U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Automotive
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
 
 
Old 02-23-2012, 09:07 AM
 
8,402 posts, read 19,527,792 times
Reputation: 6764

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa Pipes View Post
As rule there is no difference in fuels as mandated by state laws. There are ,however, different mixes for the summer and winter seasons which is why folk's get such crappy MPG spring and fall as the seasonal switch over takes place.

Beware of super cheap gas since sometimes cut rate independents buy bottom of the barrel fuels cheap just before they go stale.
Which is it? Either there is no difference as you say in the first highlighted quote, or there is a difference as implied by the second highlighted quote. If there's no difference, how can a fuel be bottom of the barrel?
Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-23-2012, 09:07 AM
 
Location: DFW
6,716 posts, read 11,162,972 times
Reputation: 4972
From what I've seen, there's very little discernible difference between the "best" brands and the "worst" brands.. that doesn't mean you can't get unlucky and pump bad gas, both at "good" or "bad" branded stations.

Plus, prices don't vary as much between brand compared to most other products.

Just buy gas at the first station you see when you need it and save your "shopping around" efforts for the things that do matter.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 09:13 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,869 posts, read 12,498,951 times
Reputation: 3540
If you want fresh fuel to to a busy station.
Not the small station that gets little traffic or the one that just happens to be close to you when it's time to fill up continue to a high volume station

Avoid any station that is taking a delivery of fuel.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,717 posts, read 59,563,864 times
Reputation: 26822
Althuogh the additive packages are proprietary, most contain essentially the same chemicals. Is one chain comes up with some magic additive, the others just figure out what it is and then they add it too.

The real difference is between stations and how they take care of their storage tanks. It is unlikely but possible to ge water or dirt mixed in due to poor maintainence practices.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 11:13 AM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
Reputation: 14009
Ah, the misdirections of so many posters here ... and the assumptions based upon their local markets which may be quite different than what is going on in SLC, which is where the OP is based.

Generalizations such as "BP and Shell" have "bad gas" simply don't represent the marketplace in SLC. In my experience, they consistently have some of the better fuels at the pump there, although Shell tends to be top priced in the area and BP a little more competitive ... but that's a generalization and not always the case. Assertions that "all fuels are the same" by "state law" are total fabrications by the poster ... fuels are a blend of products which are formulated to meet certain parameters that can be achieved by many different ways, so the end product retail fuels can be very different products yet test out to meet the requirements of a motor fuel; how much they exceed the minimums is a widely variable aspect of their formulation. How they perform in various engines can have a wide variation because the test parameters are set by the tests, not real-world running in given automobiles.

The SLC area is served by 4 major refineries: Tesoro (supplier to Shell & Tesoro brands, as well as supplying independents), Cascade, Chevron, and Holly-Frontier. As well, fuel is brought over from the Sinclair (WY) refinery into this marketplace. These refineries process crude feedstocks from the nearby Uinta Basin (black wax and yellow wax crude), the Rangely Basin in Colorado, Wyoming crude produced all the way over to the Sinclair area, and Canadian crude that is brought into the area. The feedstocks vary widely as to the heat content (BTU) per pound, so there's wide variations as to the potential fuel economy from a given octane fuel produced from each run of crude. The refined gasoline product itself is a blend of distallations, cracking, catalyst reformulations, etc ... and varies greatly from batch to batch as to the actual consituent chemicals that are blended to achieve the required standard for the fuel. Essentially, there's more than one way to achieve the fluid that performs per ASTM tests with a given octane rating, and the refineries task is to optomize that fluid blend end product from the raw goods (crude) which they recieve at any given time.

