BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
136 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Out of all the different brands of gasoline we have in CA, which would you rate being the top to bottom for overall quality and engine performance.

Here's how mine goes (1 being the best)

1: Unocal 76
2: Exxon
3: Mobil
4: Chevron
5: Valero
6: Shell
7: Arco

I've noticed that for power 76's 91 octane gives me the best performance, but I get the best mileage from Chevron. Shell and Arco, by far suck in terms of power. But Shell gas does give decent mileage. Anyone else done any formal or informal testing of their own?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
This seems to be a "can of worms" subject that comes up from time to time. Do some searching and you will find a lot of posts on the subject.

Many people (conveniently) reply that it makes no difference, gas is gas, etc etc. Sometimes they even "know" a gas delivery driver who takes the same load of gas to different stations.

However, I disagree and in many cases these people are proven wrong. Your observations of differing performance when running different gas even supports that.

Bottom line is every fuel brand has different additives and the "major" brands do refine their own gas with different methods and tolerances.

I use Chevron 99% of the time. I have not tested the other brands for comparison in my M5. Years ago I owned a GM V6 that was very picky about the fuel I used, and I did monitor the performance variations with different fuel brands. Chevron and 76 would consisently yield good results. Arco and Shell would cause rough idle when cold and poor performance. I think the additives were what that car was picky about.

Again, do some searches on the subject because there is a lot out there.

Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
184 Posts
I use Chevron most of the time as well, but it's hard to say with any real degree of certainty that it actually peforms better than 76, Exxon, etc. Sometimes I think I notice a difference, but there are so many variables at play (ambient conditions, oil/fluid levels, etc.) that the difference could just as easily be attributed to something else. I do think it runs a bit rougher on the budget gases (Costco, Arco, etc.) though, so I avoid those unless I'm running on fumes and don't have any other choice.

Haven't tried the 100 octane fuel yet, although I may try a 50/50 mix once the weather cools off a bit just for the hell of it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,398 Posts
The good news about 91 octane being $3.099 a gallon?

It makes the Race Gas 100 at $4.29 seem like a bargain....

:(

A
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
ard said:
The good news about 91 octane being $3.099 a gallon?

It makes the Race Gas 100 at $4.29 seem like a bargain....

:(

A
You are so right and since at 100 octane, it uses less oil, so its price should fluctuate less with rising barrel costs right? NOT!!! hiha

Wonder what would happen once Chevron buys Unocal and in an imaginary world, what would happen if CNOOC bought Unocal. Either way, gas prices will only go up, not down. grrrrrrr :sad2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,305 Posts
How do you know that without dynoing? I've used just about everybrand listed below and honestly i can't tell the difference. I usually use Shell, because with the Shell Credit card I get 5% off.

As regards to 100 Octane selling for 4.29, let me know where, my local 76 that sells it, has it for 5.99


///M5_Madman said:
Out of all the different brands of gasoline we have in CA, which would you rate being the top to bottom for overall quality and engine performance.

Here's how mine goes (1 being the best)

1: Unocal 76
2: Exxon
3: Mobil
4: Chevron
5: Valero
6: Shell
7: Arco

I've noticed that for power 76's 91 octane gives me the best performance, but I get the best mileage from Chevron. Shell and Arco, by far suck in terms of power. But Shell gas does give decent mileage. Anyone else done any formal or informal testing of their own?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,305 Posts
What? In CA just about every fuel comes from the same refining company...yes, the additive packages are different..but that has more to do with detergents. CA fuel is really crappy these days, with the 10% ethanol in it.


pkarmouche said:
This seems to be a "can of worms" subject that comes up from time to time. Do some searching and you will find a lot of posts on the subject.

Many people (conveniently) reply that it makes no difference, gas is gas, etc etc. Sometimes they even "know" a gas delivery driver who takes the same load of gas to different stations.

However, I disagree and in many cases these people are proven wrong. Your observations of differing performance when running different gas even supports that.

Bottom line is every fuel brand has different additives and the "major" brands do refine their own gas with different methods and tolerances.

I use Chevron 99% of the time. I have not tested the other brands for comparison in my M5. Years ago I owned a GM V6 that was very picky about the fuel I used, and I did monitor the performance variations with different fuel brands. Chevron and 76 would consisently yield good results. Arco and Shell would cause rough idle when cold and poor performance. I think the additives were what that car was picky about.

