While all gas may perform the same in your car, gas suppliers use different formulas (and chemicals) to get there. 

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Question: Is Chevron gas different from ARCO gas?

Answer: Technically, the answer is yes. They are different. But their differences are not so dramatic to radically affect a car’s performance.

Every brand of gasoline has its own mix of detergents and stabilizers even though chemically, they may be very similar. The difference is like two different cups of coffee from the same coffee shop, they taste similar but not exactly the same.

According to the website Top Tier Gasoline, both ARCO and Chevron gases meet all of the requirements by automakers to perform in their vehicles as well as meet Top Tier’s specifications. These standards help carmakers and fuel suppliers continue to work together to satisfy engine needs and comply with government regulations. Imagine how inconvenient it might become if only certain cars could use certain company fuels?

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However, gas makers do take different steps to get to the same final spot. ARCO uses one set of chemicals as a detergent in its gasoline blend while Chevron uses its patented additive named Techron for the same purpose.   

Both brands exceed the EPA standards, but, as with so many things, individual mileage may vary.

Higher Octanes

To make matters more confusing, like coffee, gasoline can come with varying amounts of octane. 

The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can undergo before it ignites. Typically, high performance engines require higher octane fuel. This helps create a smoother running engine. If the fuel has a low octane it may cause an engine’s cylinder to fire early, which people commonly refer to as engine knock. The more stable the fuel, the more controlled engine firing, and the fewer knocks.

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However, the octane levels of the different types of gas are regulated by state law, meaning all premiums or regulars are not created equal. For example, regular in Colorado is 85, but in most states it is 87. On the premium side, generally you can only get 91 in California, but 93 octane is available in other states.