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“Buffalo piss.” That is what my friends and I used to call the product that came from the corner gas station and fueled our cars. When I was 16 the price was $0.99 per gallon. 15 years later, gas has quadrupled and I’m driving a much nicer car that only gets the good stuff. But the question is, in the end, does it even really matter?
Apparently it depends on who you ask.
“There is pretty much no difference,” says David Kiley, Editor-in-Chief of AOL Autos. “Some companies try to advertise that they put some primary additive in their gas. But, truth to tell, it doesn’t really change the gas.”
Kiley goes on to say that “One gas is not going to be better than the other….If your budget is tight, save yourself some money and shop for the least expensive gas.”
Neil Delfino with Delfino Engineering disagrees. “The gasoline of 76, Valero and Arco are bare bones product (so is the non-branded). If you use this gasoline long term, there will be gunk built-up on the engine intake valves and the fuel injector.”
Delfino says that if you use these brands of gasoline, you will need to regularly use fuel injector cleaner. According to Delfino, this costs about the same as going to the gas stations like Shell and Chevron that already have the cleaners mixed in the product.
Not much help.
So to see which gas worked better in my car I decided to conduct a very unscientific study. Over the course of about four months, I went to 8 different gas stations (5 major brands, 3 mom-and-pop shops) and measured the gas mileage I got on each tank of gas.
I wasn’t too surprised to discover that the fuel that gave me the best mpg was Chevron at 28.8. However, I was taken aback by a local station in midtown Sacramento that gave me an almost identical result. The worst gas mileage came from the local Quick Stop at 27.76, Shell, Arco, the other local station and Texaco rounded out the list.
Taking in all the variables, does this prove that Chevron provides the best gasoline out there? Not at all, especially considering how close the results were. However, I do know which station I will be looking for more often while out on the road.