Do you top tier?
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Sept. 7, 2012
Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco released results of a nationwide survey they conjured up that evaluated millennials' gas purchasing habits and decisions. The survey, taken by 1,018 American men and women age 21-30 who drive and are primary purchasers of gasoline, reveals that nearly half (49 percent) regularly fuel up with unbranded gasoline.
While there is some carbon build up when using the basic detergent gasoline’s, the majors always want to add a few $’s to their pockets by claiming a difference exists. At this year’s Chicago Auto Show this past February, Shell had a display of two vehicles run 30K miles, one fueled on their Shell fuel and one on another non-disclosed fuel with the non-disclosed fuel showing more deposits stuck to the valves backsides.
Of course the display tenders were saying there was a difference in FE but I was skeptical given detergent additive packages are sometimes added at the blender like ethanol and sometimes not. And we all know a given refinery in a central location supplies all the fuel for a local or regions needs.
What I did not ask is if switching gasoline’s like most of us do deepening on our travel itinerary or simply price shopping is would a top-tier gasoline clean deposits on once every 5 or 10 fillips?
In any case, Conoco Phillips states engine deposit build-up over time “can
” inhibit gas mileage and engine performance.
While 84 percent of respondents say they are more likely to care about their car's engine performance than its appearance, one in four (25 percent) millennial drivers admits they are not putting the best gas into their cars for long-term auto health. What's driving these contradictory gas decisions for today's millennial drivers?
The survey findings showed that for more than half (54 percent) of those polled, cost is the most important factor when selecting which gas to use. 55 percent of respondents think the type of gas they use does matter for performance, but only 42 percent are likely to take the brand at the pump into consideration before purchasing. And while nearly half of respondents (41 percent) think additives signify quality gas, only three percent think this feature is key when selecting their gas.
What the survey did not point out was the percentage performance loss from one gasoline to another which of course would be minimal even if there was more build up from one brand to the next because anyone driving their car at WOT to test this out would be 1. Dead, 2. In the hospital or 3. Have lost their license long ago.
And the industry spin?
Tami Walker, Manager, U.S. Fuels Brand Management for Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco:
"What this survey tells us is that millennial drivers care about their cars, but they're quick to use the gas that they think will save money in the short-term, without considering the performance impacts the resulting engine build-up may be causing long-term. We know that TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline’s, like our fuels, which offer more detergent additives than legally required, improve car performance almost immediately. We're committed to demonstrating to young drivers the value and benefits from Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco branded gas, and consistently offering high quality fuels that provide cleaner intake valves and fuel injectors within the first five fill-ups."
Of course nothing was mentioned about the fuel saving benefits of non-ethanol laced fuels and those mostly come from unbranded stations.
According to the survey, 98 percent of millennial drivers who use what Conoco calls “inferior gas
” would upgrade, with 45 percent willing to switch if superior or branded gas increased gas mileage and 35 percent willing to make the change if they believed there was a difference in the quality of the gas.
And here is a bought and paid for endorsement of said fuel:
Jessi Lang, host of Motor Trend's "Wide Open Throttle" and Phillips 66 spokesperson:
"Millennials think they're saving money by seeking out cheaper gas, but what they don't realize is that the unbranded gasoline they're buying actually can cost them money in the long run by compromising their fuel economy and causing build-up in their engine. By using branded TOP TIER gas like Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco, these drivers can clean up their engines and accrue significant savings over time -- especially now that these brands have had the detergent additive treat rate increased by more than 25 percent in all fuel grades."
This survey was conducted by Kelton between July 19-25, 2012, among 1,018 American men and women age 21-30 who drive and are primary gasoline purchasers, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation.
In any case, detergent minimums have declined over the years and if you are looking for top-teir, here is a list of US and Canadian retailers that sell it. Unfortunately most will be fuel robbing ethanol laced gasoline but that is an entirely different discussion that Mr. Jessi Lang would probably not know or care anything about?
TOP TIER Gasoline Retailers
Hawaii Fueling Network (HFN)
Holiday Stationstores, Inc.
Kwik Trip / Kwik Star
MFA Oil Co.
Tri-Par Oil Co.
If you can find non-ethanol laced fuel at any of the above, definitely go for it. If you can find inexpensive gasoline at the Top-Tier station as the non-branded stations near you, go for it. If you cannot, it is $’s out of your wallet as soon as you swipe your credit card.