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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Entry for April 17, 2008

With gasoline prices at stratospheric levels, most of us will take the lowest pump price regardless of the brand. Caveat emptor, after forever-buying bargain gasoline, mostly from Hugo Chavez’s CITGO stations, I have come to rethink my habits. Back in the 1970’s any kid could rebuild a gummed carburetor, so low quality gasoline was not too much of a problem. Today’s electronic fuel injection systems can be quite complex, and every vehicle I have owned with EFI, usually sooner than later, died due to the system gumming up. Generally, it was thought and taught that all gasoline was equal, and “additives” advertised for the different gasoline brands were simply viewed as snake-oil salesmanship. After paying for the latest in a long series of “degumming” of the injectors on my 1999 GMC Safari (at 141,000 miles) the symptoms returned (at 145,000 miles). The dealer said they could again degum the works, and maybe replace a few expensive components here and there. I decided to drive the near-crippled vehicle, as it was, not willing to sink another large wad of cash into a recurring problem on a vehicle nearing the end of its useful life. The one thing I did was look on internet for advice. By changing to Shell gasoline, I literally drove the old GMC clean. At 148,000 miles, the engine runs better now than it ever did.

Shell is a TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline. TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline is the premier standard for gasoline performance. Six of the world's top automakers, BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen and Audi recognized that the current EPA minimum detergent requirements did not go far enough. Since the minimum additive performance-standards were first established by the EPA in 1995, most gasoline marketers actually reduced the concentration level of detergent additive in their gasoline by up to 50%.

Below is a list of TOP TIER gasoline brands. Some major brands not listed say they meet the TOP TIER detergent criteria, but they consider the TOP TIER label a marketing gimmick. Until I am convinced otherwise, if a station is not listed as TOP TIER, I will not be burning their fuel.

TOP TIER Gasoline Retailers:

MFA Oil Co.
Phillips 66
Entec Stations
The Somerset Refinery, Inc.
Kwik Trip / Kwik Star
Aloha Petroleum
Tri-Par Oil Co.
Turkey Hill Minit Markets
Mileage Stations
Chevron Canada
Shell Canada
Sunoco Canada

Visit this
Ted Serbinski Blog entry on gasoline

Visit this
Ask Patty entry on gasoline

Happy motoring,

James A. Zachary Jr.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Interesting. I always thought it was marketing, too. But I have had problems with the injectors, and there's an off-brand station that I sometimes use. (No price difference; just closer.) I'll watch for a difference.