Not All Mid-Grade Blended At the Pump

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Maryland
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A while ago, a thread was discussing mid-grade fuel and someone mentioned that virtually all stations blend mid-grade at the pump by mixing regular and high octane gas. FWIW, a "High's" gas station opened in my area that sells Carroll brand fuel. Upon speaking to the manager (who happened to be outside while tanker deliveries were being made), I was informed they have separate tanks for mid-grade and it's delivered to them as such (i.e. not mixed by the driver when filling the tank). Just passing along first-hand information because statements in that previous thread implied that all modern stations mix at the pump. This station is brand new, built from the ground-up and six months ago, was an empty lot. Suffice it say, don't count on mid-grade being fresh gas unless you have specific knowledge about the station. Ray
 
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3,933
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SW Ohio
I never knew stations blended their grades to get "mid" grade fuel but it makes perfect sense. I think having a dedicated tank for it nowadays is a mistake for (at least) a couple of reasons: 1) An add'l tank, pump, valves, etc to maintain by the station, 2) Data I've seen says regular outsells premium by 10x and premium outsells mid-grade by 2x so a station loses volume/bulk discounts by buying mid-grade when they could purchase more of the other two grades.
 
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Florida
I'd look at the fuel caps sitting in the parking lot before trusting a "manager." There is normally a key somewhere where you can see what tanks they have.
 
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Maryland
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Originally Posted by hatt
I'd look at the fuel caps sitting in the parking lot before trusting a "manager." There is normally a key somewhere where you can see what tanks they have.
And since this place is two weeks old, I could easily see the 4 different color fuel ports in the ground as pointed-out by the "manager". One color each for regular, mid-grade, premium and diesel. I'll also point out this guy was working his tail off and demonstrating some pretty good judgment and ability. He's been with High's for 5 years and got transferred to this new location and was extremely short staffed. As we spoke briefly, he asked if I could refer some hard working people over his way.
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
I never knew stations blended their grades to get "mid" grade fuel but it makes perfect sense. I think having a dedicated tank for it nowadays is a mistake for (at least) a couple of reasons: 1) An add'l tank, pump, valves, etc to maintain by the station, 2) Data I've seen says regular outsells premium by 10x and premium outsells mid-grade by 2x so a station loses volume/bulk discounts by buying mid-grade when they could purchase more of the other two grades.
Yeah, it makes perfect sense to mix at the pump but, I could also see how that could get tricky for places that carry both E10 and E0 etc. And Yes, I've read basically the same info about sales proportions of regular vs premium vs mid-grade. My vehicles do fine on 87/E10 and that's all they call for but, for good measure, I mix regular and premium in my GDI vehicle during the hottest months of summer. Ray
 
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WY
I suppose the refinery can mix the high test and low test before pumping it into the tanker and the station could add a dedicated tank. But why?
 
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Lakeville, MN
As was also mentioned in the other thread, many, but not all stations do blend on site. There are a lot of stations around here that do not blend on site, but have it delivered as midgrade in separate storage. For some, it has meant an open door to selling E15 Super 88 octane here without a total redo of the pumps - it was already a separate tank. (Ie: Blending E10 87 and E10 91 isn't going to get you to E15 88... Simple math) Also, it usually is not the refinery that is doing any blending - that is happening at the fuel terminal, which may or may not be at the refinery (and in fact is usually not at the refinery).
 
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The IL
I'm going with the caps in the parking lot. IIRC, the narrative of that thread was <span style="font-style: italic">most</span> of the stations blend. You found one that didn't.
 
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Location
OH
I'm not from MD, but I've been in the fuel business for a while. None of the gas stations I've dealt with in the Midwest have midgrade tanks, everything is blended at the pump. We also almost never have ethanol free gas as your typical gas stations, but that would be a separate tank. OP, put the address in to this website and look at the report, it will tell you how many tanks and what type of fuel is in them. And/or let us know the address. http://mes-mde.mde.state.md.us/FacilitySummary/default.aspx
 
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Maryland
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Originally Posted by working_title
I'm not from MD, but I've been in the fuel business for a while. None of the gas stations I've dealt with in the Midwest have midgrade tanks, everything is blended at the pump. We also almost never have ethanol free gas as your typical gas stations, but that would be a separate tank. OP, put the address in to this website and look at the report, it will tell you how many tanks and what type of fuel is in them. And/or let us know the address. http://mes-mde.mde.state.md.us/FacilitySummary/default.aspx
This is a really good resource but now, I'm more confused than ever. Here's the state's data sheet on their tanks. Says there are a total of 2 tanks but then shows 2 are gasohol and 1 is diesel. If you look at the report, it's pretty obvious the tanks are sub-divided into sections. Tank 1 is gasohol and tank 2 has part A (Gasohol) and part B (Diesel). I can say that I've seen with my own 2 eyes, they have 4 fill ports in the ground and still suspect they have a separate "reservoir" for mid-grade. The manager (who was not the typical gas-station cash register idiot) responded with certainty that mid-grade had its own delivery. Ray
 

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6,039
Location
Florida
It appears the midgrade fill cap would be blue with a white cross on it. You'll have to do some more recon.
 
