Do Gas Brands Really Matter? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Do Gas Brands Really Matter?

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In the consumer industry, brand often doesn’t really matter, but when it comes to gas brands, it does. Gas brands differ according to detergent additives used to prevent carbon deposits from accumulating in your engine. “Top Tier” brands are known to use more detergent and/or additives than the EPA requires. This is to support better engine performance and fuel economy by reducing carbon deposits. There are major oil companies that have adopted Top Tier standards for detergent additives, which you want to be aware of the next time you fill up. Find out what those are and why gas brands really do matter!

Do Gas Brands Really Matter?

In a nutshell, yes. You don’t want to just pick a gas station based on the logo or how convenient it is for you. Not all gasoline is made the same, nor do all gasoline companies refine their gas as much as others do. Gasoline is the fuel that runs your car, so you want to make sure that fuel will keep you up and running, while extending the life of your vehicle.


Did you know that all gasoline brands pretty much start out the exact same? The next time you see a tanker carrying petroleum, look at what company logos it features. That petroleum gets distributed to the individual companies, where it then goes into the process of becoming refined. That refining is what will set apart some fuel companies from others. One company may do the bare minimum to meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, while another may go way beyond them. However, every company is required by EPA law, at least, to put additives into the fuel so that your car can run safely and correctly.

Additives in the refining process are put there so that carbon deposits don’t form in your car’s combustion chamber. Essentially, you don’t want too much carbon in your car’s engine or it will start pinging or “knocking”, which are noises you don’t want your car to be making. It’s a sign of premature fuel ignition and even issues with valve operations. Those issues can limit the lifetime of your car and how well your car uses fuel.

The next time you fill up, check the different gasoline options in your area. There are apps out there for your phone that can tell you how much gas costs in your area, the gas brands near you, and specifics about gas quality. You might be just fine with cheaper, smaller, independent gas stations, but your car might also require more quality gasoline. Check standards for gas to be sure of what you need and where to get it.


gas brandsCheck Standards for Your Gas

Something you want to look for in gas brands is if those gas brands meet “Top Tier” standards. Only some gas brands are “Top Tier” standard ones, meaning that they will clean your car’s engine better than other brands out there that you can buy. These gas brands will have superior additives that help prevent ash deposits so your car stays cleaner and functions better, longer. Ash deposits from low-quality brands will eventually cause your car to consume more fuel, ride rougher and you may see more maintenance issues in the long run.

All major gas brands meet Top Tier standards. That includes Shell, Amoco, Mobil, Exxon, and BP. Some lesser-known brands such as Holiday, Costco, and Kwik Star also offer Top Tier gas. You can find the complete list of licensed brands here.


Premium Gas: Things to Know

Some drivers like to treat their cars to premium gas, believing it boosts engine performance and efficiency. But with higher-octane fuel costing around $0.50 more per gallon than regular unleaded gas, you might be wondering: is premium gas worth it? AAA has found that it’s actually not always better to pay for premium.

If your car is designed to run on regular gas, higher-octane fuel is just more money out the tailpipe. According to a national survey conducted by AAA, 16.5 million American drivers spend $2.1 billion extra per year on premium gas their cars don’t need. Knowing what type of gas your car needs is as easy as checking our owner’s manual. However, some designer cars will need premium gas to keep parts in proper functioning order for as long as they are supposed to.

Other types of cars will only take specific types of gas, and it might not even be the premium kind. According to AAA, 70% of Americans own vehicles designed to run on regular, 85- to 87-octane gas. These cars get no extra performance boost from mid-grade or premium gasoline. Don’t spend more money on gas if you don’t need to! Check your owner’s manual to know for sure what type of gasoline your car requires.


Maintenance, Repairs and More

Even if you use the best gas brands out there, you can still have issues that need to be repaired with your car. This is normal with every day use of a vehicle, which is common for most of our clients. You should aim to have a vehicle maintenance and repair check about every 6 months, or every 7,500 miles you drive. This will ensure your car’s alignment, brakes, lights, filters, air conditioning, and more are in proper working order. These checks, coupled with putting the right kind of gas or gas brands in your car, will help ensure that your car lasts you as many years as possible.


Stop by our convenient Fort Collins location or schedule your appointment online ahead of time if your car is due for maintenance. You can also call Scott’s Fort Collins Auto at 970-682-4202 to let us know you’re coming or to ask questions about gas brands we recommend!

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