Gas Pump

Is There a Difference in Brands of Gasoline?

There seems to be two trains of thought when it comes to the brand of gasoline we use to fill up our cars. The first camp is loyal and dedicated to a specific brand of fuel, while others are strongly on the “couldn’t-give-a-crap-less” side.

The truth is, there is a difference between brands of gasoline.

All gas tends to come from the same refinery in an area, so Shell might buy the same gas as Texaco, for example. But the difference is what happens after that.

Each brand adds their own additives to the fuel after buying it, then pumps that out to your local filling station. So while the gas is the same before they get it, it’s almost always different afterward.

So, which one do you buy? Well, most people would agree that there isn’t necessarily a “one best gasoline”, but depends on the car you’re driving and how you drive.

For me personally, I tend to drive sports cars and drive them hard, and most of the cars I’ve owned insist on premium fuel. I’ve sworn by Shell’s V-Power for my cars for years. I’m not saying that because this is a sponsored article, you’re reading this article in the first place because I really do use it almost exclusively. It simply agrees with my cars and driving style, and I believe it to be better at keeping the engine clean.

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by Shell V-Power. All views and opinions expressed here are my own. Check out our advertising guidelines to see why we’d never steer you wrong.

photo by Michael Kappel

  1. I take convenience over brand loyalty. It just so happens that my neighborhood gas station is a Shell station but if they changed brands tomorrow, I’d still use them nearly exclusively.

    1. So, one for the couldn’t-give-a-crap-less team 🙂 After the BP spill a few years back I stopped using BP brand and still don’t as long as I’m not desperate for fuel. I wonder if many others still do that.

  2. I drive a 2009 Mazda RX8 with a rotary engine, so of course I use premium fuel because the engine calls for it, but until I read this article, it never occurred to me to possibly stick with a particular brand.

    When I need to fill up, I simply go to the nearest gas station right then and there in the moment. I do use Shell often, but there doesn’t seem to be as many Shell stations around today as there used to be – at least not where I live in Indianapolis and I’m definitely not the type of person who drives five miles out of his way just to access a particular brand or save a few pennies.

    1. Definitely need to use premium for the RX-8! So clearly a difference in performance and/or fuel economy isn’t noticeable between brands, but it’d be interesting to see if there’s any difference at all by tracking it.

  3. Caltex Premium has actually cleaned my injectors in the past (f knows how?). Where as Shell/BP I seem to get the worst economy. But I am still a “Oh sh-t i am out of gas – time to fill up” person. Over here we have Gull +10% ethanol and I found that stuff is great but hard to find.

    1. I’m not sure I’ve heard of Caltex, haha. I tend to be a “Dammit, that sign said there was a gas station at this exit! Drive slower!” kind of person too.

      How could you tell Caltex cleaned your injectors? A noticeable difference in performance/economy?

      1. Caltex is part of Chevron I believe. Love child of Socal and Texaco I think. Yeah I generally buy cars that have about 200,000+ km on them, I used to have to run an injector cleaner in the first tank to fix fuel economy. But now days I just run them on about 2 months of Caltex Techron Premium (or whatever its called) and the plugs seem to come out cleaner also.

  4. Excellent article! The Japanese have dominated the
    automotive industry for most of my lifetime, so it was interesting to learn
    what the automotive landscape was decades ago. Thanks for sharing!

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