From chicken drumsticks to paper towels or even a trampoline, you can find just about anything at warehouse clubs like Sam’s. But what if you don’t have any use for a 10-lb bag of sugar or 32 rolls of paper towels?
If you drive a lot, a Sam’s Club membership may make sense just based on the gas savings alone. Let’s look at some numbers.
How Much Does a Sam’s Club Membership Save on Gas?
A basic Sam’s Club membership costs $45 per year and gives you access to the gas stations at all warehouse club locations. However, Sam’s Club has been running promotions to entice people to join so you may pay less than the membership sticker price. (And check to see if Groupon has a deal on membership as it often does.)
Depending on the membership savings you score, the following math may work even better for your situation.
To run this test, let’s assume that you drive a Toyota Camry and you fill-up the 14-gallon tank with gas once a week. This means you go through 728 gallons of gas a year. We will assume that Sam’s Club gas costs on average $0.10 less than other gas stations.
This means you will save around $73 per year if you fill up your car only at Sam’s Club gas stations. If you also get the Sam’s Club Mastercard, you will get an additional 5% back on gas purchases on the first $6,000 per year then 1% after.
For this calculation, we will assume that gas costs $2 a gallon. If you go through 728 gallons per year and you fill up on gas at Sam’s Club using their credit card to pay, you will save $145.60. Subtracting the cost of the membership ($45) gives you savings of $100.
If you don’t get the Sam’s Club Mastercard, your savings come out to a more modest $28 per year.
The difference between the price of gas at my local gas station and at the nearest Sam’s Club is even bigger in my neighborhood. My local gas station is charging $2.05 for a gallon of regular gas while the Sam’s Club gas station sells the same gallon for $1.89.
Here’s a screenshot from the GasBuddy app showing the most recent prices for both:
That’s a difference of $0.16, which would increase the savings. However, the nearest Sam’s Club gas station is almost three miles away, which would eat into my savings and make it more inconvenient. (You can mitigate that by getting gas when you actually shop at Sam’s, which should save you money compared to a regular grocery store.)
Does it Make Sense to Get a Sam’s Club Membership for Gas?
If you drive a big car such as a truck or an SUV, the $0.10 – $0.15 per gallon you can save with a Sam’s Club membership can make a difference. This is also the case if you drive a long way for work, so you need to fill up more often.
One thing to consider is the location of the nearest Sam’s Club gas station. If you have one on your way to work or close to your house, getting a membership to save on gas could make sense.
However, if you have to drive several miles each time to fill up on gas, this will cut into your savings. The inconvenience factor will also make it less likely that you will use the Sam’s Club gas stations.
Warehouse clubs can also be a great place to get deals on other items for your household. If you have a family, you can easily save more than the annual membership cost on staple foods and household goods.
Do you have a Sam’s Club membership? Have you found it worth it just on the gas savings alone? Share your experience in the comments.