AAA likes Top Tier

They sponsored a study, found that Top Tier made major reduction in deposits. Here are their conclusions:

"1. The test engine operated on a TOP TIER gasoline averaged 19 times fewer intake valve deposits than when it was operated on non- TOP TIER gasoline. (based on the ASTM D6201 test - TOP TIER gasoline averaged 34.1mg of deposits per intake valve versus non- TOP TIER average of 660.6mg)

  1. Based upon secondary research findings, long-term use of a gasoline without an enhanced additive package can lead to reductions in fuel economy of 2-4%, drivability issues, and increased emissions.

  2. In most cases, carbon deposits can be reduced or removed from critical engine components1 by switching to a gasoline that meets TOP TIER standards.

  3. Approximately six in ten drivers (63%) believe there is a difference in the quality of gasoline sold by retailers, yet only (12%) of drivers purchase gasoline based upon its detergent additive package. The primary motivation for choosing a particular gas station is location / convenience (75%), followed closely by the price of the fuel (73%).

  4. Most TOP TIER gasolines do not cost significantly more than non-TOP TIER gasoline. The average price difference between the TOP TIER and non-TOP TIER brands surveyed was three cents per gallon over a 12-month period."

Does this include direct injection engines? What engines did they test?

Never had any issues EVER running on non-top-tier gas. I might use it if there was conveniently close to me…but there aren’t.

“Never had any issues EVER running on non-top-tier gas. I might use it if there was conveniently close to me…but there aren’t.”

Same here. I use Kroger gas and have for over 10 years. I doubt that their gas supplier is “top tier.”

I use Top Tier gas because it is conveniently located nearby. Both Shell and EXXON gas is sold nearby and their prices have to compete with 7-11 which actually gets its gas from EXXON.

Costco gas is also rated as Top Tier; they cannot afford to carry anything second grade; it’s a Costco policy.

AFAIK . . . Costco gasoline wasn’t always top tier

to clarify . . . Top tier “technology” has been around several years, and Costco gas wasn’t top tier from the first day that technology was marketed

@db4690 Costco here only got gas pumps 1 1/2 years ago, although we have been members since 1986.

I have been using BJ’s gas when convenient. But I have had some problems lately with car doing a bit of “stumbling” when the gas tank was close to empty. Filled up with Shell and that immediately cured it, and my MPG went up a lot.

But that may have been due to a bad tank full from somewhere else, I don’t keep records on where I fill up.

Edit: actually the info is available via my credit card. The last two fills before the Shell were at BJs.

Edit2: but if there is a problem only when the tank is close to empty, doesn’t that indicate something in the bottom of the tank, such as water? Will see what happens when the tank of Shell gets below 1/4.

BJ = BJ Wholesale Club.

The costco nearest me actually increased the number of filling terminals. It slightly decreased the number of parking spots, and made manuevering through the parking lot a little more complicated, but clearly somebody felt it was worth it

I’m happy to report I filled up at Costco the first time a few weekends ago. I was driving around, doing my usual chores on Saturday morning. I arrived at Costco a few minutes before they opened, so I decided to give it a shot. It was fairly convenient, although I did have to wait for 1 car, before I could pull up.

They said the reels are long enough, that you can pull up on either side, and it’s long enough to fill on either side of the vehicle. But I wasn’t willing to try that, because I’ve seem some guys scratch their vehicles doing that

Clearly, I used my Costco card, because cash is not an option. There’s no logical reason for me to feel so, but I feel a skimmer is more likely at an arco station in a seedy and perhaps isolated location, versus a costco on a major street. Plus, there always seems to be an employee walking around. And that is rarely the case at other gas stations, which would theoretically make it much easier to install a skimmer

have any of you guys had a card skimmed at costco? I’ve heard of people having cards skimmed at various other stations

"Top tier "technology" has been around several years, and Costco gas wasn't top tier from the first day that technology was marketed."

It’s true that it wasn’t always labeled as such, but for as long as I can recall, they have advertised that their gas “contains 5 times the amount of detergents required by The EPA”. As I understand it, they didn’t want to have to pay for the Top Tier certification, and because they didn’t bite the bullet on that expense until fairly recently, it was only in the last couple of years that they were able to display the Top Tier logo.

From the Top Tier website a list of retailers;

I am surprised that Sunoco is not on the list. Costco is, Sam’s Club is not. No surprise there.

Here’s a download link to AAA’s Fuel Quality report PDF.

AAA Fuel Quality Report

The ASTM test they did uses a Ford 2.3L port injection engine. Direct injection is mentioned briefly in the report

I’m kind of surprised that Valero and Arco are top-tier, because those 2 gas stations very often seem to be in very bad areas, where I suspect the drivers are buying on price, not quality

Seems that using a rewards card to get gas at costco should be a win-win situation

At first I wasn’t sure exactly which Ford 2.3 liter engine they were talking about. I initially thought they might mean the all-aluminum dohc engine, which was in the last generation of Rangers. But then I saw the pictures of the combustion chamber, and it was clear it was the much older design, the one that was in the Ranger, Tempo, etc. from the 1980s and 1990s. The dead giveaway for me was the 2 plugs per cylinder :wink:

I wonder if Top Tier providers have made any financial contributions to AAA…


Are you suggesting the data may be falsified?

Docnick: I alternate between Shell or Chevron depending on which way I’m going. I also tend to run off the top half of my tank.

@db4690, I’m just saying that I’m skeptical of everything until the books are opened up.

AAA endorses a fast lube facility in a neighboring city where my youngest boy lives. They’re an AAA approved repair facility.
They have a reputation for (as my son even found out) for not changing filters customers were charged for or for fluid flushes that were never done.

Same goes for a “very reputable” shop in my area. Every car that comes through the door they push a total BG flush on it; even if the car only has 15k miles on it.

Point being that if AAA is handed some money they may well say anything.

The same happened with J.D. Power some years back when they were caught dishing out awards for a contribution. They fired a few lower tier people and continue on.


As for AAA endorsements go, I’d be more inclined to trust top-tier fuel in general, versus an endorsement of a particular repair shop

I guess I’m not as skeptical as you, as far as AAA goes. I personally don’t doubt the studies were conducted, and for now I’ll believe the numbers, so to speak

however, I’ve always thought JD Power is a complete farce. 100%, not even a shadow of a doubt. Totally meaningless and pointless

I also feel the same way about Motor Trend magazine. Complete joke of a car magazine. Motor Trend car of the year . . . ha ha :lol:

@ok4450, the test report states that AAA paid a company certified by ISO for fuel testing to do the work, including procuring the fuel. AAA did nothing more than pay for the test and report the results. The company does this type of testing all the time. They even know enough to pick a crummy little engine known for collecting carbon quickly so that the test can be completed in only 100 hours.

You mean the 1971 Vega - Motor Trends car of the year wasn’t a good choice???

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