But before signing up, consider the costs. Warehouse clubs charge annual membership fees, which typically range from $45 to $120 per year, depending on the club and membership level.
Still, gas discounts alone can be worth the cost of joining, though your savings will vary depending on your location and mileage. If you average 20 cents on a gallon of gas, you could save over $112 per year, assuming your driving uses an average of 562 gallons per year. These savings alone would more than offset the cost of a basic warehouse membership or even cover most of the higher tier membership fees.
For example, someone living in Kansas City, Missouri paid $3.79 a gallon for regular gas at Costco, 20 cents less than the $3.99 cost at a nearby Phillips 66 station. , according to data from GasBuddy. If that person were to use 20 gallons of regular gas per week, they could save $208 per year at that rate, more than the cost of an upper-tier Costco membership.
And a driver stopping at a Sam’s Club near Long Beach, Calif., would pay $5.44 a gallon for a regular vehicle versus $6.39 at a local Mobil, according to GasBuddy. Potential annual savings for Sam’s Club member using 20 gallons of regular gasoline per week: $988.
Before you buy a subscription, especially if it’s just for gas, map warehouse locations and determine if you’ll really be able to do your regular refueling there, says Ted Rossman, principal analyst at the industry at CreditCards.com.
And be aware that many other drivers are looking for the same savings, which means you’ll likely face long lines at warehouse club fuel pumps. You might want to line up early in the morning to avoid long waits, Rossman says.
Also keep in mind that you will be committing to shopping at a big box store, where many of the best deals are in bulk.
If you’re not sure if a warehouse club membership is worth it, there’s little risk in trying one. All three warehouse clubs will allow you to join, cancel at any time, and get a refund.