What factors do you consider when buying gas for your vehicle? Octane rating, emissions, brand name, price? Do you believe that there are differences in gasoline? The correct answer is yes, but not necessarily in the way that you think.

There are actually two points that should be important to you, even if you have been using the cheapest gas you can find:

  1. According to new AAA research, “American drivers wasted more than $2.1 billion dollars in the last year by using premium-grade gasoline in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. With 16.5 million U.S. drivers having used premium fuel despite the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation in the last 12 months, AAA conducted a comprehensive fuel evaluation to determine what, if any, benefit the practice offers to consumers. After using industry-standard test protocols designed to evaluate vehicle performance, fuel economy, and emissions, AAA found no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that only requires regular-grade fuel.” [Note from Evans on Marketing: There is no need to use premium gas if it is “recommended” by the manufacturer, only if the owner’s manual says premium is “required.”]
  2. A second study by the AAA  uncovered significant differences in the quality of gasoline sold at fuel retailers in the United States. The independent laboratory testing compared gasolines that meet TOP TIER™ standards often marketed to consumers as having enhanced, engine-cleaning detergent additives with gasoline brands that do not participate in the automaker-backed program. Among brands tested, non-TOP TIER gasolines caused 19 times more engine deposits than TOP TIER brands after just 4,000 miles of simulated driving. Such carbon deposits are known to reduce fuel economy, increase emissions, and negatively impact vehicle performance, particularly on newer vehicles. To protect vehicle investments, AAA urges drivers to use a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards for engine cleanliness and performance.” [Note from Evans on Marketing: The use of TOP TIER gasoline is supported by the nonprofit Consumer Reports!]

Click the image to see if you are buying your gas at a TOP TIER brand retailer.


9 Replies to “Are YOU Buying the Right for Gas for Your Vehicle?”

  1. I drive a Toyota Corolla with 267,000 miles on it, have had no engine issues, and use both brand and off-brand regular gas, depending on convenience and cost. I’ve recently begun occasional use of a gas additive from O’Reilly’s that was recommended for high mileage engines and that costs less than using a higher grade gasoline in the car. With a consistent 35 MPG, I’m not sure I see the value of the “Top Tier” branding.

    There are higher end vehicles with more finicky fuel requirements. I’m not sure I see the value of spending that kind of money on a car, either.

    Gasoline companies, at least for some of us, burned their credibility in two ways:

    (1) There is no mid-grade gasoline. it’s blended at the pump and sometimes the quality of the blend is less than promised. Only regular and high are shipped to dealers.

    (2) Pricing: price changes that happen spontaneously with events in the Persian Gulf even though the fuel being sold at the pump was refined days, weeks or months previously at a different cost basis.

    Why trust the “Top Tier” label in this context?

  2. People always purchase cheap regular fuels or premium fuels near their location. Almost we will choose the fuels that manufacture suggested to us. Then we can look into depth, which gas station should we choose? Should we choose the “Top Tier” branding?
    Every gasoline company have a different gasoline blending. So I want to know if the difference of gasoline between the “Top Tier” brand and other brand is obvious.
    There are two interesting hypothesis.
    1. If there is an obvious difference the “Top Tier” brand and other brand, we should just purchase one certain “Top Tier” brand and avoid to buy other brands gasoline. Then we are restricted to only one type gasoline with certain brand.
    2. If there is not an obvious difference the “Top Tier” brand and other brand, we can randomly purchase both “Top Tier” brand and other brands gasoline, which means we just buy gasoline types.
    So, it is hard to evaluate the nuances of gasoline companies.

  3. I have recently started driving and never knew the significant difference in gasoline. I personally use regular because it’s cheaper and I was never told to use premium for my car. My friend on the other hand only uses premium, which costs him a lot. I tend to go the the closest gas station around regardless of if its “Top Tier”, but now knowing that the company I use could effect my engine, I will be choosing more carefully. This post was very informative not only to me but to my friend.

  4. As my family has gone through different types of cars within the last few years, I was sort of aware of the difference of premium gas being recommended or required. One of the cars that we have recommends using premium gas but we have always used regular gas without any problems. We also have a car that requires only diesel. This is very expensive but due to the car, it is needed. This post was informative for me in confirming about what certain cars may or may not need when it comes to gas.

  5. This piece is on point. My uncle owns a Sunoco gas station and I’ve worked in the station as well. From my experience, there is this sense in drivers that premium (maybe because of its extra price or its use in luxury vehicles) is perceived as the “best” type of gasoline. Because the pricegap between regular and premium is so jarring, customers would be paying $.50-$.80 more per gallon and essentially, wasting their money. In addition, those on the other end of the spectrum who were too frugal to buy gas at my family’s Top Tier brand station, would go to a private station down the road and fill up their cars and save about $.15-.10 a gallon. However, their cars did not run great and people eventually came back to our place. Bottom line: knowledge is power and can protect against poor decisions, especially when it involves filling up your gas tank.

  6. I use regular gas because I don’t drive a luxury vehicle, but my mom uses premium because she does. I always asked her if she knew the difference, but she never had an answer and always said that the car dealer said to use it. This is a good article because it brings light to a common misconception. I also didn’t know that gas differs between gas stations. I was unaware that Top Tier gas can actually keep your car cleaner and limit engine deposits. I’ll take this into consideration next time I go to put gas in my car.

  7. I think this article really lets consumers see the real reason why consumers should be using the correct gas. This actually brings to mind that consumers think because products and services are more expensive, it must be better. However, this article highlights the importance in ways money can be saved and how it is better and more resourceful to use premium gas only on cars that require it. It will not make your car a better one just because premium gas is used. I have a luxury car that requires premium gas, but I will definitely now re-read the manual to because this made me curious.

  8. I use supreme gas at BP. When I bought the car, the dealer told me that I just need to use Regular. But after I read the manual, it says the car requires #91 or higher. However, BP doesn’t offer #91, so #93 (Supreme) is my only choice.

  9. I do not have much knowledge about automobile and have no idea what grade gasoline I should use. My dealer told me that it is okay to use regular for my car, which I can save money. I know a lot of dealers suggests premium-grade gasoline. My suggestion is that, depending on the price of your car and your budget, you can choose which standard gasoline you want to use because in my perspective, there is no such big difference and you have no 100% confidence about the grade they made for their gasoline.

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