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Cheap vs. Expensive Gas: What's the Difference?

Do you ever wonder why some fuels are more expensive than others? Why do certain gas stations have higher priced options? Do the prices of these gases have an impact on your vehicle performance?

The Importance of Fuel in Engine Function

Fuel is the primary element that allows the engine to start up. The fuel, when mixed with air, creates combustion inside the engine cylinders, which then pump the engine and provide power for the motor to use. Without fuel, the combustive process won't happen and the engine will not be able to operate.

When refilling your fuel, you may wonder why there are so many gas stations and each type of fuel has a different price. Let's find out why these gas prices vary.

Why Are Gas Prices Different?

There are plenty of reasons why gas prices are not the same. Some of these factors may include:

  1. The location where the gas is shipped from. Gases are either imported from various countries around the globe, primarily Canada, or locally sourced from Alaska and other oil fields within 48 different states. Sellers need to take into account the travel expenses as well as other costs of delivering the gas to every station.
  2. The additives used for commercializing the gas. Additives are what make different gases more expensive. These additives make the gases smoother and more efficient, but ultimately, they are just an add-on and rather optional feature. Without additives, fuel will work just as well and your car will run at the same speed and efficiency.
  3. The seller. Keep in mind that gas stations are business establishments. Sellers have different standards in doing business, and some are more profit-focused than others. Retailers, for instance, have a smaller target market which requires them to sell at a higher price. Wholesalers may sell for a lower price, but they may have minimum purchase requirements.
  4. The location of the gas station. The supply and demand in the specific location also play a role in the business. If there's a high supply, for instance, in major cities and highways, the prices may be lower because of strong competition. In isolated areas where gas stations are several miles apart from each other, prices may be higher in an effort to monopolize the business.

Is Cheap Gas Bad?

Not at all! It has been proven that cars run the same on cheap gas and expensive gas. If there would be any difference, it would be so unnoticeable that it wouldn't even matter. At the end of the day, it's better to spend on good quality cleaning products and regular maintenance instead of choosing the more expensive brand of gas.