Cars, Personal Finance 

All Gasoline Brands Are The Same Old Dinosaur Bones

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Cap at has a great post about the differences between different brands of gasoline that I think is worth reading. He reaffirms my older post about how you shouldn’t buy higher octane gasoline than you need but more importantly, he details the oil refining process that takes crude oil and turns it into gasoline (plus other products).

Here’s my favorite part of the article:

Tanker heading to a Shell station? Load up the gasoline, then pour in the Shell additives into the tanker. Bam. Shell gas. Tanker heading to a Chevron station? Load up the gasoline from the same terminal, add in the Chevron additives into the tanker. Ding ding. Chevron gas. … Just how much of these additives are added into the tank? The amount varies, but for some it’s a quart of additives for an 8,000 gallon tank.

For all of you out there who claim that Exxon gasoline is so much better than Shell or your no-name station next door, take that as proof positive that marketing works.

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “All Gasoline Brands Are The Same Old Dinosaur Bones”

  1. andy says:

    But it’s those additives that can make a big difference in the quality of the gas.

    Chevron/Texaco put the same ingredients into their gas which go into their Techron fuel system cleaner. Result: you don’t get tempted to pay for that $120 fuel system cleaning ripoff at the dealership.

    BJ’s Wholesale Club and Sunoco (at least in my area) uses 10% ethanol year-round, whereas Hess, ExxonMobil, etc. do not. Result? I get 15% less mileage with BJ’s/Sunoco gas than I do the other brands.

    The major-brand stations are also more careful to provide you with a cleaner product. How often do you get a bad tank of gas (sediment, water, etc.) from an off-brand vs. a name-brand?

    I noticed a marked improvement in mileage and performance (I log every tank of gas I buy) with one truck when I stopped using any gas I could find and changed over exclusively to ExxonMobil a few years ago.

  2. Robert says:

    It actually starts way before the tanker. Oil companies share the gas distribution network, and so they put in their gas at point A and can immediately take out gas at point B that matches what they put it. It doesn’t matter who’s gas it was originally. The pipelines do separate the gas by grades when it is traveling through the pipeline, but otherwise it doesn’t really matter who’s it was to begin with.

    The only real difference is where some states have to have special blends (like California), but again all the companies follow the same guidelines.

  3. CK says:

    Actually Jim gasoline made from carnivore dinosaurs has been proven superior to gasoline made from herbivore dinosaurs.

  4. wanzman says:

    Especially the t-rex gas….

  5. Rob Carlson says:

    That’s why I use every week. I vary my routes around the city enough that knowing where the best price is at any given time can save me a cup of coffee worth of overpayment for 2 minutes of web surfing and 3 minutes of driving.

  6. bala says:

    I found that I got consistently less mileage (about 15 to 20) if I filled from Costco or Arco. instead of Chevron/Shell ( i use 87 only). Now with 5% cash back credit cards, I actually save or pay almost the same as Arco/Costco.

  7. samerwriter says:

    My inner-cynic wants to believe that all gas is the same. But my inner-scientist wants experimental evidence.

    I have an Arco and a Chevron on my way to work. They are about 100 yards apart, and the Arco is consistently $.20 cheaper per gallon across all grades. I used to own a Jeep Cherokee. Reproducibly, if I bought 87 gas from this Arco station, the Jeep’s engine knocked. If I bought 87 gas from Chevron, the engine did not knock. If I bought 89 gas from Arco the engine would not knock. Clearly there is a difference between the 87 octane offered from the local Arco and the 87 offered from the local Chevron.

    My inner-engineer wants to know what the difference is, but my inner-cheapskate won’t splurge on chemical analysis, and my inner-self-preservationist doesn’t want to play with gas anyway.

  8. Foobarista says:

    Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I’ve driven four cars into the ground (at least 600K miles between them) and have never noticed a difference between gas venders. I pretty much always use the cheapest possible gas; I only buy other gas if there’s no other choice.

  9. Nobodyknowsnothing says:

    These comments are so typical. Once again some say it does make a difference some say it doesn’t. Proof positive that there is no right answer. Let your conscious be you guide.

  10. exxon fan says:

    My putt-putt thrives on exxon. Now I hear exxon is changing to time-wise. Will this name use the same additive as exxon. I tried introducing other gas to putt-putt in the past, but no go.

  11. Paul says:

    My son is an ase certified mech and he stated that he gets less mileage from the local Stop & Shop station

  12. Jim says:

    Robert is right about all the gasolines being dumped together for transportation, but he misses the most important thing.


    They can’t tell their fuels apart so how can one cut prices to out sell another? THEY CAN’T!

    When I went to school you defined a monopoly as a lack of competition in a market.
    This pretty much is a text book example of it!

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