Is Top Tier gas better for your car?
Top Tier Detergent Gasoline promises to keep your engine a lot cleaner, without a lot of additional cost.
This post come from Angela Colley at partner site Money Talks News.
We broke a record recently . . . for gas prices. The national average for a gallon of gas was $3.74 -- a record for the time of year and 16 cents higher than the same time last year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Cheapskate that I am, I've bought gas at some questionable locations, like the gas station that didn't have a brand, just a sign that read "GAS!" under a giant inflatable gorilla. Like most drivers, I'm all about price, never giving much thought to quality. After all, gas is gas, right?
Well, maybe not. In this video, Stacy Johnson discusses Top Tier Detergent Gasoline, a special blend with additives that's supposed to help your car. Take a look, then continue reading below.
What exactly is Top Tier?
At first glance, Top Tier may seem like another way of saying "premium." But that's not the case. Premium is gasoline with a higher octane rating. Octanes are a group of hydrocarbons added to gas to slow down the fuel's urge to self-ignite. They simply help engines run without pinging or knocking. Car manufacturers recommend premium gasoline for some cars, but many don't need it. And if your car is rated for a lower octane, buying premium offers no benefit.
Top Tier gas is a special blend promoted by General Motors, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Audi, and Volkswagen. It contains detergent additives designed to reduce the buildup of engine deposits. Top Tier can be any octane rating.
Does it work?
While there's no denying that Top Tier gas has added cleaning agents, there is debate as to whether they make a distinguishable difference. All gasoline has to contain enough detergent additives to meet standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Top Tier simply has more. You can read opposing viewpoints in this USA Today article.
As you saw in the video, mechanic Pam Oakes says Top Tier gas does clean carbon out of your engine and is worth buying. She says she's seen the difference it can make with her own eyes.
The bottom line: Top Tier could help your engine and won't hurt it. And since Top Tier gas costs refiners only about a penny more per gallon to produce than traditional blends -- unlike premium -- it shouldn't set you back much more at the pump.
Where to find it
The list of retailers offering Top Tier can change, but you can always find it on the Top Tier site here. The current list:
- 76 Stations
- Aloha Petroleum
- Entec Stations
- Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN)
- Holiday Stationstores Inc.
- Kwik Trip/Kwik Star
- MFA Oil
- Mileage Stations
- Ohana Fuels
- Phillips 66
- Quik Trip
- Rebel Oil
- Road Ranger
- Severson Oil
- Tri-Par Oil
- U.S. Oil
Have you used Top Tier gas? Did it make a difference? Leave a comment below.
More from Money Talks News and MSN Money:
- 19 tips for finding a great mechanic
- 6 little-known ways car dealers rip you off
- The most expensive places for car repairs
- How much vehicle can you afford?
- Why gas prices will keep rising
Top Tier is garbage for the most part. As a tuner, who works very closely with other tuners, we recommend just 3 brands of gas; Exxon, Mobil or BP (Exxon/Mobil didn't used to considered Top Tier). Sunoco is iffy. Shell is the absolute worst gas on the planet, and most cars will show knock retard using it. For those who don't know, detergents don't burn. They destroy octane. Any of the cleaners in gas or the off the shelf cleaners are horrible for performance. We never recommend using them, under ANY circumstances. Your car WILL knock with them in the tank, whether its a POS Corolla, or a Hi-Po Porsche. If you don't believe it, buy a Data logger and see what the knock sensors are doing.
For my CTS-V, its never had anything in its tank other then BP Amoco Ultimate. I used to use Exxon and Mobil in my SRT8s, but since they always cost more, no sense in using them any more.
I don't believe that gasoline additives make any real difference that can be documented. The very USA Today article states "All gasoline should be adequate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires a certain level of engine-cleaning additives in gasoline. And bulk gasoline before the additives go in must meet certain industry standards. But Shell and others trying to distinguish themselves from the discounters say that fuel meeting just those minimum standards won't keep your engine clean."
"Ford Motor, not in the Top Tier coalition, says right on its gasoline caps, "Ford recommends BP," not a Top Tier brand. "Their fuel meets or exceeds what our vehicles require. We know their products" from collaborating on lubricant and fuel research, says Ford spokesman Said Deep.
It's simply snake oil, if it makes you feel better buy it but rest assured it's waste of money. o test has eveproved hat it makes any appreciable difference.
in regards to bad gas, i think that all gas stations are prone to contamination because the tanks are accessible to the public and anyone can pour liquid into them (or steal gas through from them)
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