TOP TIER Gasoline
Submitted by: Gerald M. Antunes
Published March 2016
Although the price of gasoline has dropped dramati cally, it will go up again at some point. Then we will all try to find the lowest price whether it’s for our classic car or the everyday driver. The question that is frequently asked is, “Is that cheap gas any good?” Well the old saying is “You get what you pay for.” But, we see the same tanker dumping gas at the lo cal Shell gas station as you see at the BP, Mobile, BJ’s, Costco and some of the others. So, what’s the deal?
My theory is, if the gas is cheaper, there is something different. Now, the government sets a standard on octane ratings so you can bet the 89 is the same at all of the places I just mentioned as is the 87, 91 and 93. So what is left? Well there is one thing that is not mentioned at every gas station. That is how much detergent is in their gas, if any at all! Ok, so you ask why you need detergent in the gas.
Let me just touch on that without getting into a full course on the Internal Combustion Engine. Whenever you burn something there is a certain amount of resi due, or “gunk” left. For example, when you burn wood in your fireplace there are ashes left behind. With coal it’s the same thing. If you burn oil or nat ural gas there is a carbon residue. It’s the same thing in your car or truck engine, be it gasoline or diesel. I know you’ve seen it on some of the TV commercials or packaging for Fuel Injector & Carburetor cleaners.
Internal combustion engines get residue from the gas itself as well. There is a residue called varnish that gets on the fuel injectors and carburetors. There’s a little different residue, Carbon, that gets on the valve stems, valve face, piston heads & combustion chamb er. This gunk causes sticky valves, reduced fuel effi ciency, poor acceleration, and loss of power. Besides that, it increases emissions, creates rough idling and a tendency to stall. When fuel injectors accumulate deposits, they do not spray fuel properly, resulting in too much fuel or too little fuel, which can cause a misfire.
Now there is a classification for the use of detergents in gasoline, Top Tier Gasoline. What is Top Tier Gas oline? Top Tier Detergent Gasoline is a performance specification and trademark that is designed and
supported by several major automakers. Top Tier gasolines must maintain certain levels of detergent additives that result in a higher standard of engine cleanliness and performance. Even higher than what is required by the EPA. Also, Top Tier gasoline can not contain metallic additives, which can harm the vehicle emission system and create pollutants. If a company sells Top Tier Gasoline, the Top Tier stand ards must apply to all grades of gasoline that a com pany sells, whether it is economy, 87 octane or pre mium 93 octane. However, premium gasolines may contain even higher levels of detergent additives.
Each of these automakers recommends the use of Top Tier Detergent Gasoline in their owner’s man uals. As of 2016 these auto makers – Audi, BMW, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz Toyota, Volkswagen – recommend using Top Tier Gasoline in their cars.
As of 2016, Top Tier Detergent Gasoline is available from 31 fuel marketers in the U.S., 7 in Canada, and 2 in Puerto Rico.
Some of those who sell the Top Tier Gasoline are: 76 Stations, Aloha Petroleum, ARCO, Beacon, BP, Chevron, Conoco, Costco, Exxon, Kwik Trip, Mobil, Phillips 66, Shell, Sinclair, Texaco and Valero.
There are plenty of different additives you can put in your gas to clean the carburetor & injectors, or to clean the carbon from the valves and pistons. There are even additives you can use in the oil to help keep all the oil passages and bearing surfaces clean.
The bottom line is the entire engine needs to be as clean as possible to give you the best performance and longevity. I’ve used additives in both my gas and oil for many years with great results. Use your best judgment. Talk to a trusted engine builder. They know what works and what doesn’t.
Special thanks to Mid Atlantic Fiero Owners Association for contributing this article from their archives.