It’s something you need to decide every time before you go to the pump to fill up your car – will you use generic or branded gas?
Generic gas is almost always the cheaper option, and this leaves many drivers wondering if the lower cost comes at the expense of quality. Here’s what you need to know before you make your next trip to the gas station.
What Is Generic and Branded Gas?
If this talk about generic and branded gas has you a bit confused, here’s what makes the two different.
Generic gas is available at off-brand gas stations. Branded gas is available at the name-brand locations, which include:
There are obviously many more name-brand stations, and those are just a few of them.
Is There a Difference in the Quality of the Gas?
Now it’s time for the million-dollar question. And fortunately, this is one area where the experts tend to be in agreement.
From tests that have been conducted with generic and branded gas, results were very similar. It’s important to note that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has requirements for all gas, including the amount of detergent they have. The detergent is what keeps your car engine clean.
You obviously want to keep your engine clean, otherwise your car could break down and you’d be stuck with an expensive repair. Car problems are one of the most common reasons people end up with credit card debt or looking for title loans in Houston because they need to cover their repair costs.
It is true that gas stations can add their own unique detergent blends to raw fuel. This means that branded gas could have more detergents or a better blend than generic gas. However, it’s difficult to compare detergent blends, because every station keeps their formula a secret.
Even though branded gas can have more detergents, generic gas will always meet the minimum EPA requirements, and those are sufficient to keep your car running properly.
What About Premium Gas?
Another common question regarding gas is what grade they should choose. Stations categorize gas by its octane rating, with 87 being regular, 89 being mid-grade and 92 being premium.
Your best bet is to go with what the owner’s manual in your car recommends here. If the owner’s manual recommends using premium gas, then get premium gas. If it doesn’t specify or it says you’re fine using regular gas, then you can choose regular gas without worrying.
Why Do Drivers Choose Branded Gas?
So, if generic gas is just as good as branded gas, why would any driver choose the more expensive option? There are a few common reasons:Brand Loyalty – Just like with any other product, customers can get attached to one brand that they think works well for their vehicle.
- Convenience – That name-brand station may simply be closer than the off-brand station.
- Payment Options – Some off-brand stations only allow cash and don’t let you pay with a credit card.
If you have an off-brand station in your neighborhood, don’t be afraid of giving generic gas a try to save some money. The research shows that you won’t be doing any harm to your vehicle by getting the cheaper gas.