cheaper–by about $.26 per gallon for regular, at the very least. Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken note of premium prices on the way, because I never use premium fuel in my vehicle.

Can you pay cash for gas

no cash accepted at costco gas stations
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Unfortunately, Costco gas stations do not take cash or checks. Your only option is to pay with a card, and even then you’re limited.

You’re probably familiar with the fact that Costco accepts EBT for groceries and other eligible items. And as far as credit cards go, you can use VISA-branded cards only.

At the gas pumps, your only option is a VISA credit or debit card, or Costco gift card known as Costco Shop Cards. You can purchase Costco Shop Cards at the customer service desk inside the wholesale club.

payment options at costco gas station pump
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Speaking of Costco Shop Cards, check out this membership deal.

Costco Membership Deal via Groupon

The best deal on a Costco Membership right now is through Groupon. When you sign up, you’ll get your one-year membership plus a $40 Costco Digital Shop Card for free.

In case you didn’t know, the Costco Shop Card is the store’s gift card. You can use it in store or online.

This offer is for new Costco memberships only or for former Costco members whose membership expired more than 18 months ago. So, if you’ve moved, there wasn’t a Costco nearby and you let your membership lapse for more than 18 months, you’re good to go to sign up for this deal again!

Also, you can avoid the lines at your Costco location by signing up for this Groupon Costco deal. This was the crowd at the new Costco in Maine near where I live. Yikes!

lines at costco on opening day
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Terms and Conditions

  • After purchase you’ll receive an email from Costco confirming your membership details. To pick up your membership card, stop by the membership counter at any Costco location and bring a copy of that email with your photo ID. Incentive will be emailed within 2 weeks after sign-up to qualifying members.
  • You’re receiving a One-Year Costco Gold Star Membership
  • A membership card for the Primary Cardholder and one additional Household Card for anyone living at the same address, over the age of 16
  • A $40 Digital Costco Shop Card (valid at Costco locations and Costco.com)
  • Valid only for new members and those whose previous memberships (Primary and Household) have been expired for at least 18 months or more.
  • Please allow up to two hours to receive your confirmation email from Costco. You must have either your Costco or Groupon confirmation email to receive your physical membership card at a Costco location.
  • A physical membership card is not required to shop online or receive your incentives.
  • Incentive includes a $40 Digital Costco Shop Card
  • Digital Costco Shop Card will be emailed within 2 weeks after sign-up to qualifying members.
  • Digital Costco Shop Card will be emailed to the email address provided by the Primary Member at time of sign-up.
  • Not valid for the renewal of an existing Costco membership.
  • To purchase this package, you must be 18 years of age or over, and agree to Costco’s Membership Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  • All sales final.
  • $40 Digital Costco Shop Card is not redeemable for cash, except as required by law. Digital Costco Shop Cards are not accepted at Costco Gas Stations, Car Washes, or Food Court Kiosks.

Again, this a Groupon-only deal for a Costco membership.

Other warehouse club memberships

Perhaps you prefer to shop at another warehouse club because it is more convenient to where you live than Costco is. Good news: Both BJs and Sam’s Club have Groupon deals right now for memberships. Plus, both tend to have gas stations where members can get a cheaper price when filling up the gas tank.

Do you have to be a Costco member to buy gas

Interesting thing about those aforementioned Costco Shop Cards. If you, as a member, buy one and give it to a non-member, that non-member can use it to pay for gas at Costco. Otherwise, there is no other way for non-members to fill up at Costco.

This is because every time you want to use the gas pump, you have to scan your Costco membership card before paying.

Or, you can hold up your Costco-branded VISA card (like I did) to the card reader, and in one step it recognizes your membership AND your card number for payment. Easy peasy.

holding costco credit card at gas pump
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

So, do you need a membership for Costco gas? Absolutely. Unless a Costco member or friend gives you a Costco Shop Card. Then, you can use that to fuel up your vehicle at a Costco gas station.

How to get gas at Costco

I’ve explained that mostly Costco members are the ones who can get gas at Costco. The one exception is if you, the Costco member, buys a Costco Shop Card and gives it to a non-member to use to fill up.

