'How to Find the Cheapest Gas Near You'

‘We recommend avoiding the popular crowdsourced gas-price finder GasBuddy. It’s a privacy nightmare, and you have better options.’
says Wirecutter GasBuddy Is a Privacy Nightmare. Here Are Other Ways to Find the Cheapest Gas. | Wirecutter

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That article was interesting and helpful.
I can add that Gas Buddy’s deletion of Costco gas stations–which are consistently cheaper than the gas stations that they do list–makes it a much less useful tool than it used to be. I assume that this app has also decided to delete Sam’s Club stations and BJ’s stations, although I can’t say for sure.

I could see why GasBuddy would delist the shopping club stores since you need to be a member to buy there. Members know they will get a lower price.

The best tip is to keep your eyes open while you drive. If you see cheaper gas and you need some, pull in and buy some.

If you burn 1/4 gallon of $4.25 gas to save 5 cents a gallon on a 15 gallon fill up, you lost money. But many can’t do that math.


In this era of rising gas prices, I almost hesitate to do something that will make the lines longer at Costco stations, but–at least in my state–you don’t have to be a member of a warehouse club or any other organization in order to buy gas at those stations. That is a statutory requirement in NJ.

The only “limitation” on who can buy gas at Costco stations in NJ is that you must have a Visa credit card or a Visa debit card for payment, as they don’t accept cash or other cards.

Is this the case in your state?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but if Florida restricts your freedom to buy gas wherever you choose, I strongly suggest that you contact your state legislators, in the hope that they end those restrictions.

My wife was one of those, couldn’t convince her no matter how hard I tried.

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No, the buyers clubs like Costco or Sams can restrict sales to members only. Per their website.

Most of our fuel stations are restricted to “Members Only”, and you must have a valid Membership to purchase fuel. However, a small number of our fuel stations are open to the general public and Members. These locations are either co-located with a Walmart Store or are required by law to be open for public use. At these stations we offer a .05¢ discount for Members and Walmart+ users with the exception of New Jersey which does not allow the discounting of fuel for membership.

New Jersey residents can buy gas there, but as you see, you don’t get discounted gas at Sam’s Club while Florida residents do. I bought gas for $3.94 at Sam’s when the local price was $4.17. More than a 5 cent discount. Since I was nearby anyway and I had my truck, that was a savings of $5 on a fill up.

I like the discount. Seems your state is alone in that regard. I think we’ll keep the arrangement we have.

So do I, and because Costco’s Top Tier gas is consistently cheaper than nearby competitors, and because anyone can buy their gas there, everyone in NJ enjoys that discount–if they are aware that membership isn’t needed.

A few days ago, after filling-up at Costco for $3.89 per gallon, about 1 mile later I passed a Quick Chek convenience store/gas station, and their price per gallon was $4.39–for non-Top Tier gas–and the line there was much longer than at the Costco station.
Go figure!

My dad still does that to this day.

The first school Principal for whom I worked might have been one of those.
Every Saturday, she spent most of the day taking her elderly mother to one supermarket where the canned tomatoes were 7 cents cheaper, then to another store where the flour was 5 cents cheaper, then another where the frozen peas were 2 cents cheaper, and so on, and so on…

I think that the Principal probably did understand that she was spending a LOT more on gas to pilot her mother around in Mom’s late '60s-era land barge than her mother was saving, but she was apparently unable to convince her mother of that reality. A few of us advised her to give her mother the “extra” 40 cents, and just go to one convenient supermarket, but she was apparently unable to convince her mother that this would be more economical in the long run, rather than wasting both her time and her gas on that all-day expedition.

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Here in the St. Louis area it does show Sam’s Club. We don’t have a CostCo at the moment so I can’t say.

@davepsinbox_157004 Mr. Google shows a Costco at 4200 Rusty Road , 63128 .

That’s quite a distance from me. I wasn’t aware of it and thought the one planned for Olive Blvd. was a first. In any event, I’d never drive that far out of my way for gas.

This is kind of misleading since gasbuddy is also gasbuddy.com, a perfectly normal website that doesn’t intrude on your privacy any more than any other website does.

But I agree, the whole situation with and app for this and an app for that that runs in the background on your device gathering data is a problem. Can’t you disable the current location privilege to apps like this in the operating system? Or would that kind of defeat the point of the app if it alerts you when you’re driving by a gas station with cheap gas?

One issue I wonder about with gas that’s a little cheaper, is if there is a quality difference. Could it be contaminated with a little bit of water, or have more ethanol, or more additives? Are there subtle differences that would make some brands of gasoline a couple percent better in terms of energy per gallon compared to cheaper brands?

I don’t know about Minnesota. The Costco I go to doesn’t have pumps that I know about. I was just happy to see their coffee back in stock though. Sams has pumps but I don’t go there.

Amazing so many brands of gas are the exact same price.

Yeah it’s called good ole competition. I was in a Super America one morning and the manager was on the phone with her betters. She was explaining that they needed to drop the price down because the other stations around were lower. I assume she got the OK but didn’t stick around. Sorry for eavesdropping on your conversation but make those calls in your office instead.

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Either that or price fixing

Prices are very similar when they’re low or high. The wholesale price is pretty much the same for everyone, add taxes and a dealer markup and you end up in the same place.

Different trucks with different logos all pull out of the same refinery.

The manager of the pumps at my local Costco explained their pricing procedure to me a few years ago. Each morning, he has to check the prices at all of the other gas stations in the same zip code as his station (I assume that he uses Gas Buddy, or something similar), and to price his gas 1 cent lower than the cheapest competitor–including the no-name stations.

As I’ve learned over the past couple of years, that leads to variations in Costco’s gas pricing. There is one Costco station about 12 miles East of my house that consistently charges ~13 cents per gallon more than the one closest to my house. Another Costco station about 20 miles South is almost always ~7 cents more per gallon than my local one. So, when you go to a Costco station, you can be pretty confident that it is the cheapest in that zip code, but it may not be cheaper than other Costco stations. Now that I have become aware of these patterns, I know which Costco to patronize fpr my usual fill-ups, and–luckily–it is the one adjacent to the Costco where I shop once each week.