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How safe is cheaper, off-brand gasoline for your car?

Some people looking for more affordable ways to keep the lights on are turning toward less familiar gas retailers rather than big-named stations.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Lower quality, off-brand gas can be bad for your engine, reports the American Automobile Association (AAA), with the potential to increase emissions from your vehicle that can impact its performance.

And while every gas station chain purchases raw fuel, often from the same refineries, the quality of the gas hinges on a detergent mixture process unique to each individual brand.

Family-owned gas stations may charge slightly less for fuel compared to name brand stations like Exxon Mobile, Chevron and Shell, but does your choice in gas brands really impact the health of your car?

Here's what you need to know

A survey published by AAA revealed only 12% of drivers buy gasoline based on its detergent contents.

Out of the top 10 most affordable gas stations posted on ABC10's list provided by GasBuddy, only three are major brands.

The Environmental Protection Agency has a licensing program dealing certificates to gasoline manufacturers deemed "TOP TIER."

Despite the standard set by the federal agency, fuel not meeting the TOP TIER standard and lacking enhanced additives used by other gas brands can still be sold.

"Among brands tested, the use of non-TOP TIER gasolines resulted in up to 19 times more engine deposits than TOP TIER brands after just 4,000 miles of simulated driving," according to a report from AAA

For a complete list of TOP TIER detergent gasoline brands, visit their website here.


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