Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Is Brand-Name Gasoline Better?

asked by on

Is brand-name gasoline better?

A: Brand-name gasoline isn't necessarily b...

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Gas gauge not registering fuel level

Hi there, and thanks for asking about the problem with your 2016 Lexus RX450H. This doesn't sound like a tank problem, but rather the scenario where the tank includes 2 fuel gauge sensors, and 2 fuel pumps - a fairly...

Q: How do I view the instant fuel econ?

The instant fuel econ displays the gas mileage that your car is achieving at any exact moment. To view this feature, follow these steps: 1. Press the Up/Down buttons on the steering wheel until Trip 1 or 2 is displayed...

Q: The car starts only with Easy Spray

Hi there. Thanks for writing in about your 2010 Ford Transit Connect. It sounds like there may not be a crank signal occurring at the normal cranking speed. If there is not, then the engine will not start. If adding...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...