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Old 16 June 2007, 06:16 AM
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Driver Can discount gas crimp your ride?

Gasoline prices hit near-record levels recently, and the government says the average will stay above $3 all summer, sending motorists shopping for lower-price fuel and making them wonder if they're hurting their engines burning the cheap stuff.

And those anxieties are likely to go unresolved, because there seems no easy answer to the simple questions: What is bad gas? How can I avoid it?

http://www.usatoday.com/money/indust...gas-usat_N.htm
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  #2  
Old 16 June 2007, 10:08 AM
lazerus the duck
 
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Stop eating beans.
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Old 16 June 2007, 04:26 PM
JD65
 
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The only difference between bad gas and good gas is the additives added to some fuel blends, and the condition of the underground tanks. In other words, the gas delivered to one station is usually the same delivered to another. I used to work at a discount gas bar, and the fuel truck from Shell would deliver to us, then drive down the street to a Petro Canada station down the road.

I know of some people who have trouble running their car on Shell gas, because the detergents in the fuel cleaned the fuel system too well, and loosened deposits causing the system to be plugged.

Any branded retailer can have "good" gas or "bad gas" in different locations, ie in one city everything is fine, in another people have problems with their cars.

Bad gas is usually the result of poor storage, and in some cases old fuel, which begins to varnish over time, so if the fuel has been inactive in the tanks for months, it can go "stale." Or, it can get condensation which will mix water in with the fuel, causing rust in the tanks, or diluting the gas.

Having said that, I have had an outboard boat motor and a lawn mower which are supposed to be drained of fuel during the winter, but I've so far had no problems with the fuel remaining in the fuel tanks over the 4 or 5 month winter storage period.
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Old 16 June 2007, 04:46 PM
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DevilBunny DevilBunny is offline
 
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I believe it is traditional at this point for a UK Snopester to wander in and mutter darkly about the US not knowing it's born, with petrol prices that low.

Please, allow me.

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  #5  
Old 16 June 2007, 09:12 PM
Eclipsed
 
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I think what they are trying to say is that due to the higher prices of gas, people are buying the cheapest at the pump, and depending on what car they own, that can be a bad thing. My car will run like total crap on anything lower then 91 oct. It runs great on 94 oct. This is due to the high compression of the engine.
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Old 16 June 2007, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DevilBunny View Post
I believe it is traditional at this point for a UK Snopester to wander in and mutter darkly about the US not knowing it's born, with petrol prices that low.
True, and after that it's customary for an American snopester to bring up the point that the high point of UK's prices are primarily due to taxes for services that are not provided publicly to US residents so it's not necessarily an apples to apples comparison. We're all just going through the motions now.
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  #7  
Old 16 June 2007, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eclipsed View Post
I think what they are trying to say is that due to the higher prices of gas, people are buying the cheapest at the pump, and depending on what car they own, that can be a bad thing.
From what I got out of the article I don't think they're talking about the octane; I think they're talking about name-brand vs. discount fuels.
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Old 16 June 2007, 11:14 PM
JD65
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Class Bravo View Post
True, and after that it's customary for an American snopester to bring up the point that the high point of UK's prices are primarily due to taxes for services that are not provided publicly to US residents so it's not necessarily an apples to apples comparison. We're all just going through the motions now.
Although in Canada, most of the fuel price is taxes as well, and while we are not as much as UK, we are substantially higher than the US for the price of gas. Our tax dollars for gas don't seem to be paying for much, since anything over and above extremely basic health care costs extra, user fees for most government services are high, and, around here at least, the roads in the winter are very poorly maintained. For the extra taxes we pay, we sure don't seem to be getting much for the dollar. Give me less taxes and cheaper fuel any day.

As an aside, there are some analysts actually saying that our taxes should be higher on oil, to get us out of those evil gas sucking SUVs and gas guzzler cars. Why is it they never seem to realize that higher oil prices doesn't just mean higher gas prices? There's higher costs all around for transportation and manufacturing, and so many products are made with or from oil (plastics, lubricants, etc) that higher oil prices means everybody suffers, not just drivers with low gas mileage cars. Hell, even the tires and steel of one analyst's mountain bike I saw on TV, and the Spandex shorts he was wearing, are made from oil and petroleum products.
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Old 17 June 2007, 12:41 AM
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My stepdad won't get gas at Arco, despite his dislike of spending money, because he thinks their gas is destructive. He works in the car industry and says he's seen lots of problems from their cheap stuff. *shrug*
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  #10  
Old 17 June 2007, 01:53 AM
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I compete in rally racing with pump gas. Always have and have not had any engine problems due to gas. This includes both the turbo charged SAAB and the naturally aspirated Mustang V-8. Plus the past cars which have tended to be various SAABs. I did use race gas in the racing SAAB although I am sure pump gas would work.
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  #11  
Old 17 June 2007, 02:52 AM
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Default gas problems

There is one particular oil company that, every single time I use it from any location, causes my car to have severe predetonation (pinging) problems, even if I buy the highest octane.

