How to pick the right gas at the pump: a guide

Most people assume that all gasoline of the same octane level is the same. An 89 at one station is the same as an 89 at another station. So is a 93, and so on.

However, there are actually substantial differences among different brands of gasoline all around the United States. This is true whether you are purchasing regular, mid-grade, or even premium fuel.

According to surveys, Americans choose their gasoline based on price more than any other factor. However, short-term savings at the pump might lead to much greater expenses down the road.

Gasoline quality is about more than just octane ratings

In a AAA survey, two thirds of Americans stated that they do believe that there are differences in quality between brands of gasoline. However, in that same study, people admitted that price and convenience were the biggest influences on where they purchased gasoline.

It is important to note that these differences do, in fact, exist. Even among premium quality gasolines, there are still distinctions.

Enter Top Tier fuel standards. In 1996, the EPA issued minimum quality standards for all gasoline sold in the United States. However, some automakers felt that this standard was not rigorous enough to protect cars and their owners.

Then, in 2004, the Top Tier fuel standard was introduced. This program guarantees a level of quality and cleanliness that far exceeds the EPA’s standards.

Top Tier gasoline explained

Top Tier is not to be confused with 93 octane, or premium-grade gasoline. The Top Tier standard refers to detergent additives that actively clean your engine and maintain its components.

As car engines have become more sophisticated and precise, they operate under more stress. Today’s engines are expected to work at higher compression ratios, under tighter tolerances, all while achieving better fuel economy and cleaner emissions.

While engine and vehicle design play a large role in achieving those goals, so does the quality of the fuel used in those vehicles.

To help get there, eight automobile manufacturers worked together to develop and support the Top Tier standards. Audi, BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen have united to recommend Top Tier gas to car owners. The goal is to preserve the performance and quality of the engines in their automobiles.

One important note is that the Top Tier designation exists at all octane levels. Regular, mid-grade, premium, and even diesel all adhere to Top Tier standards at participating retailers. Therefore, it isn’t necessary to upgrade to get the benefits of this improved fuel.

How good fuel saves you money

Dirty fuel, just like dirty oil, can wreak havoc on your engine. While you might be saving a few bucks at the pump buying cheaper gasoline, you’ll undoubtedly pay for it later.

Top Tier gas features high-grade detergents. These detergents have been certified to make your engine cleaner. This means better fuel economy.

It also means less gunk in the innards of your engine. Over time, this stuff adds up, making your engine run less efficiently and in many cases, breaking down much sooner.

It may seem like simple math at the pump. You see the lowest price and you go for it. However, studies have found that the average difference between non-Top Tier and Top Tier gasoline is around three cents per gallon.

In an average sedan, that means you’ll pay less than an additional 40 cents for a far superior product that improves the quality and lifespan of your vehicle.

StrutDaddy’s recommends Top Tier gasoline

At StrutDaddy’s, we have made our name on always delivering high-quality automotive solutions.

While we can handle the maintenance that keeps your car in tip-top shape, we always feel it’s important to help you do the little things on your end.

One of those things is putting high-quality fuel into your car. Much like other maintenance services, it’s a small investment up front that saves you big down the line.

Buildup inside your engine is one of the biggest reasons they start to deteriorate. Even a small change in the surface area or texture of a cylinder can throw the entire system out of balance. Over even short periods of time, this can lead to catastrophic failures.

As much as it’s not great business for us to keep your car out of the shop, we are much more interested in the long-term health of your vehicle. We will always recommend the ounce of prevention over the pound of cure, even if that means a little less business for us.

To help you ensure the long-term health of your vehicle, check out this list of approved Top Tier gasoline vendors.

For any other questions you might have, we’re here for you! Whether it’s high-quality repairs, maintenance services, or just good old-fashioned car care advice, we’re happy to help.

Just stop by during business hours, use our online form, or give us a call at (336) 599-4911 whenever you need us.

Written by Strut Daddy's

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