20 Things You Never Want To Buy at a Gas Station

Buying items at gas stations is often convenient but can also be a costly mistake. Many products available at gas stations are significantly marked up, and their quality can be lower than what you’d find at a supermarket or specialized store. In this article, we’ll explore 20 items you should avoid buying at gas stations and provide some helpful tips to save money and ensure you’re getting the best value for your purchases.

Fresh Produce

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Fresh produce at gas stations is often overpriced and not as fresh as what you would find at a grocery store. The turnover for fresh items is typically low, meaning fruits and vegetables may have been sitting out for a while. For the best quality and price, buy your produce from a supermarket or farmers market. Pro Tip: Plan your grocery trips ahead to avoid the temptation of buying overpriced and less fresh produce at gas stations.

Dairy Products

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Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt at gas stations can be more expensive and less fresh due to lower sales volume. There’s also a higher risk of improper storage, leading to spoilage. For fresher and cheaper options, it’s better to purchase dairy products from a grocery store. Pro Tip: Always check the expiration dates if you must buy dairy products at a gas station.

Meat and Deli Items

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Meat and deli items at gas stations are typically overpriced and may not be stored under optimal conditions, increasing the risk of spoilage. For safety and quality, it’s best to buy these products from a reputable grocery store with higher turnover and better storage practices. Pro Tip: If you need a quick protein snack, opt for pre-packaged items like nuts or jerky.

Over-the-Counter Medications

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OTC medications at gas stations can be significantly more expensive than at pharmacies or supermarkets. The selection is usually limited, and you may not find what you need. For better prices and a wider variety, buy your medications from a drugstore or grocery store. Pro Tip: Keep a small supply of essential medications at home to avoid emergency purchases.


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Toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant are often overpriced at gas stations. The selection is limited, and you may end up paying more for convenience. Stock up on these items during your regular grocery shopping to avoid last-minute, expensive purchases. Pro Tip: Create a list of toiletries you use regularly and buy them in bulk when they’re on sale.


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Batteries at gas stations are typically more expensive, and the selection is limited. For better prices and a wider variety, it’s best to buy batteries from a hardware store, supermarket, or online. Pro Tip: Keep a stock of commonly used batteries at home to avoid paying premium prices at gas stations.

Snacks and Candy

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Snacks and candy at gas stations are often overpriced compared to grocery stores. The convenience can be tempting, but the cost adds up quickly. For better prices and a wider selection, buy your snacks and candy during your regular grocery trips. Pro Tip: Keep a stash of your favorite snacks in your car or bag to avoid impulse purchases.

Bottled Water

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Bottled water at gas stations is usually marked up significantly compared to buying in bulk at a supermarket. It’s more cost-effective and environmentally friendly to use a reusable water bottle. Pro Tip: Invest in a good-quality reusable water bottle and fill it up before you leave the house.

Soft Drinks

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Soft drinks at gas stations are typically more expensive than at grocery stores. The markup can be substantial, especially for single-serving bottles or cans. Buy your soft drinks in bulk from supermarkets to save money. Pro Tip: Consider reducing your soft drink consumption for health benefits and cost savings.

Ice Cream

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Ice cream at gas stations is often overpriced and may not be stored properly, leading to freezer burn or melting. For better quality and prices, buy your ice cream from a grocery store with higher turnover. Pro Tip: If you’re craving a frozen treat, check for local ice cream shops that may offer better quality and prices.

Car Accessories

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Car accessories like air fresheners, windshield wipers, and tire pressure gauges are usually more expensive at gas stations. For a wider selection and better prices, purchase these items from an auto parts store or online. Pro Tip: Keep essential car accessories in your vehicle to avoid emergency purchases at gas stations.

Lottery Tickets

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While lottery tickets can be convenient to buy at gas stations, they are generally not a wise financial investment. The odds of winning are extremely low, and the cost can add up over time. For better use of your money, consider setting up a savings account or investing. Pro Tip: Set a budget for entertainment expenses and stick to it to avoid overspending on lottery tickets.

Magazines and Newspapers

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Magazines and newspapers at gas stations are often marked up compared to subscriptions or purchasing from a bookstore. For regular readers, a subscription is usually more cost-effective and convenient. Pro Tip: Consider digital subscriptions for magazines and newspapers to save money and reduce waste.

Greeting Cards

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Greeting cards at gas stations can be significantly more expensive than those at specialty stores or supermarkets. The selection is often limited, and the prices can be inflated. Pro Tip: Buy greeting cards in bulk from discount stores or make your own for a personal touch and cost savings.

Phone Chargers and Accessories

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Phone chargers and accessories at gas stations are often overpriced and may be of lower quality. For reliable and affordable options, purchase these items from electronics stores or online. Pro Tip: Keep a spare charger and accessories in your car or bag to avoid emergency purchases.

Fast Food

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Fast food at gas stations is usually of lower quality and higher price than at dedicated fast-food restaurants. The convenience is tempting, but the cost and health impacts can be significant. Pro Tip: Plan your meals and carry healthy snacks to avoid the temptation of gas station fast food.


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Alcohol at gas stations is often more expensive than at liquor stores or supermarkets. The selection is usually limited, and the prices can be inflated. Pro Tip: Purchase alcohol from specialized stores where you can get better deals and a wider variety.

Hot Beverages

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Hot beverages like coffee and tea at gas stations can be overpriced and of lower quality compared to cafes or homemade options. For better quality and cost savings, make your hot beverages at home or visit a dedicated coffee shop. Pro Tip: Invest in a good travel mug to enjoy your homemade coffee or tea on the go.

Tobacco Products

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Tobacco products at gas stations are often marked up significantly compared to purchasing from dedicated tobacco shops or online. For better prices, buy in bulk or look for deals at specialized stores. Pro Tip: Consider quitting smoking for significant health and financial benefits.

Pet Food

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Pet food at gas stations is usually overpriced and may not offer the same quality or variety as pet stores or supermarkets. For better prices and a wider selection, buy pet food from specialized stores. Pro Tip: Stock up on pet food during sales to ensure you always have a supply and avoid last-minute purchases at gas stations.

This article originally appeared on MyCarMakesNoise.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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