An area independent gasoline (maverik, flying J, harmon's, etc) retailer will purchase their retail gasoline supply from the "spot market" given the availability and pricing of product on a given day. They pick up the fuel blend that is purported to meet their requirements ... a blend of the lowest octane fuel mixed with the highest octane fuel to create a required octane, such as the 85 octane regular posted at the pump. Due to EPA mandates for the area, the fuel has a percentage of ethanol added to oxygenate the fuel but the retailer can specify an amount in excess of the EPA minimum for various reasons, including cost. The balancing act is to find a product that sells well, peforms adequately to a certain percentage of their clients, stores well (ethanol added fuel is hygroscopic, so picks up moisture in handling and storage in the retailer's hands as well as in the hands of their purchasers), delivers acceptable fuel economy, and yields a profit to the retailer when sold.

Nobody wants to sell a fuel that gets a reputation for being inferior, hard to start in cold weather, poor fuel economy, knocks (pings) in many cars, etc. ... yet it's a balancing act to specify what your fuel blend will be on any given day when picked up at the refinery. On top of that, the additive pack is a cost item and can affect long term user satisfaction with buying your brand of fuel. Yet many retailer organizations will play to the lowest common denominator with their fuels; ie, my mention of Conoco branded fuel typically being the lowest octane fuel at a given rating than any other that I've bought in the area (including "off-brands" like Gas-A-Mat or some little self-serve independents that might give an impression of a low overhead/low quality product from some pretty sleazy looking retail outlets).

While many of the aspects of the retailing gasoline game are universal and the input locally from the EPA varies widely from market to market, some markets are served only by one major refinery, hence all of the fuel sold locally comes from that source. But the blends of low and high octane fuel to achieve a "regular" gas, additive packs, ethanol percentages, and proprietary specifications for the end product are still in the hands of the retailers.

What counts here is that the OP is in SLC, which has a very competitive market served by a multitude of branded, local/regional marketers, and independents .... and the fuels do, in fact, vary greatly from retailer to retailer organization. As well, they can vary greatly season to season as the parameters for the retail formulations change according to climate, EPA, and local demands. It's variable enough that some retailers fuel is better in the winter than others, while their fuel in the summer months may not be as good as their competitors.

The EPI article referenced by snofarmer has a section on gasoline and heat value variations which is a very significant aspect of the crude feedstocks in play at the SLC area. And it makes my point that there is, in fact, a wide variation in the values which different fuels ... all bearing the retailer designation of "regular" gasoline ... may have. This shows up especially in the SLC diesel fuels where I've repeatedly had up to a 20% variation in fuel economy from #2 diesel in my cars and pick-up trucks, and have also experienced a 20% variation in the fuel economy in my gasoline cars with SLC fuels ... which I generally associate with how much ethanol is in a given delivery of fuel. My Subaru's will run on low octane gas, but they are sensitive to how much ethanol is present when it comes to fuel economy and even just one tank of a high content ethanol fuel will have the OBD2 computer learning curve out of whack for a tank or two of fuel afterward, even if it doesn't have so much ethanol in it.

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-23-2012 at 11:41 AM..
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 11:37 AM
PDD
 
Location: The Sand Hills of NC
8,776 posts, read 14,134,753 times
Reputation: 11850
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa Pipes View Post

Beware of super cheap gas since sometimes cut rate independents buy bottom of the barrel fuels cheap just before they go stale.
Yes be careful of the cheap gas stations because some of them have friends with back yard refineries making cheap gas in between batches of shine.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 12:46 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,091,437 times
Reputation: 9065
I wish it was as simple as sunsprit suggests, but it's not (and I lived for several years where he does). Yes, there is variation in quality and additives (a biggie being ethanol content in gasoline), but that can vary at the same station day-by-day, depending on where they get their fuel. Here's an example: I was fueling at a station in rural Utah a few months back. It was a Chevron-flagged station. While I was there, a tanker was delivering fuel. It was a Sinclair truck. I asked the driver if he was hauling fuel out of the Sinclair refinery in Duchesne, Utah or Sinclair, Wyoming. Nope. The fuel was coming out of the Giant Refinery near Gallup, New Mexico. He explained that he would pick up fuel at whatever refinery was closest to where he was when the order came in from the station. In this case, he was in New Mexico, so the fuel was picked up at Gallup. He delivered regularly to this particular station. He said that he would deliver fuel there from all the refineries I mentioned above, plus a couple in Salt Lake City. So, what fuel was I buying at the station that day? Giant fuel with Chevron's additives. Tomorrow, it might be Sinclair fuel out of Wyoming or some other refinery.

