Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Is Brand-Name Gasoline Better?

asked by on

Is brand-name gasoline better?

Brand-name gasoline isn’t necessarily better than independent label gasoline. Gasoline is gasoline. That being said, name-brand fuel does have some attributes and qualities that independent fuelers don’t have.

Let me explain.

There actually is a difference in gasoline. That difference is not in the gasoline itself, but rather in the additive packages that are mixed with the raw fuel stock. Each gasoline company (Texaco, Chevron, BP, Amoco, Shell, Sunoco, etc.) has a package of chemical additives that are designed to achieve certain beneficial effects inside the combustion chamber of your engine.

Some of these additives (detergents) help keep the combustion chamber clean by preventing carbon build-up. Other additives help improve the quality of combustion. Some are used to aid in cold-weather vaporization of the fuel.

Fuel additive packages are also custom tailored to meet various emissions laws. For instance, California has the most stringent laws regarding vehicle emissions in the world. In order to meet these emissions requirements, fuel refiners reformulate their gasoline differently than they would for other states. That requires different combinations of additives.

If every brand of gasoline sold in California meets state requirements for emissions, then why do gas prices differ so much? To a large degree, the answer, again, is the additive packages. Independent label fuels generally contain fewer additives which can translate to lower prices at the pumps, if their costs are in line with other marketers and the retailer keeps his markup with reasonable limits. Increased sales volume can help reduce fuel prices, too, through bulk purchasing savings. More additives usually means cleaner burning fuels. These “better” fuels demand higher prices at the pump.

I have noticed that my personal vehicle runs better, and gets better mileage, on one brand of fuel over another brand. Cost isn’t always a factor. I try to use the fuel that works best in my car, but I do use other gasolines when my fuel tank gets near empty.

Experiment. Find the fuel that works best in your car.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. Is Brand-Name Gasoline Better?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Hi I had my 2006 Town and Country van in my yard running and it was on a slight incline with the front of van going downwards.

Hi there. Try turning on the ignition for 30 seconds and shutting it off 3 times in a row. Then try starting the engine. If the engine wants to start up, keep cranking until the engine is running, but do...

Q: Anti-syphon device to the tank is not sealed

I answered your previous question. You did not mention that gas was shooting out while filling. This issue is related to another system and does not involve the part in question. When you are filling the tank, the gas you...

Q: No start. Not getting fuel. Low voltage at pressure regulator and happened suddenly

The glow plugs are working properly as well? I know of these being a common factor in hard starts and no starts on diesel trucks. Low fuel pressure is a good sign that there may be trouble with the fuel...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...