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Author Topic: Top Tier reality and myth discovered! You can "make" Top Tier gas! Back to Topics

Champion Author

Joined:Dec 2012
Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 8:08:31 PM

Can discount gas crimp your ride?

Some gasoline probably is better. There is, in fact, a rating system that's supposed to identify the best gasolines. Called Top Tier, it's meant to steer motorists toward fuels that have strong concentrations of detergent additives to keep engines free of what even technical-minded people call "gunk." But even automakers who sponsor the Top Tier system say some brands not on their list are high-quality. (ref. 1)

A few years ago, "All the manufacturers were having fuel-injector problems within a few months" after a new car was sold, says Gary Herwick, a mechanical engineer who's head of Michigan-based Transportation Fuels Consulting. He worked at General Motors at the time of the problems. He says "it's fair to say" that some automakers' fuel systems weren't the best, but he believes skimpy additive packages should get most of the blame. Refiners "were minimizing costs, and we got down to the ragged edge" of EPA-required levels of additives. (reference 1)

Tesoro, which retails gasoline through 800 of its stations and distributes fuel to Wal-Mart and others, views the detergent issue as a gimmick. Tesoro doesn't put in additional additives because "our customers are price shoppers," says Senior Vice President Lynn Westfall. (ref. 1)

Citgo Petroleum, the Venezuelan brand, is another big name that's not Top Tier. Using stronger additives costs more, and even if it's just a penny a gallon, "We don't see a corresponding benefit to our customers of similar magnitude. We want to provide quality products to the consumer at the best value," spokesman Fernando Garay says. (ref. 1)

"People will switch for a penny. It might not make financial sense, but they'll do it," says Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores.(ref. 1)

"Gasoline is fungible. Marathon can market Shell or Mobil gas, for example," says Darlington, the consultant and fuels expert. Marathon stations "normally get it from a Marathon refinery, but if something happens to a Marathon refinery and there's a pipeline where they can get Mobil and market it as Marathon, that's the way it is," he says. The substitute fuel might contain a different additive package, but it's supposed to be at least as effective as what the station normally sells. (ref. 1)

Q. What is the difference between Chevron with Techron at the pump and Techron Concentrate Plus in the bottle?
A. The principal difference is additive concentration and rate of deposit clean-up. Chevron gasolines with Techron over multiple fill-ups will help clean deposits on intake valves and minimize harmful combustion chambers deposits. When added to a full tank of gasoline, a bottle of Techron Concentrate Plus results in an additive concentration roughly 10 times stronger. (ref. 2)

If I co-mingle my fuel tanks that use different fuels with different TT certified detergents, do I need to provide performance test data on the combination of those additives?
That depends. If both of the fuels should contain the TOP TIER detergent treat rate, that would mean the test data has been provided. However, just using a TOP TIER certified additive does not mean the fuel marketer is using it at the TOP TIER treat rate which passed all of the required engine and fuel injector performance testing. Most likely you would be asked to show gum data for the fuel that you want to declare as TOP TIER and use for completing the performance testing. (ref. 3)

Q. Is Techron just a more diluted version of Techron Concentrate Plus?
A. No. While both use a polyether amine-based chemistry, each is optimized for its particular application. (ref. 2)

Marie Valentine, the Senior Principle Engineer, Vehicle Regulation and Certification Engineering, Toyota Technical Center, said the amount of detergents in Top Tier gas is about twice what’s required by the EPA. However, it can vary depending “on the base gasoline and the chemistry of the detergent additive.” (ref. 4)
(Also see next paragraph)...

Express Convenience is offering a new fuel called Express Excelerator, which has been approved to use the designation of a "top-tier" fuel....Express Excelerator detergent gasoline uses twice the amount of EPA-approved cleaning detergents found in ordinary gasoline (ref. 5)

Therefore, one might buy cheaper gas and double the amount of additives by adding 1 oz. of concentrated Techron per 20 gallons of cheaper fuel. (My conclusion). Mixing additives does not hurt per reference 3.

