Things to Consider When Choosing Where to Get Gas - Subaru Service Questions in Salt Lake City, UT

The type of fuel you choose to put in your car can have a serious impact on performance and the longevity of your engine. Luckily, the stuff that's right for your car can be found somewhere near you, no matter where in the Salt Lake City area you're located. You just need to know what to look for and what to avoid. We've got some tips for you below! Here are four questions you should ask when choosing where to buy gas for your car, and the answers from the team in our service center.

Filling Station At Dusk

4. Is All Gasoline The Same?

All gasoline legally sold in the United States must meet certain regulations for safety, emissions and additive qualities. Gasoline additives like corrosion inhibitors and lubricants ensure that the gasoline burns cleanly in your car without causing any damage or leaving behind harmful carbon deposits. Every gas station brand tries to differentiate themselves with their own additive formula, such as Techron from Chevron.

If you're an enthusiast, you might find that you eventually come to prefer a certain brand of gas -- but for the daily drive in your everyday commuter car, as long as you're getting gasoline from a well-kept fuel station that stores the gasoline properly, you can fill your vehicle at pretty much any filling station.

Fuel Filler In Car

3. Is Gasoline Different In Utah?

Gasoline sold in high-altitude states is actually lower in octane than what you'll find at sea level! In most states, the minimum octane rating of regular unleaded gas is 87. Here in Utah, it's 85. That's because, at altitude, there's less oxygen in the air available for the engine. That creates a richer air-fuel ratio when driving at altitude, so lower-octane, more-affordable fuel can be sold as regular unleaded for the same performance. More on octane ratings below!

2. What Is Top Tier Gas?

To be sure that the additives package in the fuel you're using is the best around, make sure you're using fuel from a station dispensing Top Tier Gas. Top Tier Gas is a specification developed by automakers and gas companies that goes well beyond the legal limit. Using Top Tier Gas has even been shown to help clean carbon deposits that have formed in an engine from using inferior fuel.

AAA and Consumer Reports conducted a study that found that Top Tier Gas kept engines cleaner than ordinary fuel. Look for the Top Tier Detergent Gasoline logo the next time you're in need of a filling station. Top Tier-licenced brands found in the Salt Lake City area include Chevron, Sinclair, Texaco and others.

Different Grades Of Gasoline

1. Should I Pay More For Premium Gas?

If you have a sports car engine, such as the one found in the powerful Subaru WRX STI, you may be required to run more premium fuel with a higher octane rating. If so, you don't want to run regular unleaded in that engine. Most engines can run on either one, but they're tuned to run best on either regular or premium unleaded. Putting regular gasoline in an engine tuned for premium fuel could cause engine knock. That's when the fuel in the engine's cylinders detonates too early from the intense compression of sports car engines, instead of being detonated all at once by the spark plugs. As a result, the engine will lose power and responsiveness, and you'll hear a ticking sound coming from the engine. Engine knock can even cause damage to the cylinders and piston rings over time.


By contrast, putting premium gasoline in a vehicle tuned to run on regular gasoline has no benefit! You don't get any more horsepower or better fuel economy from burning a fuel with a higher octane rating. You'll just be spending more needlessly for the same performance.