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Author Topic: Guidelines regarding fuel grades Back to Topics
ruskygazdamafia

Rookie Author
Sioux Falls

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2013 11:45:20 AM

Are there any gasbuddy.com guidelines for what constitutes "regular," "mid-grade," and "premium" gasoline? Previously, in my Sioux Falls region, our fuel stations typically sold 87 octane 0% ethanol, 89 octane 10% ethanol, and 91+ octane, +/- ethanol. 89 octane 10% ethanol was the cheapest fuel, but we reported this as "mid-grade," because it had more "octane" than the 87 octane 0% ethanol.
NOW (within the past month) there has been a major change in fuel grades in our region. We now have 87 octane 10% ethanol as our cheapest fuel. The next most expensive fuels are either 87 octane 0% ethanol, or 89 octane 10% ethanol. There has been no change in "premium" fuel in our region.
However, probably 75% of gasbuddy.com reporters in our region are still posting the least expensive fuel (87 octane 10% ethanol) as "mid-grade," even though it is clearly the lowest octane/lowest gasoline content fuel available.
Is it possible to provide guidance to gas buddy.com reporters about how to properly report fuel grades? Otherwise, the data collected is kinda useless.
Thank you---
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zippy3231
Champion Author Jacksonville

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Message Posted: Nov 10, 2013 8:57:11 AM

Very Helpful information. Thank You for Posting it!
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Chazzer
Champion Author Nevada

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Message Posted: Nov 8, 2013 1:09:36 PM

So long a winded reply ... for such a short subject!
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Nov 1, 2013 4:58:14 AM


This is true borsht, but unfortunately we are stuck with a system that grades the gasoline by it's octane instead of it's energy content, a throwback to the very early days of the internal combustion engine when prevention of knocking (early detonation) was very important and refined oil products were somewhat primitive compared to today, and consumers bought the gas with the best octane rating when they could.

With ethanol and other bio-fuels becoming more prevalent in the US, maybe one of these days the grading system will be changed to reflect the energy of what we are buying instead of just the octane rating. After all, other fuels such as natural gas, propane and heating oil are priced and sold according to their energy content.


[Edited by: GoGoGoodyear at 11/1/2013 5:00:53 AM EST]
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borsht
Champion Author Oakland

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Message Posted: Nov 1, 2013 1:03:23 AM

Octane rating only tells you about the antiknock properties of a fuel. It says nothing about its energy content. Nor the detergent capability of the fuel.
Petroleum fuel, gasoline has more energy than fuel with ethanol dilution.
By definition, regular gas must be at least 87 octane in most states.
It used to be that regular gas a low altitudes was higher octane that at higher elevations.
But now, out side of Colorado, Most states require to Regular to be 87 Octane and Premium to be 91 Octane or higher.
Octane rating says nothing about the energy content. Petroleum gasoline is about 110000 BTU per gallon regardless of octane rating.
Adding Ethanol to the gas will increase its octane rating, but at the same time decrease its energy content.
Octane rating also says nothing about the detergent content of the gasoline. This varies between the brands.
When the EPA regulated the detergent content in gasoline, the regulation was below what the refiners were already providing. Thus with the EPA minimums in place, a lot of refiners reduced considerably the amount of detergent they blended into the gasoline
Automobile manufactures in their concern about maintaining minimum detergent levels , i.e tier 2 or better have specified gasoline that is called ‘top tier”.
http://www.toptiergas.com/
Costco has recently advertised that they have increased the detergent content of all their gasoline by 5x.
You can get a lot of information on gasoline at the brand web sites.
For example, Exxon has been good at providing information on their brand fuel.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Oct 31, 2013 7:06:45 AM

"Which one is regular? Is the other one then mid-grade? And just as importantly, why?"

If the octane is 87, it ain't mid-grade regardless of the ethanol content.

For pricing purposes we are to list the lowest so whichever is lowest, it gets posted as regular. The other can be posted in the comments.

Enjoy the weather.
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GoGoGoodyear
Champion Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Oct 31, 2013 5:43:35 AM


If there are two of the same 'fuel grade' one with and one without ethanol, they generally won't be the same price. In keeping with the GB goal of searching for the lowest gas prices, perhaps the lower priced of the two could be posted to represent that fuel grade, and a comment to indicate that the same fuel grade(s) is also available with/without ethanol, for xx cents more.

