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smtwngrl

Rookie Author
Kansas

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Points:695
Joined:May 2013
Message Posted: Jun 6, 2013 8:56:43 PM

I recently went on vacation. I was driving a rental car which is supposed to have 87 octane or higher.

Here, where we normally buy gas, regular is 87 octane. But I discovered that at most places in Colorado and Utah, regular is 85, and I had to go to midgrade for 87. Then, on the way home, I bought gas two places in Kansas at which 89 was regular!

I'm thinking it might a helpful alternative on Gas Buddy to be able to view prices by octane rating, and not just whether it is "regular", "midgrade", or "premium".
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jun 12, 2013 3:57:54 PM

jimedB:

What does your post (about the Gas Buddy blog, news feeds, and insurance pricing) have to do with viewing prices by octane rating?

smtwngrl:

Have any of the responses below, in response to your suggestion, been useful or explanatory? Just wondering.

13/695



[Edited by: Gas_Buddy at 6/12/2013 4:01:18 PM EST]
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jimedB
Champion Author Riverside

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Message Posted: Jun 12, 2013 12:29:00 PM

Why when a story is removed from the Gas buddy blog and news feed the title is not removed? I can see why todays story about Insurance pricing was remived after searching and found that it was just an add for a price comparing web site but the title still remains.
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RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jun 12, 2013 11:30:59 AM

The ongoing problem with using the comments field for anything is that it is erased just as soon as the next reporter enters a price; it does not remain there until another person enters a comment, but is reset to blank when prices are input by another member. Not very many people actually get to see the comment; might as well be shouting in a sound-proof room.

RG
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jun 12, 2013 1:38:09 AM

One more thought. If you pull into a station, and it turns out that your concept of "midgrade" is the station's concept of "premium", then the simplest solution is to look at the pumps to ascertain this fact, and then purchase premium instead of midgrade, leaving GasBuddy out of it entirely. It seems very unlikely that any change to the GasBuddy system would be able to address this issue substantially better than doing it yourself as described above.
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manaknight14
All-Star Author Pennsylvania

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Message Posted: Jun 11, 2013 7:07:27 PM

McDowelle,

I see those four-grade stations a lot (usually Sunoco), in fact there's one right down the street from my house. Generally I think the rule of thumb is to post whichever premium octane is the most common in your area. For example, where I live the majority of premium pumps are 93 octane, so when I report a four-pump station I report the 93 octane price in the premium slot. That way the comparison between stations is as close to apples-to-apples as possible. I wish there was some way to report all four prices. Right now all I can do is put the 91 octane price in a comment, which isn't all that helpful for people trying to search for the 91.
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Jun 11, 2013 5:19:38 PM

If you're reporting prices for a station that sells two different grades of premium, feel free to notate which premium price you are reporting prices in the Comments field.

-Don
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mcdowelle
Veteran Author New York

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Message Posted: Jun 11, 2013 4:43:04 PM

As a newbie with only 15 days of posting who usually buys 87 octane, I was surprised to note that some stations in my area have four grades of gas: 87, 89, 91 and 93 octane. This raises the question of what to post for the premium grade. I've been posting the 91 octane price and ignoring the 93 octane. (I think I saw this as guidance in one of the forums.) Indicating the octane rating in the posting page would clarify this situation.
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Don
Moderator
Message Posted: Jun 11, 2013 4:27:30 PM

The octane rating icons shown within the app or on station feature pages do not actually represent the octane of fuel sold at any particular station.

Generally most regular fuels are between 84-87 octane, most mid grade fuels are 87-89 octane, and most premium fuels are 90-93 octane, sometimes even 94. Octane can vary from station to station, from brand to brand, and from area to area.

We are considering adding other fuel types to the website and apps, however, to keep the price entering input process as simple as possible, currently only display the three main grades of gasoline, and diesel. We are hoping to improve upon this as time goes on though.

Thank you for your patience while we continue to develop and improve our mobile app and web services.

