Comparing Prices: Local Gas vs. Beltsville Costco Gas

Are Wheaton and Kensington residents saving money when they drive to the Costco in Beltsville to buy gas?

Several of the Montgomery County residents  mentioned that they currently go to the Beltsville Costco to purchase cheap gas, and so they would benefit from a Costco station closer to home.

How cost-effective is it to go to the Beltsville Costco for gas instead of buying fuel at a local (non-Costco) gas station in the Wheaton area?

, a Kensington resident, raised this question and shared some financial calculations . 

Based upon real time data, the cost of going to CostCo in Beltsville is higher than purchasing it in Wheaton...

Cost of Gasoline at local Wheaton station: $3.35/$40.20 to fill a 12 gallon tank, 
Cost of Gasoline at Beltsville CostCo: $3.25./$39.00 to fill a 12 gallon tank, 
Cost Savings of $1.20 to purchase a tank of gasoline at CostCo.

Is there really a savings?

Current Average MPG of American Automobiles is 18 MPG (per http://www.project.org/info.php?recordID=384).

The distance for a round trip from Wheaton to Beltsville is 20 miles. This equates to a cash outlay of $3.61 at the Beltsville CostCo prices to pay for the round trip from Wheaton to Beltsville and back again.

Subtracting the cost savings of the purchase of CostCo's lower grade gasoline ($1.20) from the cost of taking the trip ($3.61) equates to a "loss" of $2.40. Not to mention the time it takes to travel there and back (whatever your time is worth), idling in line, and the burning of fuel while waiting in line. (if a 15 minute wait consumes 1/5 of a gallon of gas while idling, then the cost for that is .65).

Overall loss: $3.05. You've been losing money buying gas at Beltsville.

Increase the cost per gallon another .05 per gallon to use your credit card at another station and you're still ahead.

ED June 27, 2012 at 04:57 PM
GinWheaton - your comment "the customer will see the whole 12 cents as savings" applies only to Costco members and does not take into account the fact that the prices in Wheaton may not be the same as the prices in Beltsville. Regardless, this whole article was written because of a zoning text amendment that protects the whole county, not just for your so-called NIMBY's. If you're currently driving to Beltsville for your savings, you're probably already spending your $1.4 million in Montgomery County anyway. As a matter of fact, since Westfield already recieved $ 4 million for the "Costco expansion", you should break even in about 3 years.
David Becker June 27, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Anemic? I live right next to Wheaton Plaza and shop there regularly. Higher end stores are moving in regularly and since Target moved in parking has become more and more difficult. When Costco and Dick's Hardware move in, the remaining parking spots will become more scarce.
Wheatoner June 27, 2012 at 06:22 PM
-"If you're currently driving to Beltsville for your savings, you're probably already spending your $1.4 million in Montgomery County anyway." Actually what you are doing is wasting 1.4 million on un-necessary highly priced gas and/or wasting that much fuel that it costs to drive to Beltsville. Either way it's a loss for the community. When the customers don't have to pay as much for fuel, they can spend more on things like subs from Marchone's or beer at the Limerick. That seeds real economic growth. But of course, we wouldn't want to grow because a few NIMBY's are crying. Welcome to Montgomery County.
ED June 27, 2012 at 07:12 PM
GinWheaton - Have another beer at Limerick's - there's nothing in this ZTA that bans these mega-gas stations from areas that are not near schools or recreational facilities. Actually, your cost savings right now might not be enough to buy a beer at Limericks and, as I've said before, there's no guarantee Costco members will get the same gas prices in Montgomery County that they currently get in Prince George's County. As far as economic growth in Wheaton, I've never been to a Smartgrowth seminar where the State or County planners advocate putting car magnets in the middle of the Smartgrowth area. The Wheaton Costco gas station is not proposed for my back yard and I still support limiting where these mega-gas stations can be built.
HaveSomeSense July 19, 2012 at 08:22 PM
There's a lot of people in this world who are so happy to make other people's lives a misery as long as it's not their own. GinWheaton is probably one of those people who would shout the loudest and cry the most if there was something affecting his house. I think you'll find hardly anyone is opposing the Costco, a lot are not even opposing the gas station, but those that are oppose WHERE Costco want to place it (opposite houses, the swimming pool and close to a school) because it's convenient. Costco should build this on the main road where all other gas stations are built. It's common sense and people selfish enough to dismiss people as being NIMBY's should be ashamed of themselves.


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