Kelly's Garage - Active Green and Ross - August 2012




Do you often wonder what the different grades of gasoline mean when you go to fill up your car at the gas station?  Do you know what grade of gas your vehicle takes and do you put the appropriate one in every time you fill up?  Well, this month I decided to delve into the different types of gas and share them with you.  BTW- if you’ve been to one of my car care clinics you should remember that you shouldn’t wait for the gas light to come on before you go fill up  Don’t forget about the all important fuel pump, but we’ll leave that one for another newsletter.

I hope everyone had a great summer and happy long weekend!  Don’t forget to check out the website to see if there are any car care clinics coming up in your area this fall. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me, I always respond.



Ethanol (created from corn) has been used in gasoline since Ford first introduced the Model T in 1908.  In 2003, the increase of ethanol in gas (upto 10%) as an oxygenating additive increased, because MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) was banned due to ground water contamination, health and environmental concerns.

This month's topic: Different Types of Gases

When you pull up to the pumps to put gas in your car you see all kinds of grades.  87, 89, 91, 94 and diesel are what you see and now you have to decide what to put in?  Most of us know that you don’t put diesel fuel in a gasoline powered engine but what do all of the other numbers mean?  These numbers refer to the octane rating of the gas.  Octane rating is a measure of the burn time.  So the longer it takes to completely burn the gas in your engine cylinder the higher the octane rating.  You should always put whatever grade of gas your vehicle calls for.  It will usually tell you on the gas cap or in the owners manual.  Sometimes people who require regular gas,  which has a octane rating of 87 will put premium gas, thinking they will get better fuel economy.  In actuality, these people are just wasting their money since the engine’s computer will detect the change in octane and adjust the ignition timing as necessary.  However, if your engine requires premium gas, then be sure to put premium gas so your engine runs properly.

Almost all gas contains ethanol to varying degrees.  However, if you buy Petro Canada Super Clean 91, it does not contain ethanol.  Petro Canada Regular Clean contains 10% ethanol, Plus Clean 89 has 5% and Ultra 94 has 10%.  I couldn’t find out if Shell V Power contains ethanol or not?  Ethanol in gas is part of  the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency) mandate for renewal energy sources.  For most vehicles the ethanol doesn’t really impact the performance of your engine.  Some sports cars won’t run as well and that’s why these owners look for ethanol free gasoline.

All gas also contains cleaning detergents to help keep the inside of your engine clean and running well.  Some gasolines have more detergent then others, but they all meet the minimum standard set forth by the EPA.  The detergents and additives are required in gas because a by-product of combustion in the engine is carbon build up on the cylinders, valves and pistons.  (I’ve included a photo at the bottom of both dirty pistons and dirty valves).  Some gasoline manufacturers like Petro Canada and Shell belong to the Top Tier group.  This means that they exceed the amount of detergents required in their gas which ultimately is better for your engine.  The Top Tier set of standards was actually created by: Audi, BMW, General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen.  So, not all gas is created equal.  Sometimes you think you are saving some money by going to a non-name brand gas station because it is a couple of cents cheaper but you could be buying “dirtier” gas that only meets the minimum requirements for detergents and additives in gas.  What can ultimately happen is that you engine will become full of “gunk” and your fuel filter will become dirty or clogged which will choke flow of gas to the injectors and your car may start to stall or die.  So you may be making a trip to your local Active Green and Ross store to have the filter changed.  As a rule of thumb, your fuel filter if it is separate from your fuel pump should be changed once a year for preventative maintenance.  My suggestion is to stick to premium name gas stations when deciding where to get filled up the next time you need gas.

Take care of your car and it will take care of you!

This months photo:


clean and dirty engine valve


dirty and clean piston

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