And, yes, I've gotten varying quality fuel from the same station on many occasions. Last month I got a bad tank of diesel fuel from a station where I had bought fuel for two years without problem. Similarly, a friend complained about getting bad fuel from a station where I've bought fuel for 10 years with nary an issue. You just never know.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 12:58 PM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
Reputation: 14009
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
I wish it was as simple as sunsprit suggests, but it's not (and I lived for several years where he does). Yes, there is variation in quality and additives (a biggie being ethanol content in gasoline), but that can vary at the same station day-by-day, depending on where they get their fuel. Here's an example: I was fueling at a station in rural Utah a few months back. It was a Chevron-flagged station. While I was there, a tanker was delivering fuel. It was a Sinclair truck. I asked the driver if he was hauling fuel out of the Sinclair refinery in Duchesne, Utah or Sinclair, Wyoming. Nope. The fuel was coming out of the Giant Refinery near Gallup, New Mexico. He explained that he would pick up fuel at whatever refinery was closest to where he was when the order came in from the station. In this case, he was in New Mexico, so the fuel was picked up at Gallup. He delivered regularly to this particular station. He said that he would deliver fuel there from all the refineries I mentioned above, plus a couple in Salt Lake City. So, what fuel was I buying at the station that day? Giant fuel with Chevron's additives. Tomorrow, it might be Sinclair fuel out of Wyoming or some other refinery.

And, yes, I've gotten varying quality fuel from the same station on many occasions. Last month I got a bad tank of diesel fuel from a station where I had bought fuel for two years without problem. Similarly, a friend complained about getting bad fuel from a station where I've bought fuel for 10 years with nary an issue. You just never know.
Jazzlover ... you're supporting my assertions and experience that fuel is widely variant, coming from many sources into the area. The branding is significant at the retail level as we both recognize the differences in the blends, additives, and alcohol levels, and the wholesale supply sources are numerous.

This can be different than the situation in a lot of other regions around the USA where the heavy hand of the EPA fuel formulation mandates isn't as significant for seasonal air quality issues or where they only have much more limited refinery sourcing for their fuels so the feedstocks and fuels are essentially the same product except for the brand proprietary formulations.

The real difference in this thread is where so many posters have come on to assert that there is no difference in the fuel at the pumps ... and that's simply not the case in this regional marketplace.
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Northern MN
3,869 posts, read 12,498,951 times
Reputation: 3540
We too see a drop in millage with diesel fuel in the winter as it is not straight #2. it is a blend of #1 &#2
and some additives to combat gelling and to raise cretain levels,
Do the folks in Florida get this blended diesel fuel? No, but all the diesel fuel In FLA is the same when it left the refinery the only difference is the additives.
This goes for Gas too.


We too see "reformulated" gas (a nice industry buzzz word) Wintertime oxygenated gasoline is gasoline to which oxygenates have been added to increase its oxygen content, as required by regulation, to reduce emissions in certain non-attainment areas that do not meet the federal air quality standard for carbon monoxide. Because of improvements in vehicle emissions controls, carbon monoxide air quality has greatly improved, and winter oxygenated fuel sales are now only approximately 3.5 percent of the total gasoline sales in the United States
Again all of the fuel in many regions will have this additive added.