-Don
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manaknight14
All-Star Author Pennsylvania

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Message Posted: Jun 11, 2013 1:21:53 PM

I agree that accurate octane indicators should exist for displayed gas grades. The lack of consistency in gas grades between states means anyone using GasBuddy on a road trip is in the dark regarding what octanes they are really seeing prices for. While the ability to use lower octane at higher altitude is true in many cases, that's not the case with any turbo or supercharged engines. There are also even some naturally aspirated cars whose owner's manuals claim that using sub-87 octane gas (even at high altitude) will void the warranty. So knowing what octane you're seeing a price for is extremely important.

This isn't just an issue for high-altitude states, either. Those whose cars use premium gas currently have no way of determining what octane each premium price is for. Premium octane can vary not only from state to state, but also within individual states. In my state I can find 91, 92, and 93 octane fuels all listed as premium at different stations. Some stations like Sunoco even sell multiple premium grades. People whose cars run on 92 or 93 need to be able to see what the octane is at each station so they don't accidentally buy 91.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jun 7, 2013 10:14:47 PM

Similar to what kwzh said below, unless you're switching frequently from high altitude/mountain driving and sea level driving, all modern cars can adapt to the slight variation of octane (i.e., 85 vs. 87, etc.) with no noticeable difference.
,
In the Rocky Mountain (high elevation) states, 85 octane, regular for that region, is the minimum octane, and 91 octane (premium for that region) is the maximum octane available in fuel. (There may be some specialized fuels with other octane but these are the general gas station fuels). The reason for this is that in higher-elevation areas, a typical naturally aspirated engine draws in less air mass per cycle because of the reduced density of the atmosphere. This directly translates to less fuel and reduced absolute compression in the cylinder, therefore deterring knock. It is safe to fill a carbureted car that normally takes 87 nefuel at sea level with 85 octane fuel in the mountains, but at sea level the fuel may cause damage to the engine. (A disadvantage to this strategy is that many turbocharged vehicles are unable to produce full power, even when using the "premium" 91 AKI fuel.

Unless you're driving in very different and distinct driving regions, you car will adapt to the octane just as most engines automatically adjust to using regular when premium is recommended. The difference is negligible. Adding different octanes to what's already Regular, Mid-grade, and Premium, seems an unnecessary addition. As kwzh said...
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DiannaFan
Champion Author Utah

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Message Posted: Jun 7, 2013 9:14:51 PM

There are bigger problems with the MSL, but I agree that having more information is better. I think this should be put on the list of things to try implementing after the bigger issues are delt with.
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maxstar
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jun 7, 2013 4:33:03 PM

"Perhaps there needs to be octane ratings associated with each grade for each station in the MSL. "

In the MSL there is not distinction shown but the in the icons used to show them on the app there are. For "regular" the gas pump has 87 on it, "midgrade" has 89 and "premium" shows 91. My guess is that those same icons are always used for "regular", "midgrade", or "premium" regardless what the real octane is. So either the icons should be changed to remove the numbers. Or, after the MSL is tied to which fuels are displayed, use icons with numbers that match the proper octane, and chosen in the MSL.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Jun 7, 2013 4:00:10 PM

This suggestion has been added to the Suggestion Tracking List as a new topic on an existing subject.

Perhaps there needs to be octane ratings associated with each grade for each station in the MSL. Then there would be no doubt as to what they are selling regardless of whether users are or are not familiar with what is normal for the area.
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kwzh
Champion Author San Jose

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Message Posted: Jun 6, 2013 11:47:21 PM

At the higher altitudes in Colorado, 85 octane delivers the same punch as 87 octane would at a lower altitude, so it should be OK to continue filling with regular. (As long as you'll be operating the car in the same vicinity that you bought the fuel.) This is why it's usually better to think in terms of "regular/midgrade/premium" rather than specific octanes.
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DiannaFan
Champion Author Utah

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Message Posted: Jun 6, 2013 11:38:40 PM

The octane rating changes based on altitude. Regular gas basically is regular gas no matter where you are. Besides, within one's home area you know what octane is what grade so I'm not sure this accomplishes anything.
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