Again, do some searches on the subject because there is a lot out there.

Paul
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
445 Posts
Agreed.. and in NorCal, most if not all comes from the Tosco.



KirklandM5 said:
What? In CA just about every fuel comes from the same refining company...yes, the additive packages are different..but that has more to do with detergents. CA fuel is really crappy these days, with the 10% ethanol in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
251 Posts
KirklandM5 said:
What? In CA just about every fuel comes from the same refining company...yes, the additive packages are different..but that has more to do with detergents. CA fuel is really crappy these days, with the 10% ethanol in it.
Boy oh boy. I really don't want to argue about this, these "which gas is better" threads tend to get very argumentative. I'm certainly no expert and in no position to argue, but I've been convinced over and over that there are inherent differences.

About your comment of the same refining company, I don't have time to search for it, but somewhere there was a recent article about the number of refineries and their differences. As far as I know there are several refineries right here in the Bay Area near where I live, a Chevron, Shell and a Conoco Philips to name a few I've seen.

Nevermind, a quick google search turns this up this list:

======

California Oil Refinery Locations and Capacities
Classification of refiners based on crude oil capacity (barrels per day)

<TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=3 width=600 border=1><TBODY><TR vAlign=top bgColor=#003399><TD align=left>Refinery Name</TD><TD align=middle>Barrels
Per Day </TD><TD align=middle>CARB Diesel</TD><TD align=middle>CARB Gasoline</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>BP West Coast Products LLC, Carson Refinery</TD><TD align=right>260,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Chevron U.S.A. Inc., El Segundo Refinery</TD><TD align=right>260,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Chevron U.S.A. Inc., Richmond Refinery</TD><TD align=right>242,901 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Tesoro Refining & Marketing Company, Golden Eagle (Avon/Rodeo) Refinery</TD><TD align=right>166,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Shell Oil Products US, Martinez Refinery</TD><TD align=right>154,900 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>ExxonMobil Refining & Supply Company, Torrance Refinery</TD><TD align=right>149,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Valero Benicia Refinery</TD><TD align=right>144,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>ConocoPhillips, Wilmington Refinery</TD><TD align=right>133,100 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Shell Oil Products US, Wilmington Refinery</TD><TD align=right>98,500 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Valero (Ultramar) Wilmington Refinery</TD><TD align=right>76,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>ConocoPhillips, Rodeo San Francisco Refinery</TD><TD align=right>73,200 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Big West of California LLC, Bakersfield Refinery</TD><TD align=right>66,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Paramount Petroleum Corporation, Paramount Refinery</TD><TD align=right>50,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>ConocoPhillips, Santa Maria Refinery</TD><TD align=right>41,800 </TD><TD align=middle>No</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Edgington Oil Company, Long Beach Refinery</TD><TD align=right>26,000 </TD><TD align=middle>No</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Kern Oil & Refining Company, Bakersfield Refinery</TD><TD align=right>25,000 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>San Joaquin Refining Company Inc., Bakersfield Refinery</TD><TD align=right>24,300 </TD><TD align=middle>Yes</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Greka Energy, Santa Maria Refinery</TD><TD align=right>9,500 </TD><TD align=middle>No</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Lunday Thagard, South Gate Refinery</TD><TD align=right>8,500 </TD><TD align=middle>No</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Valero Wilmington Asphalt Refinery</TD><TD align=right>5,900 </TD><TD align=middle>No</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD>Tenby Inc., Oxnard Refinery</TD><TD align=right>2,800 </TD><TD align=middle>No</TD><TD align=middle>No</TD></TR><TR vAlign=top><TD colSpan=4>Note: Data on this table represents total crude oil capacity not gasoline, distillate production, diesel fuel production or production of other products. Production potential varies depending on time of year and status of the refinery. A rule of thumb is that roughly 55 percent of total capacity is gasoline production (about 1.1 - 1.2 million barrels of gasoline - 46 to 50 million gallons - is produced per day).

Source: California Energy Commission Fuels Office Staff.

