Posted September 9, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency has introduced a variety of new additives to our fuels over the past few decades in corroboration with their Clean Air Act. Some of these chemicals are ok, but some can be harmful to our engines. Many automotive enthusiasts understand the impact ethanol has on both classic and modern engines; but this impact especially affects some of the newer high performance engines that require higher fuel pressures and cleaner burning fuel.

Environmentalists and automotive engineers are constantly working at ways to reduce carbon emissions, but it is unlikely that anyone will ever develop a fossil-fuel related system where hydrocarbons can be fully cleaned or recycled in a responsible manner. In short, all the carbon has to go somewhere.

If you have a direct-injection motor (TFSI, GDI, etc.), the effect of ethanol is even more severe than standard fuel injected motors. Heavy carbon buildup and the subsequent suffocation of your vehicle’s air intake and fuel / ignition system is becoming an everyday reality. Our team regularly performs decarbonization services and fuel-injection services to restore engine efficiencies and health, but there is another element to these service requirements that we feel the community needs to be made more aware of.

The first is that the octane level in gasoline matters. Unless you have an E85 specific economy vehicle, 87 and 89 will reduce your fuel mileage and also cause heavier hydro-carbon buildup. 91 and 93 octane is strongly recommended for your engine regardless of the RON (Research Octane Number) rating.

Furthermore [and this is important], all fuels are NOT the same. They come from different refinement plants, and they contain different additives and ratings. While we have been preaching this for many years to our regular guests; our community needs to be educated that many of our local fuel stations do not have the appropriate fuel detergents in the gasoline they sell.

The fuel station we choose does matter when talking about the additives and detergents, and based on the plethora of chemicals the EPA already requires be mixed into U.S. fuels, any specially formulated and tested non-federal additive can only help reduce the negative effects on our engine and fuel system.

Think about the types of “unknown” synthetically-altered foods we have put into our bodies over the years, only more recently to be made aware of what might be healthier for us and what might not be. Running our vehicles’ engines on “unknown” fuels may be a stretch compared to human health, but is certainly worth consideration if you read deeper into the situation. While the government may be concerned about our safety, when it comes to emissions, they are far more concerned about the reduction in carbon emissions numbers than the health of our vehicle’s engine. 

An alliance has been formed by several of the major automakers (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi/VW, etc.) to combat the rising engine health concerns. This trademark alliance is called TOP TIER, and they have set fourth additional requirements for fuel refinement / detergent applications that supersede the federal regulations.

Visit to see the list of approved TOP TIER refueling facilities. While I’ve always recommended Shell V-Power fuel (93) due to their nitrogen enrichment process and premium detergents (and they without a doubt high on the list of approved fuels), there will be others on this list that conform to the TOP TIER requirements and may be more convenient for you depending on your location and day-to-day travel habits.

– Rai Blanchette, Director of Operations

Categories: Fuel Efficiency