Survey: Costco is Americans' favorite place to buy gas — and there's a most-hated too

Plus the dirtiest, most expensive, worst food and meanest customer service

Gas prices have become an annoyingly common part of the daily news, but a recent study from Payless Power dropped with some interesting data on how Americans buy and view gasoline. The firm surveyed 1,011 people and found that most are surprisingly committed to their favorite brand of gas.

In terms of customers’ favorite places to buy gas, discount warehouse store Costco earned top honors. Loves, Shell, 7-Eleven, and Wawa round out the top five.

On the flip side, Exxon was the most-hated gas station, followed by Texaco, Valero, Phillips 66, and Sheetz.



The survey asked customers about several factors that affect the gas station experience. Brands were rated on cleanliness, price, food quality, and customer service. Costco ranked at the top for cleanliness and price but came in fourth for food quality and second for nicest customer service. People told Payless Power that good fuel quality and low prices were the two most important qualities a gas station could have and said that improvements in those two factors would be enough to make them change to a different brand.

Mapco was rated dirtiest, Shell the most expensive, Sunoco with the worst food, and Valero with the meanest customer service. Interestingly, the big-oil-branded stores all landed on the most expensive list. Beyond Shell, Exxon, Texaco, Phillips 66, and Mobil were rated as the most expensive places to buy gas.



Gas station popularity matters because survey respondents told Payless Power they’d be willing to drive up to 21 minutes to reach their favorite store, with Buc-ee’s being the brand people were willing to drive the furthest for. People also visited their favorite locations more, up to two times per week. Customer service also played an outsize role in the ratings, as respondents rated Shell as the third favorite station while calling it one of the most expensive at the same time.

Of course, the gas pumps are just the attraction to get people in the door. Once there, stores offer food and other amenities that can drive up the amount they spend on each visit. Wawa customers spent an average of $84.46 but also spent the shortest time on each visit – 16 minutes on average. Perhaps due to extreme gas prices in the last year, people surprisingly spent an average of $69.95 at gas stations.

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