Again ,as the American Petroleum Industry says it them self and the rest of the industry
.Frequently Asked Questions from the Energy Information Administration - Crude Oil Types

Gasoline -- Is It All The Same? What about Octane?
American Petroleum Institute

http://www.gasandoil.com/news/n_amer...e655dd88abd162


ASTM

It has been critical to the successful development of gasoline and gasoline-powered vehicles to have consensus among refiners, vehicle manufacturers, and other interested parties on the characteristics of gasoline necessary for satisfactory performance and reliable operation. This consensus is reached in the United States under the auspices of the ASTM International.

  • I see gasoline trucks going traveling on the road daily. Are they delivering product right from the refinery?-

    Sometimes, but most often they are delivering fuel to a service station from a bulk terminal that has been supplied by pipeline. There are 142 refineries operating in the United States.From the refineries, the products are transported by barge, truck or pipeline.

    The majority of the product is moved by underground pipelines and stored in large aboveground storage tanks at 1,300 locations around the country. These locations are called terminals.

    Transport trucks, especially designed to carry petroleum products, pick up product at the terminal and deliver it to the underground storage tanks at service stations.



The big difference is in how the fuel is handled in-transport and storage at the station.
as to if it will be "bad" or soo different or the same.

Again it is the additive package that makes a fuel/gas "branded" they "all" buy the same gas from the refinery as the next guy in line.
What the retailer does with it is up to them.

As same , it is all gas or diesel made to the same standards.


Most diesel fuel issues are brought on by the vehicle owner or operator. The person who fuels it and or services it. A issue could arise from someone deciding out of the blue to use B20 or higher levels of bio. The bio will clean out the tank and clogging filters.

or Asphaltene
The black stuff is Asphaltene.
The natural chemical process that goes on in diesel fuel as it ages creates Asphaltenes. The asphaltene molecules will tend to precipitate out of the fuel over time and settle on the bottom of the tank. Once picked up by the fuel pump filters clog and engines stop.
And prolonged exposure to temps of 140* or more will speed up the process.

"University of Idaho scientists have conducted tests to determine the timeline and percentage of degradation of stored diesel fuel #2. The results of this testing was that the petroleum diesel fuel #2 degraded 26% after 28 days of storage.

Frequently, the application of a biocide aggravates the situation and turns bio-film into solids, creating a real fuel filter nightmare. Bio film develops through out the entire fuel system. It grows in the water fuel interface and on the walls, baffles, and bottoms of storage tanks. An unlucky end user may be filling up his tank and getting this debris delivered as a part of his fuel, for the same price as the fuel.

Your bad diesel fuel could be your own doing.
You should run from full to empty, do not just top off.
Why?
Poor thermal fuel stability can plug filters. Fuel will form particulates (solids) when exposed to pumps and the hot surfaces and pressure of the fuel injection system. This will result in an increase in asphaltene agglomerations, polymerization and a dramatic loss of combustion efficiency.

Fuel systems, in general, are designed to return a significant proportion of the fuel, not used for combustion, back to the tank. This return fuel is very hot and will promote polymerization and fuel breakdown. Eventually, more and more solids from the tank will reach the filter and over time, plug the filter. These problems continuously occur in commercially operated engines, such as trucks, heavy equipment, shipping, and power generation, but will also appear in recreational boats, RV's and all types of fuel storage tanks.

The stuff that clogs your filters is actually fuel in some way, shape or form. In excess of 90% of this organic debris are fuel breakdown products. It is not sand, dust, stones, rust or in-organic matter that blocks your filter.

Again, only buy from high volume retailers.


There are two basic types of crude oil, naphthenic and paraffinic.


So again all fuel is all the same,
It is what happens to it after it is made by adding additives whatever they may be.
As I said in my first post

Just buy the correct octane for your vehicle and if you for some reason do not like it try a different brand.
You will do no harm trying any brand be it from Jacks Gas or from BP (unless Jack is making his own fuel)
Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-23-2012, 03:15 PM
 
10,868 posts, read 41,128,193 times
Reputation: 14009
Quote:
Originally Posted by snofarmer View Post
(snip)
Again it is the additive package that makes a fuel/gas "branded" they "all" buy the same gas from the refinery as the next guy in line.
What the retailer does with it is up to them.

