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Author: culcha Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 71394  
Subject: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 2:12 PM
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Somewhere I heard that all regular gas was really the same generic gas and you only get the specific Shell (or whatever) brand at the higher octane levels.

Is that true? (or even roughly true?)

culcha
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Author: pauleckler Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69769 of 71394
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 2:37 PM
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Perhaps those who know better than I do will answer your question, but in the good old days, gasoline was a commodity, and additives made the difference. Hence, the tank truck arrived at your filling station with a single tank, and he carried a series additives that he poured in the station tanks as he filled them to create premium or regular. The additive contained a gasoline dye for identification and to show the correct additive was added.

That was in the days of leaded gasoline.

Now we have unleaded and premium, and many local formulations dictated by EPA, winter and summer blends, ethanol blends, etc.

Plus many smaller refineries have shut down, so gasoline is delivered from large refineries by pipeline. The pipeline is shared by other fuels and by other companies. The pipeline goes to a tank farm distribution center, where those delivery trucks are filled. Final blending is done at the distribution center when the truck is filled. And the truck now has several segregated tanks so he can deliver several blends.

I suspect much depends on where you live and how your area is served. Do you have a dedicated truck from say Shell, or does the same truck deliver to the discount station down the road? You can bet delivery routes are worked out to optimize efficiency in terms of time and distance to travel.

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Author: Milligram46 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69770 of 71394
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 3:15 PM
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I'll wade into this one.

So you're at a Shell station. You're pumping Shell gasoline. Surprise, the base gasoline may not have come from a Shell refinery.

Lets look at the state of Washington. Washington state is unique in the United States in that is a closed loop system when it comes to refined fuel. Washington state has the 6th highest refining capacity of any state in the United States, with six refineries. The "brands" represented are Tesoro, Shell, British Petroleum (ARCO), Conoco, and Phillips.

Tesoro Anacortes Refinery (Tesoro), Anacortes 108,000 bbl/d (17,200 m3/)

Shell Anacortes Refinery (Shell Oil Company), Anacortes 145,000 bbl/d (23,100 m3/d)

Cherry Point Refinery (BP), Blaine 225,000 bbl/d (35,800 m3/d)

ConocoPhillips Ferndale Refinery (Phillips 66), Ferndale 105,000 bbl/d (16,700 m3/d)

Tacoma Refinery (U.S. Oil and Refining), Tacoma 35,000 bbl/d (5,600 m3/d)

Imperium Grays Harbor (Imperium Renewables), Anacortes 4,580 bbl/d (728 m3/d)

Now notice on that list. No ExxonMobil, no Chevron, no Texaco. Yet we have Exxon gas stations, Chevron gas stations, and Texaco gas stations. Also, interestingly, you'll be hard pressed to find a Conoco station even though a refinery is here.

The fuel isn't shipped in by pipeline or tanker. Because of the mountains that surround the region, all of the refined products for Washington, most of Idaho, Oregon and a part of northern California all come from Washington. About 90% of the crude oil that is refined here is North Slope Alaskan crude. The remaining 10% is largely Canadian and Indonesian, it simply costs too much and its too far to tanker Middle East crude to the region. Because of the challenges of Puget Sound, tankers are not allowed into the Port of Seattle or Tacoma, so crude is offloaded at Port Angeles.

So, if you go to an Exxon station in Seattle. You are not buying Exxon gas. You are however, buying the Exxon formulated additives added to the gas. If you buy Shell gasoline here, it is almost assuredly from the Shell refinery, ditto if buy Arco. Buy Chevron, you could be buying Shell gasoline with the Chevron additives added at the pump.

So the gasoline you buy at the pump, may not come from the same refiner - however the chemical additives (cleaners, detergents, boosters, etc. etc.) do come from that provider and are added at the pump.

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Author: PSUEngineer Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69771 of 71394
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 3:28 PM
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Somewhere I heard that all regular gas was really the same generic gas and you only get the specific Shell (or whatever) brand at the higher octane levels.

Is that true? (or even roughly true?)


The gasoline is the same coming out of the pipeline. The detergent additive package is added at the loading rack to the tankers. Since 1995, EPA has required a minimal amount of detergents in all grades of gasoline. Each brand has its own detergents. For example, you'll get Shell's detergents in all the octane grades. Four car manufacturers recognized that EPA's requirements were not good enough for top performance so they developed the Top Tier gasoline program where the amount of detergents exceeded EPA's requirements.

Here is a list of top tier gasoline retailers:
http://www.toptiergas.com/retailers.html

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Author: wecoguy Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69772 of 71394
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 10:29 PM
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Any idea which goes to Costco gas outlets?

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Author: YewGuise Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69773 of 71394
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/22/2013 11:07 PM
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Wow. BP, Sunoco, and Sheetz aren't on there?

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Author: tjscott0 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 69774 of 71394
Subject: Re: simple question about gas Date: 1/23/2013 6:58 AM
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I suspect much depends on where you live and how your area is served. Do you have a dedicated truck from say Shell, or does the same truck deliver to the discount station down the road? You can bet delivery routes are worked out to optimize efficiency in terms of time and distance to travel.

Yep. I buy at a discount gas station. Once there was a tanker off loading onto the station's tanks. We talked about his job then moved along to where he delivers. He got his load from Western Refinery* that has a a El Paso refinery. He was going to a brand name station after finishing topping off the discount station.

I suppose the discount stations here generally get Shell or Chevron gasoline as they are the prominent brand stations here.


*http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=194293&p=iro...
Western Refining is an independent refiner and marketer headquartered in El Paso, Texas. Western operates refineries in El Paso and Gallup, New Mexico.

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