Generic Gas Can you save you money and not harm your car!

By Scott Siegel

As the price of gas continues to spiral upward more and more consumers are considering using generic gas from gas stations that are not affiliated with international gas companies. The question in many consumers minds is, will I be getting the same quality of gas from XYZ station as I would get from Exxon or Shell? Will the XYZ gas be OK for my car?

The answer simply is, there is not much of a significant difference between the generic gas and the more expensive gas except for some additives which each company has added to it's gas. To really understand how this is possible a short look at how the gas refining system treats gas makes the picture easy to see.

In general fuel produced at refineries is what is called a generic product. In specific regions of the country gas has to meet certain environmental specifications. Because all gas in those regions gas depots are produced to the same specifications, gas refiners often share and exchange gasoline and store it in common tanks.

The gas that is made at one refinery is the same as any other refinery. They all produce what is known as generic gas. The chemicals that are added to the generic gas is what makes one company's gas different from another's. Each brand has it's particular recipe of additives.

Such blending or adding of these brand chemicals or additives typically takes place when the gasoline is being loaded into a tanker truck for further distribution. In other words all the brands are starting with essentially the same generic gas as their main component. So generic gas is basically the same as the branded gas.

Just to be safe, there have been studies to see if there is a difference between generic fuel and branded fuel. The latest research was a cooperative study was done by the Maryland State Comptroller's office and ABC News.

Scientists at the Fuel Testing Lab performed a myriad of tests on generic and branded gasoline. The gasoline was tested for many things including contaminants like excessive sediments or diesel that might have gotten mixed with the gas. The scientists put the fuel into a special test engine to make sure that the fuel was all 87 octane. The chemists at the lab even made sure that the fuel was properly formulated for the current season as mandated by regulations.

The good news for the consumer is generic and branded gas had nothing but minor differences. They found that by and large the gas was one and the same. The primary difference between competing brands of gasoline is the amount of detergent or additives the distributors add to it. Even then the differences are small.

Essentially gas is gas is gas. All fuel sold for your vehicle regardless if it is generic or branded will work just fine. The one big difference is really what you already knew, the non branded gas has the lower price.

It is estimated that the average consumer can save between $100 and $200 per year by using generic gas. Save yourself some cash next time you fill up. Go to the generic station.

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