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I thought you folks might like to know what I've learned about gasoline detergents.

The EPA, for emissions reasons only, not engine health, set a minimum level of detergent that must be added to gasoline. The level was lower than some oil companies were adding at the time. An unintended result was that some oil companies reduced their detergent additives to meet the minimum.

Some auto mfrs grew concerned that there was not enough detergent to keep fuel injectors clean and prevent intake valve and piston deposits. Deposits can get bad enough to foul fuel injectors, make intake valves stick, affect fuel economy and make an engine run rough. Deposits are of particular concern in engines with direct injection.

BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Audi got together to form the Top Tier Gasoline spec. It requires about $30,000 in tests be done by a detergent mfr to prove it keeps deposits below certain levels. For a brand to call itself Top Tier, all grades of the brand and every retail outlet for each brand must meet the spec. Note that the test is deposit prevention, not amount of detergent additive.

Top Tier Gasolines contain enough detergent to clean most deposits away after five tanks or so. The detergent removes the deposit, then attaches itself to the clean place, preventing new deposits. Source: Motor Trend.

Top Tier gasoline has approximately double the amount of detergent required by the EPA. The amount varies because the spec is based on tests, not recipes. Costco gasoline has five times the EPA required amount of detergent, yet they could not call themselves Top Tier until recently because it was not in all their stores. Now it is. Source: Costco email. I think it is the gas of choice if one is near you. Probably worth waiting in the lines.

Since Top Tier gas will clean your engine, the occasional tank of cheap stuff will not create any problem that the good stuff cannot remove. Source: My conclusion.

Since deposits are a serious problem it is worth seeking out Top Tier gasoline. There are some good choices, some of which are also known for low prices in my area, notably Costco, QT and Kwik Trip. Exxon is everywhere.

Top Tier is starting to get more publicity and I think it will not be long before people seeking out TT gas will force the holdouts to join the crowd, which will benefit all of us.

USA Stations selling Top Tier gasoline now are:
76 Stations, Aloha Petroleum, BP, Chevron, Conoco, Costco, CountryMark, Entec Stations, Exxon, Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN), Holiday Stationstores, Kwik Trip / Kwik Star, MFA Oil Co., Mobil, Ohana Fuels, Phillips 66, Quik Trip, Road Ranger, Scheirl Oil, Shell, SuperAmerica, Texaco, Tri-Par Oil Co., U.S. Oil.

In Canada, Chevron Canada, Esso, Petro-Canada, and Shell Canada.

Puerto Rico - Puma Energy Caribe.

See toptiergas.com for more info.
 

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I have only used Top Tier rated fuels for years.
Just a few years ago, Costco was one that wasn't rated Top Tier, even though their fuel was lower cost, I avoided it until they changed.
 

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I thought you folks might like to know what I've learned about gasoline detergents.

The EPA, for emissions reasons only, not engine health, set a minimum level of detergent that must be added to gasoline. The level was lower than some oil companies were adding at the time. An unintended result was that some oil companies reduced their detergent additives to meet the minimum.

Some auto mfrs grew concerned that there was not enough detergent to keep fuel injectors clean and prevent intake valve and piston deposits. Deposits can get bad enough to foul fuel injectors, make intake valves stick, affect fuel economy and make an engine run rough. Deposits are of particular concern in engines with direct injection.

BMW, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Audi got together to form the Top Tier Gasoline spec. It requires about $30,000 in tests be done by a detergent mfr to prove it keeps deposits below certain levels. For a brand to call itself Top Tier, all grades of the brand and every retail outlet for each brand must meet the spec. Note that the test is deposit prevention, not amount of detergent additive.

Top Tier Gasolines contain enough detergent to clean most deposits away after five tanks or so. The detergent removes the deposit, then attaches itself to the clean place, preventing new deposits. Source: Motor Trend.

Top Tier gasoline has approximately double the amount of detergent required by the EPA. The amount varies because the spec is based on tests, not recipes. Costco gasoline has five times the EPA required amount of detergent, yet they could not call themselves Top Tier until recently because it was not in all their stores. Now it is. Source: Costco email. I think it is the gas of choice if one is near you. Probably worth waiting in the lines.

Since Top Tier gas will clean your engine, the occasional tank of cheap stuff will not create any problem that the good stuff cannot remove. Source: My conclusion.

