The price of gas is high and local drivers are cutting corners. But, is saving pennies by buying off-brands realty a savings? The gas we pour starts out the same. The major brands then use additives, claiming they improve performance and prevent wear and tear on engine parts. Some of those reportedly stop corrosion and prevent deposits from forming on the valves and injectors.
It's half and half around here. Locals interviewed at random are split. Getting cheap gas is more important to the skeptics. Brand loyalty and the claims of mechanical benefits are important to others.
Nancy Myers of Brentwood said price and convenience are keys for her. "I think all gas is the same quality and I want to save money. But at cut-rate gas stations sometimes there are long lines and I won't stand in line to save a dime. I'll go to a convenient major brand."
Debbie Zaro of Discovery Bay has separate criteria. "For my motorcycle I'm very careful and will buy only specific brands of gas. Some of the others have certain chemical agents that are bad for the rings," she said. "When it comes to my car I'll buy any gas that's convenient and reasonable."
"None of the off-brands will hurt your car," claimed Edward Llamas of Brentwood. "I've had 35 years of driving experience and gas is gas to me. There's no difference. I go to the cheapest place I can find. I fill up where the price is right."
L.D. Wright of Brentwood is in and out. "The
Brentwood's Jim Johnson has a compromise. "ARCO is the cheapest name brand and it's convenient for me," he said. "But, I do believe all gas comes from the same place. And also I think you need to be careful, because at some independent stations the gas isn't filtered sufficiently."
Oakley's Barbara Miller said, "My only concern is convenience. The savings don't really add up to much. One of the advantages of using a name station is paying with a credit or debit card where it's usually much simpler than other stations. I'll go to the closest station when I want to fill the tank."
Bill General of Brentwood buys most of his gas at Chevron where he conveniently pays by credit card. "It's the closest one for me but I don't think the gas is any better than elsewhere. I don't believe the stories about differences in quality but I won't drive a few miles to save a few cents," he said.
Antonio Gutierez of Oakley is a believer. "The only gas I buy is either Chevron or '76'. I won't buy cheap gas because I want to protect my car. I really believe that the right gas makes my car run better. It's like a lot of other things. You get what you pay for. So, the price of gas is a secondary factor to me," he said.
Antioch's Sue Brown has personal reasons for buying Chevron gas. "It's a matter of loyalty. My dad worked for Chevron," she said. "But I truly believe there's a difference in quality among the various brands. Still, I confess that price always is a factor and I sometimes buy off-brands."
Contact Ed Arnow at BrentwoodBuzz@aol.com.