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Maryland
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Originally Posted by hatt
It appears the midgrade fill cap would be blue with a white cross on it. You'll have to do some more recon.
Wilco... Out.
 
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Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted by sloinker
I suppose the refinery can mix the high test and low test before pumping it into the tanker and the station could add a dedicated tank. But why?
Refineries have a lot more "blendstocks" than just two octane ratings. If you've ever driven by a major refinery or near a fuel depot, there will typically be dozens of above ground tanks. Not sure if they would blend on demand or if it's already been done before reaching the depot tanks.
 
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Lakeville, MN
I can give an example of a station that blends and a station that has not/does not. Example blend and non blend Speedway (NE Corner of the intersection) sells five different fuels: 87 E10, 89 E10, 91 E10, E85, and Diesel. 4 tank fill locations. The midgrade is blended. Kwik Trip (SE Corner) sells four different fuels at this location: 87 E10, 88 E15, 91 E0, and Diesel. 4 Tank Fill locations. Before E15, they sold 89 octane Midgrade. No blending here. Many other similar examples in the area.
 
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251
Location
Bowling Green, OH
A station that doesn't blend, will have separate nozzles for Regular, Mid, and Premium. Blenders will have one per side for those 3 grades. Some dispensers might have an extra hose for diesel, E-85, or E-15. Also, look at at the tank farm filler caps: Red is High Grade, the Blue is Mid Grade, the White is Low Grade and the Yellow is Diesel, Brown is Kero, Bronze is E-85. Orange is vapor recovery.
 
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Maryland
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CLASSIFICATION::SECRET Here's the debrief from the RECON mission (LOL: The wife and I got in & out w/o raising suspicion. The Groucho-Marx glasses, with bushy eyebrows provided adequate subterfuge). Fill Ports: Solid White (??? Round cover-cap located in same region but slightly smaller than the others) White with Black X (Regular w/Ethanol. Square cover cap) Red with White X (Premium w/Ethanol. Square cover cap) Yellow with Blue C (Diesel. Square cover cap) Numerous Orange (vapor recovery) The dispensing pumps have one hose for Diesel and another hose shared between regular, mid and premium. CLASSIFICATION::SECRET

GasolineColorCodes.jpg
 
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Central Iowa
Originally Posted by y_p_w
Originally Posted by sloinker
I suppose the refinery can mix the high test and low test before pumping it into the tanker and the station could add a dedicated tank. But why?
Refineries have a lot more "blendstocks" than just two octane ratings. If you've ever driven by a major refinery or near a fuel depot, there will typically be dozens of above ground tanks. Not sure if they would blend on demand or if it's already been done before reaching the depot tanks.
The various tanks at terminals is more about dated product and volume storage amounts based on turnover than blends. All blending for the retailer, even to produce premium, is done at the load point where fuel is loaded onto a tanker all according to pre-programmed amounts dictated by the commercial retailer. Octane boosters, detergent additives, ethanol, whatever is blended into the base fuel stream as it is pushed into the tanker bulkheads. All the gasoline stored at the terminals i the same base gasoline made by one or more refineries that supply that terminal.
 
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Florida
You'll have to educate the "manager." Hopefully you learned to never trust anything some random employee tells you. Most simply have no clue about very many things but will have no problem acting like they do.
 
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Northeast Georgia
For E10 Mid-grade blended at the time of loading, it is broken down as follows assuming the system is preset to load 1000 gallons of ExxonMobil branded gasoline. 84 octane CBOB = 593 gallons 90 octane CBOB = 306 gallons Ethanol = 101 gallons (10% mixture) Equals 1000 gallons 89 octane gasoline. I exclusively deliver gas to Circle K stores which is the largest chain in the U.S. Of all the stores I service...only 2 have a dedicated mid-grade storage tank. Both are very old stores that are at least 30 years old. All the rest (I service) blend at the pump.
 
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Upper Midwest
Originally Posted by KeithS_NW_Ohio
A station that doesn't blend, will have separate nozzles for Regular, Mid, and Premium. Blenders will have one per side for those 3 grades.
That's not universally true, the station near me blends for 89 octane gasoline but one of the pumps has separate hoses (87, 89 and 93 octane) for motorcycles and other customers who wish to use that pump. But the rest all have one hose.
 
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