Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Which Gas Stations Are the Best?

asked by on

Which gas stations are the best?

All gas stations in the US are regulated to the point where there are none that sell subpar gas that could cause damage to the engine or fuel system. Every legitimate gas station will sell usable fuel, but some major brands qualify as “Top Tier” gas suppliers that add a certain amount of detergent and cleaning chemicals to their gas to keep valves and cylinders clean. Top Tier suppliers include: Costco, Sinclair, Shell, Mobil, BP, Chevron, and many more.

This is a very subjective question. To be quite honest, the best gas station is the one that sells the gasoline that works best in your car.

There are quite a few different types of vehicles, and no one drives their car exactly the same way that someone else drives their car. Every driver requires their vehicle to perform a certain amount of work in some way. Our cars need fuel that will burn properly, completely, and efficiently. All fuels burn, so any grade of gasoline will work in your car. The real question is which gasoline will work the best in your car. Allow me to share with you a previous article that I wrote about gasoline.

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 within 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.

All in all, my best suggestion is to experiment. Find the fuel that works best in your car and gives you the best driving experience.

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・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Fuel gauge stopped working and now gas tank won't let me pump more than a few gallons at a time.

The refueling problem is due to the fill pipe in the tank. The fill pipe has a smaller hose inside of the larger pipe which keeps you from overfilling the tank. If someone tried to siphon fuel from your vehicle...

Q: How do I read the fuel gauge?

The fuel gauge is located on the instrument panel, inside the speedometer. This gauge tells you how full your fuel tank is. When the needle points all the way to the right of the gauge, your tank is virtually full....

Q: Shuts off after cranking

There are a couple of things that could be wrong. You may have a clogged fuel filter causing your fuel not to flow properly. The other possibility might be that you have an idle problem. I have seen the same...

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 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...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...