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We all know that you should use the lowest octane gas you can obtain (87),

I was wondering what expereinces people have had with different brands (ie. Hess, Mobil, Sunnocco, ect.)

The reason I'm asking is I've switched over to Hess gas vs. Shell and I noticed a mileage improment (~46/47 MPG to ~49/50 MPG).

My current tank is some no name gas and the the car is claiming 54 MPG for the tank :)

I was wondering what experiences others have had ...


btw. PriusOnline, welcome back :)
 

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Kevin_rf, it's worth noting that in high altitude areas of the United States, regular gasoline has an octane rating of 85 or 86. There is some controversy about whether you should use this lower-octance regular in the Prius or step up so as not to go below 87. Certainly, going above 87 wastes money and may "annoy" the car.

I use Mobil because I'm suspicious of the purity of and additives in off-brand gasoline. This is out of ignorance and I may be wrong. I don't want water or other stuff that shouldn't be there. I do want something to keep the injectors clean. Also, the Mobil station I use is usually the cheapest around and so I stay loyal to the owner.

My current reading is 55.5 m.p.g. for 200 miles into this tank, but of course you can't compare without knowledge of driving pattern. I have recently had an HV-ECU replacement (for a very minor problem) and have installed a battery current meter, both of which could be contributing to my new record fuel economy.
 

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Battery Current

Graham,

The battery current meter might contribute to your MPG because it has an effect on the engine? Or on your driving habits? (I think I know but don't want to assume...)

... Mike
 

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Battery Current Meter

Yes, you know, but you're right not to assume. Driving habits. I'm pretty sure I hardly ever engage the friction brakes now. Also, if I decide I want to I can stay in battery-only mode (a.k.a. "stealth") longer.

It may be premature to anounce this, because I've not finished writing it up, but anyone who might like to add a battery current meter to their Prius can take a look here:
http://www.channel1.com/users/graham/Prius/BattCurrent.htm

Please wait to discuss the current meter until I finish writing it up and start a new thread. This one is about gas brands and I've already messed it up going this far!
 

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I live in Southeastern Wisconsin. We are considered to be one of the areas in the US that has poor air quality (We blame it on Chicago). To meet federal guidelines, our gas is formulated to burn cleaner. Our gas contains either an additive, (MB something) or 10% ethanol. Since the additive is known to pollute the groundwater, I try to use the 10% ethanol. I have noticed a 2-3 MPG drop when using ethanol gas. If you are traveling around, this may be a cause of reduced gas mileage.
-Tom
 

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Gasoline is a fungible product.

Gasoline is a fungible product.

The only thing that separates one oil company from another oil company is the formula and amount of “secret ingredients” detergents and such that is added to fuel at the end of the common pipe lines.

They will try to get you hook to their brand but don’t bother.

Go for the least expensive every time.

One gas is good as the next. Make sure you select the appropriate octane.

Please keep in mind around winter time some states require the oil companies to oxygenate the fuel to help with emissions. This is why you will see a decrease in mileage at times from oil Company to oil company.
 

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kevin_rf said:
We all know that you should use the lowest octane gas you can obtain (87),

I was wondering what expereinces people have had with different brands (ie. Hess, Mobil, Sunnocco, ect.)

The reason I'm asking is I've switched over to Hess gas vs. Shell and I noticed a mileage improment (~46/47 MPG to ~49/50 MPG).

My current tank is some no name gas and the the car is claiming 54 MPG for the tank :)

I was wondering what experiences others have had ...


btw. PriusOnline, welcome back :)
The big question is... How many tanks of each did you compare? And were there any major other differences, like warming up from near-freezing to the mid-50s between switching?

One of the biggest downers for mileage is 'oxygenated' gas, or gas that has a percentage of ethanol added. In some locales, it's mandated by law during the Winter, or even all year. (For example, I know someone that lives in very Northern California, and drives into Oregon to get non-oxygenated gas.) Ethanol makes the gas burn cleaner, and even gives a little more power, but at the expense of efficiency.

Someone posted either on here or PriusChat a few months ago about testing his Prius on E85 (85% Ethanol, 15% gas; the stuff GM's promoting all over TV now.) He said it had a LOT more power, but dropped to the mid 30s for mileage. (The bright side is that at that point, you could probably bottle the exhaust and sell it as 'purified air' to Los Angelenos... :p ) Oh, and it popped on the engine warning light, because the engine wasn't used to running that richly. It SHOULDN'T cause any long-term damage, though. (Dammit, I want to see a diesel Prius. At ~70 MPG on biodiesel, it would be the ultimate green machine.)

Also, in most places, Arco's gas is always oxygenated. That's why they're usually cheaper. They sell the exact same blend of gas everywhere. (On that note, my current tank of gas is Arco, and I'm getting better mileage than my previous 3 tanks. That could be due to the said warming effect, too, though.)
 

