?Can You Save Money With Generic Gas and Not Harm Your Car?
As the price of gas continues to spiral upward more and more consumers are considering using generic gas from gas stations that are not affiliated with international gas companies. The question in many consumers minds is, will I be getting the same quality of gas from XYZ station as I would get from Exxon or Shell? Will the XYZ gas be OK for my car?
The answer plain and simple is, there is not much difference between the generic gas and the branded gas other than some additives which each company has added to it’s gas. To really understand why it is so similar a quick look at how the gas refining system works makes the picture clear.
Gasoline produced at refineries is a generic product. A good example to illustrate the gas terminal concept is California where all gas sold there has to meet the same environmental specifications. Since all the gas in California has to be to the same specifications it doesn’t matter whose gas the refiners use, it’s all the same. Because of this, the refiners often trade gasoline and store gasoline at shared terminals where all the gas is in common tanks.
The gasoline that is produced at one refinery is not really different than another refinery. They all produce what one would call generic gas. It is the chemicals that are added to the generic gas that makes one brand different from another. Each brand has it’s own formula of additives.
Such blending or adding of these brand chemicals or additives typically takes place when the gasoline is being loaded into a tanker truck for further distribution. In other words all the brands are starting with essentially the same generic gas as their main component. So generic gas is basically the same as the branded gas.
Just to make sure, there have been some studies on the difference between generic gas and branded gas. A joint study on this was done by ABC News and the Maryland State Comptroller’s office.
The Maryland Fuel Testing Laboratory was where a battery of tests were conducted. The gas was checked for contaminants like excessive sediments or diesel accidentally mixed with the gas. They ran the gas through an elaborate test engine to ensure that the gas was all the same 87 octane level. They even made sure that the gas was formulated correctly for the season.
The good news for the consumer is generic and branded gas had nothing but minor differences. They found that by and large the gas was one and the same. The primary difference between competing brands of gasoline is the amount of detergent or additives the distributors add to it. Even then the differences are small.
So basically gas is gas and all the gas sold in stations whether it is from a branded station or a generic station will work just fine in your car. The biggest difference it turns out is only price.
It is reported that the average gas consumer could save between $100 and $200 per year by using generic gas. To save yourself some cash next time you fill up use the generic station.