It's a quandry and which prices are posted probably should be decided by the GB members in that local area.
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Byte_Doctor
Champion Author Akron

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Message Posted: Oct 30, 2013 9:19:02 PM

Quite true, RichWLIN.
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Byte_Doctor
Champion Author Akron

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Message Posted: Oct 30, 2013 9:18:33 PM

sm, you said that the 87 octane is regular. You've apparently missed that ruskygazdamafia has two fuels at the same station that are 87 octane, one with 10% ethanol, one with 0% ethanol. Which one is regular? Is the other one then mid-grade? And just as importantly, why?
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RichWLIN
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Oct 30, 2013 8:12:16 AM

Suggestions for practical improvements, no matter how well reasoned or necessary, are largely ignored except for the few respondents here who routinely defend the status quo.
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Oct 29, 2013 11:52:28 AM

Well, around here 87 w/10% ethanol is regular, 89 is mid-grade and 91 is premium. The only other main options is E85 and 93 octane premium.

In your case, 87 octane with or without ethanol is regular. It's the octane rating that determines that.
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ruskygazdamafia
Rookie Author Sioux Falls

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Message Posted: Oct 29, 2013 11:04:31 AM

@Scoutmaster. Exactly. 3 fuels are sold at a station. Fuel #1 is 87 octane, 10% ethanol. Fuel #2 is 87 octane, 0% ethanol. Fuel #3 is 91 octane, +/- ethanol. Which is "regular," which is "mid-grade," and which is "premium?" Thank you---
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2013 9:58:09 PM

87 octane is still 87 octane. That isn't the issue. The issue you are talking about ethanol and non-ethanol fuel.
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Gas_Buddy
Champion Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2013 8:59:04 PM

In a recent thread on this same issue, Octane Ratings ,
the moderators noted that the octane rating icons shown under station features do not actually represent the octane of fuel sold at any particular station, and that:

"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, currently only display the three main grades of gasoline, and diesel. This helps keep the price input methods streamlined.

The posting guidelines are that what's posted is the commonly available fuels (and few places sell ethanol-free fuel or at the same gas pump dispenser as they sell E-10 gas, a gas, I believe, that is the predominant fuel across the United States).

Not much different, for a bad analogy, than saying "A cup of Starbucks coffee costs $1.77...but if you want a shot of hazelnut syrup it's and you want a shot of expresso, it will cost you... So what's the price of a cup of Starbucks coffee?" The guidelines for price posting are: Use simple.
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CampKohler
Champion Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2013 5:59:22 PM

As you might have surmised, when there are three possible grades for reporting, but there are more than that being sold in a particular area, you are faced with the problem of not being able to put more than one peg in each hole. It might come down to knowing which fuel is the best seller for each grade, and how is GBO to know that? You could bring up this subject in your local discussion category and hope that there are enough locals with the knowledge and interest to come a concensus that could be looked upon as being the correct answer for your area. The second part of this problem (which may not be immediately solvable) is that once you know what is correct (either by member concensus or by GBO edict), how will reporters know to conform?

If there were per-site price field labels that could be adjusted to what is correct, then reporters could read them and know what to do. But there are currently no such labels, so how will reporters know which price to post where? You could post a topic in your local discussion group or maintain an off-site wiki, either of which would contain reporting instructions and you furnish a link to this to any non-conforming reporter that you find. Hopefully, after some time passes, everyone would catch on. Otherwise, as you say, "...the data collected is kinda useless."

Well, that's my take. I am very interested to see if GBO has a solution for this.



[Edited by: CampKohler at 10/23/2013 6:00:38 PM EST]
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ruskygazdamafia
Rookie Author Sioux Falls

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2013 4:12:09 PM

If it was only that simple, scoutmaster. Many of our stations have 2 different 87 octane blends sold side-by-side. We have 87 octane, 10% ethanol and 87 octane, 0% ethanol being sold next to each other. There will usually not be 89 octane sold at these pumps, but a 91+ octane blend, which would clearly be the "premium" blend. But which of the 87 octanes is "regular" and which is "mid." Our reporters in South Dakota/Iowa/Minnesota are very confused by this. It's not just an academic point...I see gasbuddy.com data being used in news articles! The articles are saying that gas prices are falling, but that is because of the introduction of 87 octane, 10% ethanol blend, which really isn't a price reduction. It's the equivalent of selling me a smaller box of breakfast cereal for the same price that I used to pay for a larger box!
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scoutmaster
Champion Author Pittsburgh

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2013 2:18:10 PM

87 reg
89 mid
91 premium

[Edited by: scoutmaster at 10/23/2013 2:18:37 PM EST]
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