Although Costco has long been celebrated for its cheaper-than-average gas prices—especially in the last few months as the price per gallon has continued to go up—this perk is about to get more exclusive for members in one U.S. state.
Starting on July 5, the big-box retailer's New Jersey locations will require shoppers to present their store membership cards in order to purchase gas, according to signs posted at gas stations this week.
While this rule is nothing new for most Costco stores, non-members in New Jersey have been allowed to fuel their cars at Costco's gas stations for almost 20 years. Back in May of 2004, Costco and other warehouse clubs in New Jersey opened their fuel pumps to non-members after being told the restriction violated state fuel sales laws. The company has not yet released any additional information regarding the new rule.
According to reporting from The Courier Post, Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline Convenience Store and Automotive Association, sees "nothing wrong with the policy."
"I am learning they (Costco) are taking a position that is not illegal to limit their customers to members at their New Jersey gas stations, and I see nothing in state law that prevents them from doing this," he told the news outlet.
Costco's discounted gas typically draws in long lines, which is the assumed reasoning behind the policy change. And some customers have expressed their relief on Reddit:
Other Costco shoppers are less optimistic, though.
This announcement comes at a time when the national average price of gas nears $5 per gallon, according to recent data from AAA. Yesterday, the price of regular gasoline at the Costco gas station in Bayonne, N.J. cost $4.81 per gallon—the same day gas prices in the Garden State hit an average of $5.019 per gallon.
And despite popular belief, Costco May Not Have Cheaper Gas After All, New Data Shows.
To get all the latest grocery store news delivered right to your email inbox every day, sign up for our newsletter!