Does the gas brand really matter?

I was looking through my owners manual for my 2007 Ford Focus SE, and on pg 204 it says: “Ford recommends BP” and has the BP logo. Is the brand of gas really important? I would have to drive a fair distance off of my typical routes to find a BP gas station.

No, brand doesn’t matter. That’s one of those corperate buddy-up deals. Out here in New Mexico you will never find a BP station. Quality matters, don’t get gas at those cheapo 7-11s and such, stick to the stations you’ve had good luck with all along.

We’ve had long threads on this subject. Manufacturers seem to be entering onto corporate deals with specific refineries. It’s generating this question now.

NOVA dad a special last year and there was no difference between the additive packages of any of the major brands, and they all draw from the same supply pipes. Based on that I don’t believe there’s really any difference between the major brands.

BPs aren’t anywhere in NY that I know of either. I’d go to them if they were, though. I like that they support alternative energy research.

You can go wherever you want to fill up. Even the cheapo stations have gas with the right additives for your Focus. Some manufacturers (like BMW) require “top tier” gas from certain brands, but your Focus doesn’t have a requirement like that.

Unleaded gasoline is a consumer commodity traded on global markets. The so-called “un-branded” “discount” gas stations are usually owned by the “Major” brand oil company across the street…It’s all the same product, made to meet tight government specifications. For instance, there are no Sunoco stations in Denver, but there is a big Sunoco refinery that supplies most of the retail outlets in Denver regardless of brand name or lack of brand name. By EPA regulation, ALL gasoline MUST contain an additive package adequate to keep injectors clean and maintain low emissions. By the cheapest gas you can find on the street.

If you have to ask this, you have no idea how the fuel distribution system works in this country.

Unleaded gas and diesel is a commodity in this country. No, it’s not 100% homogenous because that’s not possible, but it’s very close.

For a given area of the country, at least most of it, fuel comes into it from a refinery via a large shipping pipeline. For instance, here, fuel comes from Knoxville, TN. It’s brought to Knoxville via Colonial Pipeline and it’s made in refineries in Louisiana. Exxon, BP, Maraton, Pilot, Citgo, all draw their fuel for distribution from the same pipeline. They ship both diesel and gas in the same line not to mention jet fuel, kerosene etc. Some distributors may add barrells of of chemicals to the fuel, and high test is converted from regular 87 octane by adding octane boosting chemicals at the distributor not from the refiner.

Some areas may have 2 competing pipelines, but most don’t. Some areas may be in between pipeline heads where the distributors are. In that case they may elect to get fuel from either location.

The chance that the fuel in the tank at the BP station is actually refined by BP is not very good. Around here, it’s likely that it’s Marathon fuel that’s been branded as BP.

It’s kind of the same principal as whole milk. Winchester Dairy bottles milk for multiple brands. Is there a difference? None other than price and label. Why? The Federal Government has guidelines as to what constitutes Whole Milk, 2% milk, 1% milk and any other dairy product you can think of.


I didn’t know either, Skipper. Today’s a good day - I learned something.

Well? If you wish to be an educated consumer, read this!


Go down to whereever your fuel comes from sometime and see what’s available. This is where the large tank farms are.

In the case of Knoxville, the last time I was there, there was an Exxon distributor, BP, Marathon, Citgo, and Pilot. Pilot/Marathon are the same by common ownership. All get their fuel from the same pipeline, and we have a lot of Shell stations with no Shell distributor, actually, there is one in Somerset, KY, but it’s so small that they supplement what they produce with Marathon fuel to supply their stations.

The one listed as Somerset Refinery is pretty near me. (Somerset, KY) It surprises me that they would even somewhat be considered as a top tier gasoline. In the years I’ve lived around here, I’ve avoided Somerset fuel like the plague. I’ve bought tanks from them when I got stuck empty somewhere and no other choice, and I’ve had to change filters before the tank was empty.

The 76 truck stop in Corbin used to haul it’s fuel from the Marathon terminal in Knoxville, it still does. It’s actually been bought by Marathon at this point, but for years they hauled several loads a day from Marathon.

A lot of this depends on the state’s laws regarding stations selling fuel under a name brand that is not manufactured by the brand. Kentucky is extremely liberal on it. I know at one time the law said a station could sell unbranded fuel under the name brand if no name brand distributor was available within x number of miles. We used to have a Mobil station here that sold Marathon fuel because there was no Mobil distributor in Kentucky or East Tennessee. Some states are much stricter on it.