What Is Top Tier Gas, And Why Is It Important?

Top | Gas | 30th October 2021 | Virtual Wire


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Unless you have an EV, fuel is necessary for our cars to run. Pumping gas is one of my least favourite things to do, so often, I just go to the nearest gas station when my indicator says I am dangerously low.

Is all fuel really the same? According to the auto industry, the answer is no. Some brands of fuel have products that can help you extend the life of your engine, improve emissions and have a better fuel economy. However, that may not be the best choice in the long run for my car.

Why Top Tier?

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Top Tier Detergent Gasoline is an environmentally-friendly detergent gasoline product that uses biodegradable ingredients. Major automotive companies recommend top-tier gasoline because it helps prevent engine damage in vehicles.

Currently, 11 major automotive companies recommend that drivers use Top Tier fuels to preserve vehicle engine components and reduce emissions. These companies are:

  • Audi

  • Ford

  • Navistar

  • BMW

  • Honda

  • VW

  • GM

  • Detroit Diesel

  • Toyota

  • FCA

  • Mercedes-Benz

When top-tier gasoline products are used, they reduce harmful product buildup that can form deposits on engine parts and negatively impact its overall performance. This video gives additional information about the Top Tier program.

How Does A Gas Station Classify As Top Tier?

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Gas stations enter the Top Tier fuel program voluntarily. These brands pledge to sell fuels that contain higher levels of additives than required by current government standards. In the end, these brands' use of high-quality gasoline products benefits their customer's vehicle performance over its lifetime.

For gas station brands to be classified as a Top Tier brand, the brands must:

  • Use additives for increased engine cleaning ability.

  • It cannot contain environmentally harmful metallic additives.

  • Must be available at all octane levels in the station.

How Do I Know If A Gas Station Has Fuel Meeting The Top Tier Performance Standards?

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Since 1992, the US government has set minimum requirements for detergent levels in gasoline. Despite these regulations, auto manufacturers received complaints of vehicle performance issues related to engines. Although auto manufacturers have no say on gasoline standards, they worked with fuel brands to create the Top Tier program with high fuel standards. Due to the high-quality standards required of Top Tier Gas Stations, licensed brands are routinely audited to monitor fuel concentration, additives, and quality. Brands wanting to remain in the program are contractually obligated to offer fuel that meets the program standards.

Does Top Tier Gas Cost More?

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Most drivers are looking for deals at the pump, especially since gas prices seem to be constantly rising. Therefore, many may be less focused on fuel quality. So, will fill up with top-tier fuels cost you more at the pump? According to research conducted by AAA, over a yearlong period, the difference in price between Top Tier fuel and Standard fuel was only around 3 cents per gallon. How Does Non-Top Tier Gas Affect Fuel Economy? Another benefit to top-tier gas is that when used in vehicles that have previously used fuel from non-Top Tier brands, it can clean engines and improve emissions and fuel economy.

When AAA conducted a study to see how beneficial Top Tier fuel was, they found that engines using Top Tier brands had 19 times less carbon build-up than standard fuels after 100 hours of running. According to AAA, over time, these increased deposits left by non-Top Tier gas reduces fuel economy by 2 to 4 per cent leading to a significant increase in emissions. Is your car knocking or stuttering when you accelerate? Excess deposits also lead to drivability issues, including rougher-than-normal idling, engine hesitation, and knocking.

The knocking sound can be an indicator of an even more severe problem with your vehicle. When your vehicle has a healthy engine, the fuel-air mixture is regulated so that it ignites at the right time in the combustion cycle, which activates the movement of the pistons. When the pistons push down in the engine's cylinder, the engine can turn. When you hear knocking, this is caused because combustion occurred too early. The engine is damaged because the fuel-air mixture hits the top of the piston when it travels up the cylinder. Fixing this can be pretty expensive!


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As you can see, despite misconceptions, high-quality fuel is manageable to purchase and, in the long run, may save you from costly damage to your vehicle. Would you rather pay a bit more now or a lot more later? I know I want my car to be around for at least a few more years, so I am willing to do all I can to ensure it is in the best possible condition.

Ok, pumping gas will never be one of my favourite tasks as a driver. I probably will still cut it way too close before I fill up my tank. However, now that I know the importance of using Top Tier fuel, I will find a Top Tier brand near me.

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