Gasoline prices can vary considerably by region, city, and even from one neighborhood to another, so it’s challenging to generalize which retailers consistently have the lowest prices across the board. However, there are certain types of retailers that tend to offer lower gasoline prices, based on historical patterns and their business models:
- Warehouse Clubs: Stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s often have gas stations associated with them. Members of these clubs usually enjoy discounted fuel prices as an added benefit.
- Supermarkets with Fuel Stations: Some supermarkets, like Kroger, Safeway, and Walmart, have their own fuel stations and may offer discounts to their loyalty cardholders. These discounts can be linked to in-store purchases, meaning the more you shop at the store, the more you save on gas.
- Big Box Retailers: Apart from supermarkets, big box stores like Walmart (separate from their Supercenters) sometimes have adjacent gas stations that offer competitive prices.
- No-Frills Gas Stations: These are gas stations that might not be associated with a major brand. They offer fewer amenities and might not have convenience stores attached. By having lower operational costs, they often pass on the savings to consumers in the form of lower fuel prices.
- Apps and Tools: Use tools like GasBuddy to find specific retailers in your area that consistently offer low prices. Users regularly report current prices, and the app can point you towards the cheapest options nearby.
- Regional Differences: Some regions may have local chains that tend to be cheaper. For instance, in certain parts of the U.S., chains like Buc-ee’s or QuikTrip might offer competitive prices.
It’s essential to be aware that the cheapest gasoline might not always be the best quality. Some consumers argue that “top-tier” gas from brands like Shell, Chevron, and ExxonMobil tend to offer better fuel quality that could be beneficial for the engine in the long run.
Lastly, it’s also worth noting that fluctuating oil prices, state taxes, transportation costs, and regional demand can all affect gasoline prices. As a result, the “cheapest” retailer in one area or at one time might not be the cheapest in another area or time. Always use a combination of tools, local insights, and observations to find the best deals.