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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:
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