Now as far as the actual process of how to get gas at Costco, it’s important to understand the setup at most Costcos with gas stations. Every Costco gas station I’ve ever used has a gas station within the store’s parking lot.

However, it has a single entrance into the gas station area. Then, there is a single exit that lets you exit back into the parking lot to go shopping or leave the shopping center entirely.

For example, at the new Costco in Maine near where I live now, once you’re done pumping gas, you can exit to the left and you’ll leave the shopping center. On the other hand, if you continue straight or to the right, you’ll be in the parking lot to continue your shopping.

Steps to get gas at Costco

Now to the steps to getting gas at Costco:

  1. Enter the Costco gas station area.
  2. Take an open spot at a pump.
  3. Open your vehicle’s gas tank.
  4. Take out your Costco member card or credit card and scan the membership number to activate the pump. There is a red laser on the pump to read your card.
  5. Alternately, if you do not have your Costco member card, you can tap your Costco VISA card to pay and it will automatically recognize your member number. You do not have to insert your Costco card at the gas station.
  6. Choose the kind of gas you want.
  7. Remove the gas pump handle.
  8. Pump gas until it shuts off.
  9. Remove nozzle from your car, reset it at the pump and choose whether your want a receipt or not

And there you have it, how to get gas at Costco. It’s basically the same as other kinds of gas stations. You just won’t find windshield cleaning fluid bins and washing sponges like regular gas stations.

Does Costco gas stations have air to fill tires

One of the ways that Costco keeps its prices cheap is by not offering lots of amenities you might find at other gas stations. For example, if you’re hoping to wash your windshield while waiting for your tank to fill, you’re out of luck. Costco does not provide window cleaning supplies in the center islands like other gas stations.

On the other hand, you may be able to find air to fill your tires. However, it likely isn’t at the gas station. 

air at costco
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Instead, if your Costco offers tire services like mine does, then look for air filling stations there. When I walked over to where I would bring my car for new tires, that’s where I found the two air filling stations shown below.

Is Costco gas good for your car

I’m not an expert on gas quality, so I’ll share what the expert says. And that’s this: Costco gasoline has been certified to meet TOP TIER performance standards.

What does Top Tier fuel mean? It improves performance, restores fuel economy, reduces emissions, and helps protect fuel injectors and intake valves from harmful deposits.

top tier gas label vertical costco
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

In fact, Top Tier recommends Kirkland Signature Gasoline at Costco gas stations in Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States.

Finally, I don’t know what company makes Costco Kirkland signature gas. However, this article outlines the brand names behind Costco brand products.

Questions and answers about Costco gas

Since first writing this article this past spring, I’ve received many more questions about Costco gas stations. So, in this section, you’ll find a recap Q&A about everything you need to know about using Costco gas stations.

What time does Costco gas close?

I’ve found that Costco gas stations close anywhere from 30 minutes after the warehouse club closes to as much as two hours later.

What time does Costco gas open?

Just like the fact that gas stations close later than Costco, the Costco gas stations open earlier than the warehouse club does. However, they open significantly earlier.

For example, at the Danvers, Massachusetts, Costco location, the gas station opens three hours earlier than the store does during the week. Then, on weekends, it opens one to two hours earlier, depending on the day.

However, keep in mind that Costco locations are always closed on major holidays. So, for example, if you’re looking for gas on New Year’s Day or Memorial Day, you’ll be out of luck.

Costco is always closed on these holidays:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1st)
  • Easter Sunday
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day (July 4th)
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Christmas Day (December 25th)

Do you need a Costco card to get gas?

There are two ways you can buy gas at Costco. One, you can use your Costco membership card, which you’ll need to scan, and then pay with a VISA card.

Or, two, you can use a Costco Shop Card, which is the Costco version of a gift card. In fact, even if you do not have a membership but have a Costco Shop Card, you’ll be able to buy gas.

Can you use a Costco digital membership card for gas?

Unfortunately, you cannot use the digital version of your Costco membership card at gas stations. I had to load mine on my phone to check this out.

Also, in doing this, I learned that the digital card also cannot be used at Costco food courts.

