AAA Urges Drivers to Pay Extra for Top Tier Gas

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Gas pump hose in a car
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AAA is urging drivers to switch to a type of gas that costs an extra 3 cents per gallon on average — Top Tier detergent gasoline.

This announcement follows the nonprofit having various brands of Top Tier and non-Top Tier gas tested by an independent engine testing lab.

After 4,000 miles of simulated driving, the non-Top Tier brands caused 19 times more engine deposits than Top Tier brands, which contain more detergent additives than is required by the federal government’s standards.

According to AAA, those carbon deposits can:

  • Reduce fuel economy
  • Increase emissions
  • Negatively impact vehicle performance, especially for newer vehicles

John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair, explains:

“AAA was surprised to learn the extent to which detergent additives impact gasoline quality. As advertised, tested Top Tier gasolines kept engines remarkably cleaner than other fuels we tested.”

Few drivers — 12 percent — select a gas station based on whether it offers Top Tier gas, however. AAA reports that drivers more commonly select a gas station based on location, price or rewards programs.

Top Tier gas is not the same as premium gas, which has a higher octane rating.

Top Tier is a standard developed in 2004 by eight top car manufacturers that believe the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s current minimum detergent requirements for all gas sold in the U.S. “do not go far enough to ensure optimal engine performance,” according to the Top Tier website:

Top Tier Detergent Gasoline help drivers avoid lower quality gasoline which can leave deposits on critical engine parts, which reduces engine performance. That’s something both drivers and automakers want to avoid.

You can find a list of Top Tier providers here.

Do you use Top Tier gas, or would you start using it after hearing this news from AAA? Let us know why below or over on our Facebook page.

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