(snip)
snofarmer, you can post and post and post until the electric bill runs out about this position you hold ...

but it doesn't jibe with several essential facts in our regional marketplace:

1) not every refinery uses the same crude sources having identical characteristics to create an indentical product that has a label of "gasoline, motor fuel, octane rated xx", and

2) there are multiple refineries servicing this area marketplace from which the gasoline is directly dispensed to the delivery transporters; ie, we don't have pipelines or terminals dispensing a uniform blend of all the product available to the delviery trucks so that the same product is on-board for delivery under the different brand names. When a delivery truck driver takes on a load of fuel at a refinery, he enters into the computer which retailer he is picking up a load for; they have the blend specifications on file for the purchase for that specific retailer. A conoco retail fuel delivered at a refinery will have a different formulation than a maverik, or flying j, or shell, or BP, or gas-a-mat, or Harmon's, or Bradley, or whomever is a retailer in this area .... and the fuels blend as well as the ethanol percentage specified varies dramatically. Again, I've got a test kit and have tested customer's fuel tanks when I've encountered running problems ... and have done so in a fair number of clients' shops now, just to show them how significant this difference is when dealing with driveability problems. That, and the RVP is so highly variable in our area that it causes hot weather starting problems as well as cold season problems when the day to day seasonal variations in our prevailing temps and wide swings in daytime to nightime ambient temps.

And you still don't get it re the fuel specifications that the retailer owners have at their discretion; ie, the different retailers specify their own proprietary blend of the lowest octane and the high octane fuel from the refinery to market as their XX octane level fuel. I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... conoco retails the most consistent low octane fuel under their regular 85 or 87 octane (at lower elevations) pumps. My cars that pre-date FI and knock sensor computerized cars will not run on this stuff without serious knocking/pinging ... yet I can go down the street here and buy other brands sold under the same octane rating "regular" designation and not have this problem. Conversely, Conoco's #2 diesel has been a fairly consistent product for me for years and I know what to expect for fuel economy from their product.

As a farm/ranch operator, I buy fuel in bulk at the lower off-season price and store it for months without seeing the type of degradation that you assert is a short (28 day) cycle losing 26% of the fuel capability. My farm tractors are extremely consistent in hour-to-hour consumption; ie, I know when I'm swathing or baling a field what my "normal" fuel consumption is per hour and it rarely varies more than a gallon of so in a 25 gallon tankful's use (approx 4.5 gallons/hour in my JD 4020) from year to year. Same thing with my M-B diesel cars; I've had fuel stored for months and added to in the storage tank where the fuel economy of the car was consistent on every tankful of the fuel dispensed from my tank.

From what I've seen in this area, the day of the proverbial "low volume" retailer that you want to avoid is long past. They've effectively been driven out of business because the margins are slim and the environmental compliance costs in addition to their other fixed overhead expenses have skyrocketed to where the "little guy with low volume" cannot and has not survived. I've seen at least 5 retailers out of business just in the last 2 months, one of them with a very good access high traffic location on a main thoroughfare in Cheyenne that simply couldn't afford to stay in business anymore only selling gasoline with an attendant on hand to fill up the cars for folk that either could not or did not want to fuel their vehicles themselves (this in a town where 99% of the fuel dispensed is self service). There's so many fewer retail outlets for fuel in this area than there was as recently as 5 years ago it gets your attention. As I travel this region extensively as a manufacturer's rep these days, I get to go through a lot of small towns where the historic local small gas station has long been boarded up and is out of business. The bottom line is that you'd be very hard pressed to find a gas station around this region that is a "low volume" station with stale fuel sold.

Last edited by sunsprit; 02-23-2012 at 03:26 PM..
Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


 
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:
Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Automotive
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2018, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top