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2 questions: Should I use Top-Tier Gas? Does Techron actually work?

I have been using the local Hess gas station more and more these days, but it has come to my attention that Hess is not ‘Top Tier’ gas. The Mobil station a little further away is Top Tier, however.

Also, in your professional experience, does Techron actually work? Should I dump a bottle of it in my car every now and then? The car has no problems.

Yes, Techron is a very good product. I use it once or twice a year, in order to prevent problems.

Should you use Top Tier gas?
What does the Owner’s Manual for your car have to say on this topic?
Some mfrs (GM, Toyota, BMW, VW) specifically recommend Top Tier gas because of its higher detergent formulation. Even if your car’s mfr does not specify it, certainly it couldn’t hurt to use Top Tier gas–as long as it doesn’t cost too much more than other gas in your area.

I used to use Shell gas exclusively, simply because the Shell station was cheaper than others in the area, as well as selling Top Tier gas. When that station began charging a lot more per gallon for the use of a credit card, I switched to Hess, simply because it is much cheaper–and I have not experienced any problems with Hess.

But…maybe my occasional use of Techron is preventing problems. Quien sabe?

When I am near a Costco gas station, I fill up there, because they are usually about 12 cents per gallon cheaper than anyone else in the area. And, although Costco is not “certified” as a Top Tier gas brand, they do use 5 times the federally-mandated level of detergents in their gas. My guess is that Costco doesn’t want to pay for the testing necessary for it to gain Top Tier certification, even if they are probably meeting those standards.

I use top tier, but mostly because it’s closest to me, and no more expensive. Is the Hess much cheaper than the Mobil? If it is, I’d use it, and toss in a bottle of Techron once a year (yes, it is a good fuel system cleaner). If the price is about the same, I’d get the Mobil when convenient.

Techron is a great product.
I recently put about a tablespoon in the gas tank of my chainsaw, which was idling OK but bogging down under load.
It immediately started running like new.
I put it in my car once a year to make up for buying the cheapest gas I can find.
I stopped for a couple of years and noticed the idle getting a little “lumpy”.
Put a bottle of Techron in and all was well after a few miles.

Top tier may or may not be needed. I’ve never used it. I guess some cars might like it. Last I checked Mobil was NOT a top tier gas. I guess this changed. Last time I checked I didn’t have a top-tier gas station within 20 miles of my house.

I LOVE Hess. Been using them exclusively for years. Close to my house…Cheap…I have a Hess Visa which I only use to purchase Hess gas. I pay it off at the end of each month…and get 3% back each month for my Hess gas purchases.

Here’s my opinion. If you don’t use Top Tier gas, you’re unlikely to have a detergent-related engine problem. If you do use Top Tier gas, you’re even less likely to have a detergent-related engine problem. If it’s available at the same price, then you might as well use it. If not, then I wouldn’t lose sleep over it. Keep in mind that many of us don’t have it available where we live.

Not all engines are the same. The latest development is GDI (gasoline direct injection). Many car manufacturers are building them nowadays.

Manufacturers are not actively promoting this advance, believing that most new car buyers have no interest in any of this technical stuff. Instead, they actively tout their recent improvements in mpg. They simply give marketable names to their advanced engines. Mazda calls them SkyActiv, Ford uses Eco-Tec or something, and Hyundai uses the unimaginative name GDI.

GDI is a marvelous breakthrough in engine design, but it suffers the drawback of a greater tendency to leave deposits on the fuel injectors. That’s where Top Tier gasoline comes in.

Skipping to the bottom line – if your new car has a GDI engine, the owner’s manual will strongly recommend using only Top Tier gasoline, and to add an occasional fuel additive such as Techron if you don’t. These methods are necessary to reduce or prevent coking.

If you do not own a car with a GDI engine, there is no need to prefer Top Tier gasoline; nor to use regular Techron treatments. Of course, it can’t hurt to do so.

Around here in Minnesota, Kwik Trip is a top tier. Its about the same cost as Mobil. I don’t believe Mobil is yet but I usually buy at Mobil because its a small operation, I like the owners, and they saw me through the bad gas shortage days when I needed gas every other day. I think Holiday is supposed to be a top tier too but I have a hard time using it going back to the 60’s when it had a lot of water in it. Right or wrong, I avoid BP alltogether because I have heard of problems from them. Some are going to say it all comes from the same refinery but I think its more important to shop where there is a high turn-over than anything else.

Top Tier gas should be used whenever possible or at least a fuel system cleaner. Or you can end up with intake valves that look like this.

I’ve taken engines apart where the valves looked a lot worse. And the owners used cheap gas from stations like SuperAmerica or Holiday.


Holiday is on the tier one list but still shy away due to issues in the 60’s. Maybe it was Ericksons with the bad gas. Two brothers-one went Erickson and one went Holiday back in the day. I was impressed that the guy’s garage was sheetrocked anyway-had never seen that before. Don’t know which one it was now or maybe both of them squeezed the nickel a little too hard.

I wonder when SuperAmerica is going to wise up?


Their muffins are much better though IMHO.

I use Top Tier gas if I just happen to need gasoline and the station is right there. Otherwise, I just use whatever and have never had a problem with any of it.

What might be added is that those deposits on the heads of intake valves are generally due to oil getting past valve guides and seals.
Valve heads will cake up like that even with oil consumption that is barely noticeable if at all.

I checked the top tier list- none in my area. I also checked for ethanol free- only marinas and airfields.

I almost always use top tier gas. But Shell has a deal with a local grocery chain and I get 5 cents to 20 cents off on a gallon of gas. Sometimes more. I’ve paid less than $3.10 per gallon recently after the price reduction. But cheap guy me would buy something cheap if I didn’t happen to have inexpensive Shell nearby.

I used top tier gasoline from a break time station all the time til they had thier pumps out of order for maintenance for a couple of weeks so i started using the phillips 66 down the road which is not top tier. I picked up almost 2 mpg so i havent been back to the break time staion. I was looking at thier sign above the pump the other day in fact and they claim to have more detergent additives than top tier gasoline. Conoco and phillips one in the same as far as i know. Those 2 mpg are pretty important to me since i fill up every three days just driving to work and back.

Some folks have been able to fix fuel guage problems by adding Techron to the tank. It cleans the electrical contacts on the fuel level sensor. Just another good thing about it. If you use Chevrons fuel I think it already has some Techron formula added to it and you don’t need to add an extra bottle of it. I used to use their fuel all the time until things changed with the service station I was using.

Phillips 66, Conoco, and Mobil are all top tier.
See is very helpful for finding stations and prices.

For what’s it worth auto zone has 2 for one on 20oz of techron. Save $12+ on two.

As a normal rule I use whatever is cheapest, I’ll use an additive occasionally, but not very often. Usually when I do use additives it’s because the car has been sitting long term with the same gas in the tank. I use additives more frequently in my '97 Ford with only 32K miles than I do in my '88 with 518K miles on it. I’ve never experienced any type fuel system problems in 36 years and about 1M miles. I also don’t change fuel filters as the manufacturer recommends. The '88 has had the fuel filter changed 1 time since new, the only reason I did then was because the car was running poorly and I wanted to eliminate it as a possible cause. The filter WAS NOT the problem, if I remember correctly I had a bad plug wire.