</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
I'm convinced there are meaningful differences between gasolines, even if only in the additive packages. I saw the results of a burn test of pump gasolines done by Boeing and there were marked differences in the type (wet or dry) and amount of deposits (after-burn residue). Also, I discovered by accident in California through two different tankfuls a month apart, that my car runs like crap on Arco. Low price has its cost...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,226 Posts
Never use ARCO. I tried a few times when I lived in Irvine and I never got the mileage that I did with Chevron.

Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
50 Posts
You're right this can be a very arguemenitive subject, but I think you're mostly talking about performance, right?

Well, for me I ONLY run Chevron with the additive Techron, why, well I was in my ind. mechanics shop, he showed me two 540 engines that were torn apart (both 4.0 V8's from '95 E34's) and he told me that one engine was ran on Shell and one was ran on Chevron. (according to the owners)
The Chevron motor had squeaky clean valves and related parts and the Shell engine, let's just say it wasn't pretty.
Could that be JUST because of the fuel, who knows, but I think so. (sorry, I didn't ask why they were tore apart)
The Chevron engine had 135k on it and the shell car had 127k, mine has 151k on it and she runs like a bat at of hell! :D

I also run 76 when there's know Chevron handy, but I've been told that 76 refines there fuel differently in California in the winter and I CAN tell for a fact that must be true for my pickup, it pings like crazy in the winter and is just fine during other seasons, go figure!

These are just things that I've found out for myself, but one thing for sure, gas here in California is not only more expensive (sucks since we have all these refineries) but we only have 91 octane, it would be nice to have 93! :sad2:


Keith
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
MAH said:
Never use ARCO. I tried a few times when I lived in Irvine and I never got the mileage that I did with Chevron.
Yeah, I reset "Fuel Mileage 2" with each tankful and recorded the lowest mpg ever in California with both ARCO tankfuls. I remember thinking at the time it must have had something to do with alcohol % content being higher in ARCO. Otherwise, how to explain?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,078 Posts
My car runs like sh*t on Mobil. I also noticed I get worse MPG's on Mobil.

I prefer Shell or Sunoco. Overall better MPG's and better performance:flag:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,695 Posts
ard said:
The good news about 91 octane being $3.099 a gallon?

It makes the Race Gas 100 at $4.29 seem like a bargain....

:(

A

In Agoura Hills, in LA County you can get 100 octane gas at the 76 station for $4.59 a gallon.

It used to be a guilty pleasure, now It's just a pleasure!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,564 Posts
If you look at the way gasoline is delivered throughout the nation, you will see that all of the fuel is routed through the same pipes. Chevron and Shell both put X amount into the pipes, and then take X amount out where ever they need to. In between their loads of fuel is mixed fuel, but that gets used too by the stations. In the end, the fuel that goes into the system can be taken out by just about anyone, as long as they have put the correct amount back in. That means that the basic fuel you get from most stations is the same as any other station.
The difference as it has been stated before in this thread is the additives. The additives are not added before the fuel is transfered, rather it is added after th fuel is removed from the transport pipes and before it is put into the trucks for delivery. Additives in fuel can make a difference in how the car runs, so picking the correct additives makes a huge difference. Non corporate gas stations might not be able to add anything to make the fuel run better, so their gas appears "cheaper."
In the end, I get the best power and economy when running Chevron fuel.
:cheers:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,472 Posts
From everything I've read, it all comes down to additives and the station you fill up at.
First, each uses it's own additives. Smaller chains, like Wawa (East Coast) and Valero might not use a lot of additives vs. Chevron etc. I've always been told Chevron (Tecron) and Amaco were at the top. My neighbor works at a rail terminal and say those two have the highest standards and most return rate on the products they use. They turns rail car shipments away if not to their standards. The others are less stringent. I've always run Sunoco. I'm in Delaware and thre are no Chevrons. Techron is now being used at Texaco's so I split between Texaco and Sunoco. Don't like Shell...makes the car smell like sulfuer real bad.
Also, the station you fill up at is important. Old steel tanks rust and are obvioulsy older therefore there is more sediment build up. Newer fiberglass tanks dont have the rust problem. Downstream, the pumps have filters and if they're not replaced often enough, you'll get more crap in the gas. It's also said no to full up after a delivery of gas since it stirs up the sediment in the tank. It needs to settle. That's tough unless the truck is there for you to see.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top