Be Careful Where You Gas Up! Plus Additional Info on Fuel

Be Careful Where you Fuel up! Plus Additional Info on Fuel.

For most people, fueling up their car is just something they don't really think about and is just drains money from their bank accounts. However, the fuel you buy is an investment. Get bad fuel, and it will cost you later on in car maintenance and repairs. Good fuel can not only help your fuel economy but keep your car running properly for years.

AAA finds that many consumers make mistakes in buying the right fuel:

In a recent study by AAA, it was found that nearly 73% of consumers bought fuel based on what was the cheapest and nearly a half of Americans buy fuel that isn't of good quality. That's scary. The fuel you put in your car is not a standardized good. Different brands and types of fuel can all be very different from each other in terms of quality. So what can you, dear reader, do to make sure you're street smart when it comes to filling up at the tank?

Only buy fuel from TOP TIER Authorized dealers; basically get your fuel from big brands.

Do not buy your fuel from a local, small "Mom & Pop" type store. This is like getting a burger from a restaurant with a "D" sanitation score. You wouldn't get a burger from a dirty diner, so why would you fill your car up with dirty fuel?

In the United States, since 1966, the EPA has required fuel suppliers put a minimum amount of detergents in their fuel. These detergents help clean up impurities in the fuel and clean/protect the car's fuel system and engine from gunk that can negatively impact performance. However, these minimum requirements aren't enough to really make sure everything is running perfectly. Some fuels have extra detergents and greater amounts of them. That's why you only buy fuel from brands that meet TOP TIER's stringent standards for fuel quality. Most of these are big fuel brands, such as:

Shell, BP, 76, Chevron, Costco, QuikTrip, Exxon, CITGO, Mobil, and Texaco. These big name fuel brands have the money and R&D to ensure their fuel quality is not only high, but standardized as well. Shell gasoline that you buy in Florida is exactly the same as Shell gasoline you buy in Arizona.

Buying crap fuel will cause harm to your engine and cost you in the long run. See the picture above? That's not some marketing scheme. Sometimes cheap isn't the best option. The cleaner fuels can help make sure your engine is running proper and help fix issues like rough idle, lack of power, and poor fuel economy.

Make sure you're putting the right Octane rating for fuel in your car.

Most modern cars have sensors that can determine what octane rating you have put in your car and adjust accordingly, but it is critical you put in the correct Octane rating in your car. In Europe, these octane ratings are measured differently than in the US, and thus for the same fuel octane rating the European number will be higher. Here in the US however, fuel octane rating is known as:

87: Regular, 89/91: Plus, 93: Premium*

Now let me be clear, Octane rating is NOT a rating of how quality the fuel is, but rather how much Octane is contained in the fuel. However, in general Premium fuel will be guaranteed to have those detergents I mention above.

Higher performance engines ignite the air/fuel ratio closer to TDC for the piston. In English this means the engine will wait later to create a spark that sets off the mini-explosions in your car's engine. Now, due to the extreme heat and pressures the air/fuel mixture may pre-detonate, causing something known as "Knock". Knock is very bad. So for cars that have higher performance engines (create more heat/pressure), the fuel needs to have a higher resistance to heat/pressure, and this resistance is created by adding Octane to the fuel. If you drive a luxury, sports, or turbocharged car, you need to put higher octane fuel in your tank. If you don't, there's no real benefit to putting higher octane fuels in your car, you're just throwing money down the drain. However, if you do have an engine that uses a higher octane fuel, you will have greater fuel economy since your engine can more efficiently use that fuel in combustion. I could go more in depth but I don't want to nerd out on everyone.

Check your owner's manual. It will tell you what rating of fuel to put in your tank. Most normal cars take regular fuels, while luxury, sport, and turbocharged cars need at least plus/mid-grade (91) gasoline to function. Sometimes they can only run on premium (93), no exceptions. Make sure your are filling up with the recommended octane rating.

*If you happen to live in the un-great state of California, you don't get 93 Octane rating fuel. 91 is your "premium" fuel because your state is run by hippies.

Anyways, this wasn't meant to be exceptionally long. Thank you for reading and make sure you treat your car right!


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What Girls Said 4

  • That was actually informative. :) This will help when I get to have my own car.
    I did not know that fuel quality varies from gas station to gas station Now I get it why mom fills the tank up only at Shell. Also, I've never heard of Octane and its significance until now. Great Take!

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  • 3mo

    If yr car is new or new-ish (last 10 years) it's less important to buy the top tier gas. More and more important the older yr car is, and/or if it has a very high number of miles (200,000 or more in warm climates, 150,000 or more in cold climates) on its original engine.

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    "If you happen to live in the un-great state of California, you don't get 93 Octane rating fuel"

    ^^ There are plenty of gas stations here, especially around Pasadena (socal) and Sonoma (norcal), that sell racing fuel -- 104-110 octane -- at the same pumps as regular gas. You can make yr own 93-, 94-, or 95-octane fuel by just buying the right proportions of racing fuel and normal gas.

    Unless you actually *race* yr car, the difference between 91- and 93-octane gas is pretty much all in yr head. But we have a Corvette and an IROC-Z with a lot of (very not-street-legal) mods, that we actually race sometimes, and making this kind of homebrew 95-octane fuel does make a difference for those.

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    • 3mo

      Man though, mixing racing fuel with regular to get the right octane just sounds expensive haha. When my friend was living in Washington he just usually bought those octane booster thugs they sell at auto stores to compensate.

    • 3mo

      It ain't cheap, but, remember how weighted averages work.

      Racing fuel at this one station in Pasadena, near one of my girlfriends' work, is 106 octane.
      Put the numbers 91, 94, and 106 on a number line. The distances from the average are in a 1:4 ratio. This means that you only need 1 gallon of 106-octane per every 4 gallons of 91-octane to make a tank full of 94-octane.

      The racing fuel is between $6 and $7 a gallon, so that's, what, $3-$4 EXTRA as compared to a gallon of normal gas.
      To make 10 gallons of the 94-octane mix, you only need 2 gallons of racing fuel (against 8 gallons of 91-octane) -- so effectively it only costs $6-8 or so. That's about the same as the price of those fuel additive thingys (I think those are $7.99 or something).

      On top of that, the State of California weights & measures people DO NOT fuck around when it comes to compliance, so you know exactly what you're getting from the pump.
      The additives, on the other hand... not

    • 3mo

      even quantified (I've never seen one of those that actually SAYS anything about how much it's supposed to boost octane per 10 gallons or whatever... let alone actually giving the reasoning behind the numbers). And who the hell knows who's regulating those things. If anyone even is.

  • Thank you, very helpful. One question though, what is this detergent they have to put in it? Detergent as in like clothes detergent and cleaning detergents? I'm confused...(or dumb lol)

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    • Just special chemicals that help clean up impurities in the Fuel and gunk within the engine.

  • Good MyTake.
    I always try to treat my car and environment right.

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What Guys Said 1

  • Very informative. When I get richer, I'll definitely refer to this article, but for now, I'll stick to what's cheapest (delta) or convenient (luckily shell and Exxon) cause imma baller on a budget 😂

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