Predetonation is supposed to be bad in the long term for an engine, so in that respect, it's bad.
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Old 17 June 2007, 11:56 AM
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Thebobo Thebobo is offline
 
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In the 24 years that I have been driving I have owned 7 cars. Never did I have a problem by using 'cheap' gas. I have primarily used low octain and the few times I used a higher one I can't seem to see a difference.
For the record the vehicles I owned were: '68 Chevy Nova,'82 AMC Spirit,'87 Subaru,'93 Plymouth Sundance,'95 Dodge Stratus,'03 Hyundai Elantra and presently a '01 Jeep Cherokee. People will say a high end car needs higher octain. None of my cars have been fancy or real sporty so I can't say. I do know with all those diffrent brands of vehicles I have had none performed better or worse by the grade of gas I used.
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  #13  
Old 17 June 2007, 01:08 PM
Zachary Fizz Zachary Fizz is offline
 
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I think BMW and Jaguar had problems with nikasil-lined cylinder bores being worn out by fuel with high sulphur content a few years back; IIRC supermarket petrol was the main problem, and petrol from companies like Shell and BP which contained detergent were fine. A friend has had problems with the injectors in his BMW getting clogged by poor quality petrol, too.

I ran a Saab for a few years in the UK, and found it gave significantly better milieage when running on super rather than regular. But that was the octane rating rather than the presence of detergents or impurities. In case anyone is interested, it was the V6 3.0 LPT power unit (which was apparently sourced from Cadillac, and Saab added the turbo).
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  #14  
Old 17 June 2007, 06:29 PM
JD65
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zachary Fizz View Post
I think BMW and Jaguar had problems with nikasil-lined cylinder bores being worn out by fuel with high sulphur content a few years back; IIRC supermarket petrol was the main problem, and petrol from companies like Shell and BP which contained detergent were fine. A friend has had problems with the injectors in his BMW getting clogged by poor quality petrol, too.

I ran a Saab for a few years in the UK, and found it gave significantly better milieage when running on super rather than regular. But that was the octane rating rather than the presence of detergents or impurities. In case anyone is interested, it was the V6 3.0 LPT power unit (which was apparently sourced from Cadillac, and Saab added the turbo).
Most times in Canada, gas prices in a city or town will be the same price no matter where you go. (And they say there's no price fixing or collusion). So, what I've been doing here is filling up my BMW at a gas station just across the border, where I save anywhere from 10 to 24 cents per liter, depending on the exchange rate. At 90 liters a tank, it makes a big difference. The gas station there is a small convenience store type, with no-name gas, supplied by some oil company I have not heard of. So far no problems with fuel, it burns the same as the gas on the Canadian side, and most of the people in the town I live in fuel up there. The gas stations here get mostly tourists, and people not allowed to cross the border filling up locally.
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  #15  
Old 18 June 2007, 06:24 AM
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Comment: Actually it's not new to me but I have heard that putting
mothballs in your gas will turn it into an inexpensive alternative to
premium fuel by raising the octane level without harming the engine.
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  #16  
Old 18 June 2007, 06:39 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Actually it's not new to me but I have heard that putting
mothballs in your gas will turn it into an inexpensive alternative to
premium fuel by raising the octane level without harming the engine.
A higher octane level is just to prevent premature ignition (knocking). If the engine is not specifically built with a higher compression for a higher octane fuel, nothing will be gained by using higher octane fuel. As long as there is no knocking, your engine is already as efficient (fuel wise) as it will ever be.
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  #17  
Old 18 June 2007, 06:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
A higher octane level is just to prevent premature ignition (knocking). If the engine is not specifically built with a higher compression for a higher octane fuel, nothing will be gained by using higher octane fuel. As long as there is no knocking, your engine is already as efficient (fuel wise) as it will ever be.
That's not the point. The idea is that if your car does take premium fuel, you can save money by simply buying cheaper, lower octane fuel and dropping a few mothballs in it.

- snopes
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  #18  
Old 18 June 2007, 07:51 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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Quote:
That's not the point. The idea is that if your car does take premium fuel, you can save money by simply buying cheaper, lower octane fuel and dropping a few mothballs in it.
If you are willing to risk shortening the life of the engine, you can just let it knock a little. Besides, all cars made the last decade or two run on unleaded 95 octane anyway.
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  #19  
Old 18 June 2007, 08:45 AM
JD65
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: Actually it's not new to me but I have heard that putting
mothballs in your gas will turn it into an inexpensive alternative to
premium fuel by raising the octane level without harming the engine.
IIRC, Mythbusters did a program on this and found it did not work. It was either that, or the cost of adding mothballs was more costly than buying premium. For the vast majority of cars, however, premium is not necessary, and is just an added expense. I have driven turbo cars on regular gas with no problems, no detonation, and no undue wear on the cylinders from pre-ignition. I'm sure there will be some who disagree.
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  #20  
Old 18 June 2007, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD65 View Post
...I have driven turbo cars on regular gas with no problems, no detonation, and no undue wear on the cylinders from pre-ignition. I'm sure there will be some who disagree.
I don't disagree with your specific statements about your cars, but I can say definitetively that I have owned two cars (both were modified high performance Corvettes) that would almost not run on lower octane gas from any place I ever bought it. By "almost not run" I mean that the engine would sputter and choke, however if I used higher octane gas, they would run just fine.

But, a caveat: as I stated, both of those had modified engines.

My current Corvette, a stock 98 model, pings considerably with lower octane gas, but doesn't with higher octane, and the owner's manual states specifically that it will do that, stating that it is ok to use lower octane gas, but that it will cause predetonation.
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