1. /money/industries/energy/2007-06-13-bad-gas-usat_N.htm
2. /car-care-faq/default.aspx
3. /faqs.html
4. /auto-news/2012/12/which-gas-stations-sell-the-best-quality-gasoline.html
5. /news/fuels/articles/express-convenience-centers-offers-top-tier-fuel
REPLIES (newest first) Post a Reply
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Champion Author Ohio

Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Feb 24, 2013 5:01:28 AM

there really is a difference in top tier gas and your mpg monitor should show it.
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Champion Author Washington

Joined:Dec 2012
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 7:38:27 PM

looks like gasbuddy truncates my references automatically.
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Champion Author Nevada

Joined:Aug 2005
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 4:11:47 PM

I have personally seen the same truck and driver on the same day deliver to FOX peak and indian station, and Chevron a couple of hours later.
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Champion Author Maryland

Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 1:16:03 PM

The bad part is that the original post is simply a lot of "Here's a's a comment...look up the reference."
the bottom line of the original post is "Add something to your gas and you'll get additive added gas."

For what it's costing, the difference between top tier gas and non-top tier gas is a few cents a gallon (which is different than the price of gas in different areas). Considering that most people only get a 10 or 15 gallon fill-up, maybe you're better spending what amounts to a quarter (25 cents) or so a tank of gas if having "top tier" gas makes you feel better or if you think it works. That's a lot better than adding "a little bit of...maybe a little more..., maybe put in too much of a container into the fuel tank than I need to".

The bottom line to buying top tier gas is, do you think "top tier" gas is better than non-top tier gas, and/or do you think you should add an additive? If you think top tier gas is better, buy it. If you think you should add an additive, buy it and follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use it.
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Champion Author Washington

Joined:Dec 2012
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 11:29:28 AM

The long original post is merely quotes from the references listed.

My take on it is that there is such thing as better gas and worse gas. However, it is extremely difficult for the consumer to know.

I think some "better" brands sometimes have a better anti-deposit additives mix because they are willing to spend 1 cent per gallon. In turn, they are able to charge much more than 1 cent more.

It may be like a Mercedes. You pay a whole lot more for just a little better (and some things in a Mercedes are not better, like harder to find a good mechanic).

My take is that you can also add a tiny amount of Techron, not the whole bottle, and it's about the same as buying Chevron gas.

I know someone who worked for Green Giant. That company would use the best looking corn to be canned and the store brand got slightly lower grade corn. Still the same nutrients but cheaper quality and cheaper price.
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Champion Author Lexington

Joined:May 2005
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 8:32:27 AM

Top tier, top smear, it all comes from one terminal nearest to your location and is delivered to every station in a given area. Gas and diesel comes in on the same pipeline and I would venture to say that if you had a Shell gallon of gas and compared it to Mom and Pops Grocery brand you wouldn't see a smidgeon of difference in any of it. The biggest fooler of the American public is labels and brands.
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Champion Author Mississippi

Joined:May 2004
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 7:56:53 AM

Gasoline "branding" just ain't what it used to be ....
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Champion Author Winnipeg

Joined:Apr 2011
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 7:34:25 AM

So we really don't have a clue what we're pumping into our tanks except for the price.

Maybe it's time to add labels like they do on food?
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Champion Author Massachusetts

Joined:Jan 2005
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 7:27:15 AM

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Champion Author Pennsylvania

Joined:Jun 2003
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 7:19:09 AM

I live in a town that has a small refinery. It supplies numerous gas stations of all brands in the tri-state area. They also have their own stations. Prices can vary dramatically between brands and locations. All this gas comes from the same refinery, it's just the additive package that's different. Who's to say that they put anything in the gas? Maybe everyone gets the same additives. Who checks? I find it hard to believe that someone from BP or Shell come and sample their gas at certain stations to make sure the proper additive package had been added. I buy the cheapest gas and occasionally add a bottle of fuel system cleaner so I guess I do "make" my own top tier gas on occasion.
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Champion Author Dallas

Joined:Aug 2003
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 3:34:23 AM

Trix, post some prices. speak for yourself!

back to the topic

marketing will say anything and put magic in thier gas and say its good for your car
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Champion Author Massachusetts

Joined:Aug 2008
Message Posted: Feb 23, 2013 2:57:12 AM

All the same.
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Champion Author Seattle

Joined:Mar 2008
Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 11:43:18 PM

To Trxie NY who wrote that it was too long, didn't read, I have a Exxon gas only or your engine will explode and die :p
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Champion Author Buffalo

Joined:Apr 2008
Message Posted: Feb 22, 2013 9:06:43 PM

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