Since deposits are a serious problem it is worth seeking out Top Tier gasoline. There are some good choices, some of which are also known for low prices in my area, notably Costco, QT and Kwik Trip. Exxon is everywhere.

Top Tier is starting to get more publicity and I think it will not be long before people seeking out TT gas will force the holdouts to join the crowd, which will benefit all of us.

USA Stations selling Top Tier gasoline now are:
76 Stations, Aloha Petroleum, BP, Chevron, Conoco, Costco, CountryMark, Entec Stations, Exxon, Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN), Holiday Stationstores, Kwik Trip / Kwik Star, MFA Oil Co., Mobil, Ohana Fuels, Phillips 66, Quik Trip, Road Ranger, Scheirl Oil, Shell, SuperAmerica, Texaco, Tri-Par Oil Co., U.S. Oil.

In Canada, Chevron Canada, Esso, Petro-Canada, and Shell Canada.

Puerto Rico - Puma Energy Caribe.

See toptiergas.com for more info.
Thanks for the info. This is very useful.
 

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Thanks. We just got approved for a Costco to be built 10 minutes from our house. Never been to one and kind of excited. If gas is cheaper than my 66 station, I will be switching to them.

On a side note, if you are running a DI engine then top tier isn't as important as non DI motors. Even though I still run top tier in our GXP.
 

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The Costco in my area is usually .03-.04 gal. lower.
That's enough for me to switch, especially being it will not be that far away.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks. On a side note, if you are running a DI engine then top tier isn't as important as non DI motors. Even though I still run top tier in our GXP.
I found the Motor Trend article I had read. It's here: http://blogs.motortrend.com/1403_all_fuels_are_not_created_equal_technologue.html

It starts out, "Do you still buy the cheapest gas you can find? Ever worry it might mess up your engine? Maybe you should, if you drive a newer, direct-injected car, as the hostile environment these high-precision multi-orifice injectors operate under makes them vulnerable to the performance-robbing deposits cheap gas can leave." That was why I said deposits are more of a problem for direct injection engines than non DI.
 

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I found the Motor Trend article I had read. It's here: http://blogs.motortrend.com/1403_all_fuels_are_not_created_equal_technologue.html

It starts out, "Do you still buy the cheapest gas you can find? Ever worry it might mess up your engine? Maybe you should, if you drive a newer, direct-injected car, as the hostile environment these high-precision multi-orifice injectors operate under makes them vulnerable to the performance-robbing deposits cheap gas can leave." That was why I said deposits are more of a problem for direct injection engines than non DI.
I agree, when you consider the repair cost of the system if needed, is far more than the typical rail type non-DI engine.
 

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Not sure how widespread this is but "my Costco" is like $.15 - .20 cents cheaper per gallon than other stations in the area that I frequented until the Costco was built. That adds up quickly.
Most folks that I've talked to or see on forums report a much smaller difference. Maybe it was because they just opened 4 months ago and were working hard to attract new members? Bottom line though I'm glad to see they are Top Tier and getting gas there is a breeze as long as you go early or late in the day. Even if the per gallon advantage drops they'll still get my business but I'm encouraged to see so many other retailers going Top Tier.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I talked to a Costco employee about gas prices the other day who said they have to be cheaper than everybody within a 5 mile radius. He was a little hazy about the distance.

On the Big Island of Hawaii Costco is consistently $.25 a gallon cheaper than everybody else.
 

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I don't use top tier gas when I don't have to. I been filling with Mobil gas, only because it is convenient and in the way before I have to travel some distances. Some other gas stations that I fill up are at Irving gas stations and certain Cumberland Farm/Gulf gas stations.


In the 30 something years I have been driving I have not had problems with any "bad" fuel or carbon build up in engines, though I admit none of my cars are direct injected. The only time I avoid a gas station is one that is low volume/Traffic. I tried using Shell V-power at a station once because it was along the way, but there gas prices are always higher then everyone elses around the area $.10 - $.11 more and most people would rather skip it and find another along the way or actually wait for traffic to try to cross the other side of the street to get gas a mile down the road. The only way to get a good price is if you use your Shaws reward card to get the gas prices about the same as everyone else. (Not even a bargain)

What I found was... the engine was NOT happy at all. I don't think V-power was cleaning anything as the gas was probably somewhat on the old side and the engine did not sound like it was happy with that tank. At the half way point later in the week I went to a Mobil gas station instead, pretty competitive price with some others just maybe $.02 or $.03 more per gallon and the RAV4 became much happier.