Finally, I took the screenshot of my digital card above to highlight the message about the gas station information. Interestingly, after I did that, I got an error message saying that I cannot use a screenshot of my card at the wholesale club.

This probably has a lot to do with the fact that, like Netflix, Costco is cracking down on members who share their membership card with non members.

Does Costco accept cash?

Costco, the warehouse club, lets you pay for items inside the store with cash. However, outside at the gas pumps, you must pay with a card.

How much cheaper is Costco gas?

On my last visit to the Costco club in Danvers, Massachusetts, gas at Costco was about $.20 or 20 cents cheaper than gas at surrounding stations.

How can you check the Costco gas prices?

Unfortunately, unlike “regular” gas stations, Costco does not advertise its gas prices. For example, there isn’t a neon sign on a nearby highway or street that shows you the price. Or, at least I’ve never seen that as I have with gas stations at BJs Wholesale Club or Sam’s Club.

Therefore, you have to drive up to the pumps to see prices. Or, you could pull into the parking lot and walk over to see prices, if you don’t want to commit to sitting in a long gas line.

Do all Costco gas stations have air?

I can’t say for sure if each and every Costco gas station has air. However, I found that if the Costco location has a tire or garage service, then you’re more likely to find air pumps nearby.

Is Costco gas Top Tier?

Yes, Costco gas is rated Top Tier.

Do all Costco locations have gas stations?

No, not every Costco has a gas station.

How do you pump gas at Costco?

Costco gas stations work similarly to other gas stations. However, there is one difference.

In order to activate the gas pump, you have to scan a Costco card first. It could be your membership card or the bar code on a Costco Shop Card.

Also, Costco VISA cards have your membership information on the back of them. So, you can scan them in lieu of taking out your membership card.

Then, your next step is to pay. You can do this by tapping a chip-enabled card or by inserting your card.

After that, it’s just like a regular gas station. You’ll choose the gas you want–regular or premium–remove the handle and start gassing up your car.

Finally, it appears that Costco only sells regular and premium unleaded gas. I have not seen pumps that dispense diesel fuel.

Costco car washes

Some Costco locations with a gas station also have a Costco car wash. Right now, there are Costco car washes open in five states. They are:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Tennessee
  • Washington State

However, soon there will a Costco car wash in Oregon. There have been news reports about a new location in Bend, with a gas station and car wash.

It appears the very first Costco car wash opened in 2006 in Seattle, Washington.

Costco car wash locations

As far as existing Costco car wash locations, here are the cities in each of those five states:

Arizona

  • Glendale
  • Scottsdale

California

  • Lancaster
  • Norwalk
  • Oxnard
  • San Juan Capistrano
  • Torrance
  • Victorville

Idaho

  • Boise

Tennessee

  • Brentwood
  • Murfreesboro

Washington

  • Bellingham
  • Seattle

Price of Costco car wash

From what I could find from publicly available information, a car wash at Costco costs $7.99. Here is what each car wash includes:

  • Exterior Wash and Wax
  • Tire Shine and Wheel Cleaner
  • Undercarriage Wash with Rust Inhibitor
  • Spot Free Rinse
  • Envirosoft Foam Brushes

Final thoughts on Costco gas stations

So, is it worth it to fill up with fuel at Costco when visiting the wholesale club? Absolutely, especially when the gas is at least 26 cents a gallon cheaper than surrounding gas stations.

My Subaru Forester has a 15-gallon tank. So 26 cents multiplied by 15 gallons equals $3.90 I save each time I get gas, assuming I’m on empty. Over time those savings really do add up.

costco gas receipt
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Future Costco locations

In this article about new stores coming soon, I talk about future Costco locations. However, I can’t tell if these locations will have gas stations.

Unfortunately, Costco does not have a comprehensive list of gas station locations–existing or coming in the future.

However, I did find a number of news reports about a Costco location in Bend, Oregon coming soon.

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4 Comments

  1. It would be interesting to see a comparison between COSTCO and Sam’s Club. We belong to both but tend to buy our gas at Sam’s as the lines are always shorter and the prices seem to be very similar.