Not every Costco purchase requires a membership. In fact, non-members can grab a bite to eat at the outdoor food court, get an eye exam at the optical center, get prescriptions at the pharmacy and even purchase alcoholic beverages. Non-members can also fill up their gas tank without needing a membership. We’ll tell you how below.
Why Buy Gas at Costco?
Before we tell you how you can buy gas at Costco without a membership, we will first address why you would even want to purchase gas from there in the first place.
According to an article published by Reader’s Digest, “Costco’s gas prices are the lowest in many states.” One reason for that is because membership sales make up about 75% of Costco’s profits, so they can afford to keep their gas prices low.
Having a card-only policy at the pump also helps the warehouse chain keep its operating costs to a minimum. And, of course, it helps to have the gas stations right next to the store. This entices customers to come inside and spend more money.
But, it’s not just the fact that the gas there is so cheap. It’s also the fact that Costco’s gas is high-quality. In fact, according to the Reader’s Digest article, Costco’s gas meets Top Tier gasoline standards. In other words, its gasoline has additives that help keep your engine clean and performing its best.
DID YOU KNOW?
Costco’s low gas prices actually cause the warehouse club to lose money. In fact, Costco’s earnings growth came to a screeching halt last quarter — mainly due to weakened gasoline margins.
According to an article published by Yahoo! Finance, “gasoline produces volatile profits. In the recent months, gasoline costs rose, and Costco was deliberately slow to raise its prices to foster customer loyalty and drive traffic to its gas stations and, by extension, its warehouses.
However, this strategy comes at the cost of profitability. Conversely, when gasoline prices are falling, Costco tends to earn higher margins from its gas business, and the recent rally in gasoline prices should peter out soon, so Costco’s profitability from this segment will improve in the near term.”
What You Need To Know Before You Go
The downside to filling up your tank at Costco is the wait. The lines there can be very long, so if you’re in a hurry or your tank is almost empty, you will definitely want to bypass Costco and head for another gas station without so many customers there.
But, if you’ve got time on your hands and enough gas that you won’t risk running out while in line, it’s a good idea to head to a Costco station. When you get there, just make sure you don’t block the middle lane. That lane isn’t for sitting but rather for maneuvering around other cars to get to an available pump.
FYI: You can beat the crowds if you fill up during off-peak hours (e.g., early afternoons during the middle of the week) or first thing in the morning when the gas station is open, but the warehouse is still closed. For example, some locations open four hours before the warehouse opens.
The next thing you need to know is that you should always check the price before you head to Costco. While Costco’s gas prices are usually lower than competitor’s, that might not always be the case. That being said, you can download an app that will let you search for cheap gas in your area before you even pull out of your driveway.
Something else to keep in mind is that Costco offers regular and premium grade diesel as well — but only at select locations. And, just like Costco’s Kirkland Signature ™ Gasoline, Costco’s Kirkland Signature ™ Diesel also meets Top Tier standards.
It’s formulated with special additives to deep clean your engine, keep your injectors clean, prevent harmful wear, protect critical fuel system components, and help improve combustion for easy start-up and smooth operation.
Additionally, Costco’s gas stations are designed so that it doesn’t matter which side your gas tank is on. “There’s one-way traffic flow, and extra-long pump hoses allow you to fill up from either side,” Clark.com wrote on its website.
Lastly, getting gas at Costco isn’t worth it for some people. While the warehouse club boasts low prices and has hundreds of gas stations spread out across the U.S., some people don’t live close enough to a Costco to warrant a trip there to fill up the tank.
“Such drives are also counter-productive in that they consume fuel — a drive of much more than 20 miles would eliminate the savings most people would get on Costco gas when you consider the gas they’d burn up getting there,” Business Business wrote on its website.
How You Can Buy Gas at Costco Without a Membership
And, now for the moment, you’ve all been waiting for — how to buy gas at Costco without a membership. It’s quite simple, really. All you need to do to buy gas at Costco without a membership is get your hands on a Costco Shop Card.
Wait, what is that? We’re glad you asked. A Costco Shop Card is basically a gift card. They range in denominations from $25 up to $2,000. But there’s a catch. If you’re a non-member, you cannot purchase a Shop Card from Costco yourself.
Someone will actually have to give you one. So, if you have a friend or a family member who’s a Costco member, you might want to ask that person to buy a card for you. And, if that doesn’t work, you can always ask a stranger for one.
By that, we mean looking online for someone selling them. A quick search on eBay will turn up tons of results, with cards ranging in price from less than $2 to nearly $500, depending on the number of cards you purchase and the account balance on each one.
There is another option for getting gas at Costco without a membership. It requires heading to the gas station with a Costco member. According to Costco.com, members can bring up to two guests with them to the warehouse during each visit.
That being the case, you can drive your car and have your friend use their card to pay for the gas. Once the transaction is complete, you can pay them back. Voilà! A full tank of gas without having to pay for a membership.
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