In my neighborhood, within 5 miles from where I live, we have 7Eleven, Hess, Cumberland Farms x2, Mobil, Irving, Shell, BP, Citgo. AA+ gas station, We did have a stop and shop gas station at one point but that one closed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I've bought the cheapest gas I could find for many years and never had a deposit problem either, Grafarian. I think the problem here might be that some of the refiners decreased the amount of detergent when the EPA came out with the minimum standard, which would satisfy emissions but not be enough for engine health.
 

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I found the Motor Trend article I had read. It's here: http://blogs.motortrend.com/1403_all_fuels_are_not_created_equal_technologue.html

It starts out, "Do you still buy the cheapest gas you can find? Ever worry it might mess up your engine? Maybe you should, if you drive a newer, direct-injected car, as the hostile environment these high-precision multi-orifice injectors operate under makes them vulnerable to the performance-robbing deposits cheap gas can leave." That was why I said deposits are more of a problem for direct injection engines than non DI.
Deposits are more of a problem on DI engines because the air fuel mix doesn't hit the back of the valves and that is where the deposits are commonly forming. I own a DI vehicle and have read and seen pictures of numerous intake valves, injectors(taken apart), cylinders, and pistons. Many are from engine builders on another forum I belong to and others I just glance at. DI engines inject fuel somewhere in the vicinity of 3k psi. I can't remember the numbers, I'll post if I can find them later, could be slightly less. There is no way deposits are forming in those injectors. Tops of the pistons will be a little worse for wear if not using top tier but it isn't anything catastrophic.
 

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Thanks or the info JohnnyBohunk !!! I got a new 2017 CR-V two weeks back and was not sure where to get the gas from. Your articles settle it for me !!

BTW, is it worth to get the premium (high octane) gas as compared to the regular gasoline?


Thank you,
RJ
 

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I've always used Shell Premium in every car I've owned, including my present vehicle, which is a CR-V. Most studies I've seen conclude Shell Premium has the highest levels of detergent than any other fuel.
 

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I think top tier is a marketing ploy to get people to pay more money for a fungible product. There is a reason that tankers hauling gasoline no longer have the name on the side. If you pay attention, you will see the same trucks delivering to the private brand stations as to the "top tier" stations. It is the same gasoline with sometimes slightly different detergent mixtures. I have bought based on price and I buy from high selling stations for the last 52 years and have never had a problem. I have had direct injection engines for the last 100,000 miles with no problems. My local no name dealer told me he always uses the maximum amount of detergents in his gas that the law allows. If you buy the top tier marketing ploy, you probably also think Consumer Reports are a good source of accurate information.
 

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The fuels are custom blended at the refineries for each brand before dumped on locations.
Trucking firms are subcontractors.
Top Tier fuels must maintain specs to continue with that classification.
Use the octane level stated in owner's manual.
Your money, your choice.
 

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I have always bought the cheapest gas I could find and have had zero issues with deposits ON PORT INJECTION ENGINES. I now have a 2017 CRV with direct injection and a turbo. There is concern, and I believe a valid concern, that the blow-by in a turbocharged engine is more than a non-turbo engine. That adds more flow from the crankcase via the PCV system. Adding the fact that there is no port injector to wash the underside of the intake valve, it seems that carbon deposits can form on the valve. I am inclined to install an oil/water separator in the PCV line between the valve cover and crankcase. There seems to be a number of manufacturers of these devices in the market. The best design I have seen is by Mishimoto. If this is overkill, it would be harmless overkill, IMO.
Anyone have any data on this concern?
 

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I have always bought the cheapest gas I could find and have had zero issues with deposits ON PORT INJECTION ENGINES. I now have a 2017 CRV with direct injection and a turbo. There is concern, and I believe a valid concern, that the blow-by in a turbocharged engine is more than a non-turbo engine. That adds more flow from the crankcase via the PCV system. Adding the fact that there is no port injector to wash the underside of the intake valve, it seems that carbon deposits can form on the valve. I am inclined to install an oil/water separator in the PCV line between the valve cover and crankcase. There seems to be a number of manufacturers of these devices in the market. The best design I have seen is by Mishimoto. If this is overkill, it would be harmless overkill, IMO.
Anyone have any data on this concern?
Check with Honda first and see if any addition would void your warranty.
 
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