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#4518505 - 09/17/17 11:27 AM Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart?
5AcresAndAFool Online   content

Registered: 12/18/16
Posts: 418
Loc: Indiana
It seems that I remember that the price difference between gasoline grades was usually 10-15 cents a gallon, even when gasoline got up to 4 bucks a gallon a few years ago the price spread did not seem as great as it is today.

I filled up yesterday and noticed that 87 octane was 2.39 a gallon, 93 was 3.04 a gallon.

This was at a Top Tier station, Shell, and all grades here in the corn belt contain 10% ethanol, except at a handful of stations. I wondered why this has changed.

I have one vehicle (3.3L Toyota)that does not require premium fuel, but can benefit from it. I typically only put premium in it when I have driven in the mountains, was doing heavy (heavy for the vehicle, 3500lbs) towing or when I have simply felt rich that day.

It does make a difference in power, a slight difference, I have read between 15 and 20 percent.

More curious than anything, I have had the impression that the additive package is the same between the grades at a top tier stations?

#4518510 - 09/17/17 11:32 AM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
Vern_in_IL Offline

Registered: 06/25/14
Posts: 1882
Loc: IL
93 v-power is 75 cents higher than 87....

That spread is too much, my calculations anything above a 50 cent spread I would be spending more on premium, with no benefit.

Edited by Vern_in_IL (09/17/17 11:34 AM)

#4518511 - 09/17/17 11:35 AM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
Reddy45 Offline

Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2962
Loc: USA
I think there are simply more cars now that need 89 or 91 octane from the factory. Higher compression helps to squeeze more power out of engines and people like power.

I do recall back when it was almost a perfect 10cent difference between each grade but cars back then just weren't what they are now.

#4518514 - 09/17/17 11:37 AM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
slacktide_bitog Offline

Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6136
Loc: USA
This will just lead to more people using regular in cars that require premium

#4518517 - 09/17/17 11:39 AM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
SevenBizzos Offline

Registered: 12/10/06
Posts: 693
Loc: The IL
Yeah, I noticed this too. It used to be $.10 each grade. Then it was $.20 for awhile. For a couple of years it's usually been $.30, even when 87 was down near $2.20/gal. That's more than 25% more per gal. Now, finding premium at $.60 more is a chore (Thanks Gasbuddy!). It's becoming more of a jump. I've even seen $.50 between 89 and 93.

It has to be the margin is so small on 87 that they have to spike the higher octane to make any money. It can't now cost 25% more to refine.

#4518518 - 09/17/17 11:39 AM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
AirgunSavant Offline

Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 3772
Loc: MD
Gas here is down now to $2.49-$2.59 avg down from $2.79
Premium is at that 70 cent spread here
I will never own another premium fuel car- had a few and the penalty is just too great

#4518521 - 09/17/17 11:48 AM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
pkunk Offline

Registered: 03/19/11
Posts: 256
Loc: NM, USA
I have 2 cars that spec premium but at this altitude (7-8000ft) mid grade is a happy alternative. The price spread is greater than it should be but not too bad at about 15c more for mid & 30+c for premium. The Mini is very happy on mid, getting 39+ mpg with spirited high speed driving.
2008 Mini Cooper Clubman (toad)
2000 Mercedes ML320
1994 Dodge 2500 Cummins
1999 Ford F53 V10 Coachman Motorhome 34ft

#4518563 - 09/17/17 12:35 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
JHZR2 Offline

Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41759
Loc: New Jersey
It has definitely spread, but it's not recent, it's been Id say in the last 7-10 years, perhaps even since Katrina.

#4518622 - 09/17/17 02:02 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
TinyVoices Offline

Registered: 09/12/16
Posts: 480
Loc: Vienna, VA
As more and more standard family cars and trucks are turbocharged and require higher octane fuel, it's not surprising we see this price jump. I'm currently driving the first car I have owned in years that doesn't need 93 and I'm loving it.
1993 Toyota MR2 Hardtop N/A - 157k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30
2006 Toyota Matrix XR AWD (Fiancee) - 126k miles - Valvoline Max Life 5w30

#4518629 - 09/17/17 02:12 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
LotI Offline

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 1265
Loc: America's Dairyland
03 Honda Interceptor
11 Kawasaki KLR 650
12 Ford E450

#4518722 - 09/17/17 04:04 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
bunnspecial Offline

Registered: 11/23/15
Posts: 735
Loc: US
I can remember when I bought my LS(my first "premium" car) in 2008, it was typically 20-25. Of course, now 50+ is more typical.

I'm running higher than stock compression in my MG(9.5:1) and fortunately I can tune it to run with plenty of power and without pinging on mid-grade and I'm glad of that.

Still, though, it seems like it's just going up and up.
2010 Lincoln MKZ-Mobil 1 5W-30
1970 MG MGB Roadster-Valvoline VR-1 20W-50

#4518726 - 09/17/17 04:08 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
L_Sludger Offline

Registered: 10/04/09
Posts: 3947
Loc: Ohio
I complain about this too. The other day I noticed a full $1.00 price difference between 87 and 93 octane.
So I let my (censored) wife drive the premium only 2002 TL-S and I get to putt around in the golden turd 87-swilling Avalon.

Some cars require premium just for no good reason at all. My former lemon leased BMW i3 REx had a 30 horsepower two-cylinder motor, Taiwan-made, that also specified premium gasoline. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!! So I have a fond place in my heart for manufacturers that make high-performance, high-efficiency motors that happily drink the 87 octane nectar. For a decade I sang praises about Honda's 240-hp Accord V6 that recommended regular gasoline, although I never did end up owning one.

Maybe the price difference will behoove more folks to decarbon their motors, and to keep their intakes clean and free of krud.
too many cars and oil combinations to list in 150 characters or less

#4518788 - 09/17/17 05:32 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
earlyre Offline

Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3857
Loc: Lima, Ohio, USA
Around here, it used to be a 10 cent spread, except for BP, who had a 11 cent spread between mid and prem.

5-6 years back it went to a 15 cent spread, and now it's a 25 cent spread, with the exception of our circle K's, which used to be BP's. They now have a 30 cent spread from mid to premium....

Edited by earlyre (09/17/17 05:33 PM)
09 Mercury Sable : 6qts AutoQuest(Meijer/Warren) 0w20, WIX 51516
Mine to Maintain:
03 Pontiac Vibe : 4.5qts VWB 5w30,WIX 51394

#4518830 - 09/17/17 06:25 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: 5AcresAndAFool]
Nyogtha Offline

Registered: 10/13/14
Posts: 2319
Loc: San Antonio, TX
When ethanol blending initially became widespread, the value of an octane barrel was lower.

With unconventional oil including a surfeit of low octane natural gasoline in NGL, the value of an octane barrel has increased.
"No matter how paranoid you are you're not paranoid enough. Tell the truth. Reach as many people as you can with it. That's your weapon." - Susanne Modeski, aka "Holly" to The Lone Gunmen

#4519049 - 09/17/17 10:27 PM Re: Gasoline Grade Price Spread, Drifted Apart? [Re: Nyogtha]
edhackett Offline

Registered: 06/09/03
Posts: 1925
Loc: Sequim, WA
Still typically .10 more for each grade here on the west coast. Diesel is typically less than regular, although diesel as crept up a bit more than gasoline in the past two weeks.

Never attribute to engineers that into which politicians, lawyers, accountants, and marketeers have poked their fingers.

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