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Ever noticed that in an area there may only be 2 or 3 oil distributors, but numerous brands of gas stations? So, where do the various station brands get all of their gas if they don't have a distributor that shares their brand name?

It is pretty simple. Oil distributors can carry just about anyone’s fuel to just about any station they need to. When they fill up the tanker the driver has a manifest which instructions him which product codes to pick for the load he is delivering. He punches that code into a terminal at the filling point. That code then determines which additives are to be added to a load of fuel and in what quantities.

In the morning a tanker might haul fuel for an Arco and in the evening it will haul fuel for Shell. The source of the fuel is the same, the additives may not be. Are additives different? Sure. Are they substantially different. I'm not convinced of that. Oxygenation is the real enemy to good mpg performance, not additives.

As for the top tier gas initiative, it sure smells like marketing to me (I should know, I’m in marketing). And any time the gas companies and the car companies get in bed with each other, I’m highly skeptical. The reality is that I have been driving with Arco and Costco gas for a long time now and they do just fine. The folks I know personally that have issue with Arco, Costco and other no name gases all seem to be driving GM vehicles. Hmmmm. Very interesting.
 

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Brands of Gas -vs- mpg

I have keep mpg records for years on all my vehicles. I note the price, brand, and station. Over the long term, all seasons, all kinds of vehicles,etc. you get a more accurate picture.

I will not go into the different brands,etc. but my conclusion is this. I usually get a 10 percent increase in mpg on some brands in a large hp engine/vehicle. Example: go from 14mpg to 15.4 but I can't measure a defference in small engine/vehicles.

Because the large hp engines increase only 1.4 mpg ( still 10% ) it is easly overlooked as an increase and viewed at 'about the same'. The difference between cost of no-name and name-barnds gas is only a few pennies, So I always buy a name brand gas that gets me 10% more distance for about 2-3% more in cost.
calinkus
 

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Someone spoke of marketing but when it comes to purchasing gas, I find convenience right up there on top and will gladly pay the 3 to 5 cent differance in a gallon of gas for the convenience of Mobil/Exxons "Smart Pass". -- Just getting out of the car and waving my key in front of the pump without the necessity of digging out a wallet and fishing out a credit card is well worth the premium charged. With the Prius that might mean thirty extra cents for a tank of gas.
 

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Here, here. I use my Speed Pass all the time. Normally it's about the same price but on occasion its swung to 2¢ more than the Hess station down the road. I also abhor lines.
 

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Re: Gasoline

DanMan32 said:
He did say the fuel itself was the same, the difference was the additives. It is the additives that make a fuel TopTier grade.
I guess it depends also if you consider sulfur an "additive." Low-sulfur fuel is better for the emissions system, and usually it is that the sulfur has to be refined OUT of the gasoline, and not added to it...
 

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Re: Gasoline

mrv said:
I guess it depends also if you consider sulfur an "additive." Low-sulfur fuel is better for the emissions system, and usually it is that the sulfur has to be refined OUT of the gasoline, and not added to it...
What th' hell? Why should "Top Tier" require a *minimum* sulfur content of 48 PPM? Is this just a way of accomodating crappy base stocks already in use by some of the participating retailers? Of course their website has no way to submit questions or other feedback.
 

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Re: Gasoline

richard schumacher said:
mrv said:
I guess it depends also if you consider sulfur an "additive." Low-sulfur fuel is better for the emissions system, and usually it is that the sulfur has to be refined OUT of the gasoline, and not added to it...
What th' hell? Why should "Top Tier" require a *minimum* sulfur content of 48 PPM? Is this just a way of accomodating crappy base stocks already in use by some of the participating retailers? Of course their website has no way to submit questions or other feedback.
Sulphur extends the period between oil changes. However, the catalyitc converter has problems with suplhur. And if you've ever been behind a car with excessive sulphur content you know what I mean. Eventually excessive suphur results in suphuric acid reduction of catalytic conversion and the replacement of the catalytic converter. Personally the few cents you save per gallon is not worth the cost of a catalytic converter at $1000 a pop.
 

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It seems that the sulfur question needs some research.

Apparently if Top Tier gasoline needs at least 48 ppm then it is not possible to have a Top Tier gasoline in California, where the maximum is apparently 40 ppm?

Also, the question becomes at what point does the sulfur harm the converter. If the converter would last a million miles with no sulfur, but will "only" last 200,000 miles with a sulfur concentration of 48 ppm, then I wouldn't be too worried. It seems too that you would only find out about this after the exhaust gas was analyzed, something which is not done in many places.

What is the maximum sulfur allowed in the Top Tier gasoline is the real quesiton. Or how can a person find out how much sulfur is in the gasoline they are buying? It is probably impossible without having each sample analyzed. So even an expensive gasoline could be overloaded with sulfur, while a cheap one not have the additives but also have lower sulfur.
 
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