Any petroleum engineers here?

Discussion in 'The Bench' started by John Codman, Aug 3, 2019.

  1. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    I was filling up at the local Exxon station when I happened to take a close look at fuel prices. 87 Octane regular was $2.619 per gallon; 93 octane premium was $3.319. .70 per gallon more for gasoline that is seven octane higher then regular! What makes premium gasoline worth .70 per gallon extra?
     
  2. 2001ws6

    2001ws6 last of the v8 interceptors

    Remember when it used to be like 10 cents more? Was just talking to a buddy about the same thing.
     
    john.schaefer77 likes this.
  3. Aaron65

    Aaron65 Well-Known Member

    I'm lucky that only one of my cars requires 93...my Skylark. It pings hard at the 1-2 upshift (ST-300...it happens at about 60-65 mph) if I don't have a slow timing curve and 93 octane in it.
     
  4. 1973gs

    1973gs Well-Known Member

    Because they can!:mad:
     
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  5. dynaflow

    dynaflow shiftless...

    ...the fact every expensive car requires it...and people who can afford car don't care about gas prices...
     
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  6. 36racin

    36racin Platinum Level Contributor

    Premium gasoline is mostly what we call Alkylate. Its a higher value gasoline component than normal regular. It bacically gives you the octane you need ie 93
     
  7. Dr. Roger

    Dr. Roger Stock enthusiast

    So my boat guy who ran a huge marine repair shop in town explained this to me once after I kept having to clean out the carbs on my boat motor. He said the gas tanker trucks only carry a single grade of gas delivered to each station. After they dump the gas into the underground tanks, the truck driver pours a jug of octane boost into the separate tanks to boost the octane for the higher octane grades. He had a can of the boost there in his shop he showed me. He explained that I should never use the higher octanes on my boat motor because when the gas sits in the carbs for a long time and dries up, the boost leaves a thick brown varnish inside the carb. When I quit using the higher octane, my carbs quit gumming up. Maybe things have changed, but that is the way it was a few years ago.
     
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  8. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    That may be the marine way of doing it, but in the Mobil, Gulf, American, and Phillips 66 gas stations where I have worked, that's not the way they did it. We had three separate tanks, and the truck also had separate compartments for each different gasoline product. The tanker valves were clearly marked as were the top fill ports.
     
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  9. Dr. Roger

    Dr. Roger Stock enthusiast

    Yeah, I wasn't sure how accurate his info was or if it applied to car gas stations as well. Always fun to debunk urban legends :)
     
  10. LARRY70GS

    LARRY70GS a.k.a. "THE WIZARD"

    Around here, it varies by station. Some stations price 93 a lot higher. Most do not. I just shop around and use Gasbuddy.

    I just checked Gasbuddy, 93 ranges from a low of 3.13 to 3.79 in gas stations within 5 miles. Yesterday, I filled up my GS near BrunoD in Hicksville, at a Sunoco and paid 2.93.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  11. gsx455-4ever

    gsx455-4ever Gold Level Contributor

    They charge more for the 93 so they can charge less for the 87 and fool you into thinking gas prices are low.
     
  12. BUICKRAT

    BUICKRAT Torque Rules!

    John, gas futures are traded on the commodities market. Pricing is subject to the whims of the traders. If it's still selling, and demand is steady, it wont change. Price will go up until it stops selling, and then level off or decrease slightly.

    I will also say that higher octane fuels require more refining, and are therefore more expensive. As fewer and fewer folks care as much about their daily drivers as enthusiasts do, the demand for higher octane fuels has diminished significantly. In order for a product to be financially profitable, it must make 'x' dollars from 'y' amount of refining. Many gas stations are not selling super anymore, as the cost of separate tanks and dispensers is not worth the money made.
    Remember, the retailer also has to make some money on the product, and if a product goes stale on the shelf before it sells, or is taking up space that a better selling product could occupy, said retailer will not stock that product.

    For every 10,000 gallons of regular I sell, I sell 600 gallons of super. It's actually not worth it to even carry super anymore, but I am an enthusiast, my cars require it, and a few of my customers do.
    I could explain for days the costs involved in putting fuel on the street, especially the regulations.

    If I remember correctly, John, I offered to have you look at my books so you could see where the cost of fuel comes from.

    I never heard back from you.
     
  13. BUICKRAT

    BUICKRAT Torque Rules!

    Hey John, what year was it that you last worked at a gas station?


    I agree with John, the tanker driver did not 'pour in an octane booster'. There simply are no known 'octane boosters' that actually work. If anything it was a dye to differentiate marine from street product, and that would have been against regulations, as marine fuel is subject to different taxes and regulations than motor vehicle fuel, and would have been dyed, priced and taxed/regulated at the terminal, not the retailer. Common scam transporters do, along with delivering unbranded fuel to branded stations. Big money in that when you are delivering lots of fuel to big marinas.
     
  14. gstewart

    gstewart Well-Known Member

    In 1970, it cost 5 cents a gallon to high test gas than regular. How do I know? I worked for Supertest Petroleum from 1969-1972 (when it was sold to BP Canada). Each grade of gasoline was contained in its own compartment on the tanker truck and identified by colour. So driver deliverymen could not be colour blind.
     
  15. Gene Brink

    Gene Brink Active Member

    Growing up there was a five cent upcharge between regular-midgrade (some stations had it)-ethyl for a range of 10 cents - in Los Angeles. Gas was around 30 cents per gallon. Now it is +20 for midgrade and an additional +10 for 93 octane. Given inflation the upcharge isn't out of line. Generally around $3.50/$3.70/$3.80 per gallon.
     
  16. gs66

    gs66 Well-Known Member

    I like running the clear Premium (no ethanol). That’s a lot higher too due to being pure gas. Here it’s only available in 91 octane. Most stations sell about 90% of their gas in 87 octane. Most of the good names use dedicated trailers and haulers to avoid getting lower grade fuels. The spreads have increased but premium still seems to be worth it, at least for me. I prefer Top Tier too, around here that is Holiday Stationstores. Some others have it too and it does add to the cost. So does everyone using miles/points credit cards. Of course someone has to pay for that.
     
  17. Mark Demko

    Mark Demko Well-Known Member

    I look at it this way,
    Back in the 70's and 80's diesel was cheap, only big trucks and a few light duty trucks, and fewer cars used it.
    Come the mid 90's and today, more and more light duty ( 1 ton) trucks and cars are using it. Higher demand=higher price
    More and more gas vehicles suggest the use of high octane to achieve max performance, whether N/A or forced induction.
    I think the engineers have run outta ideas to get power outta these gas engines, up the comp ratio, good heads, forced induction, direct injection, they gotta run high octane to achieve the performance designed into the engine, otherwise the computer pulls timing, lowers boost, and whatever else.
     
  18. Briz

    Briz Platinum Level Contributor

    My work trucks all use diesel, used to paying for it, doesn't phase me. Only car I have that I drive on a semi regular bases is the Riv which at 10-1 needs 93. That fuel is about the same cost as diesel, maybe a bit less. I pay for it on the company card. Probably one of the only company benefits I get is free fuel.I do remember when diesel was the cheapest thing at the pumps and there was a .10 a gal difference between the 3 grades. When I was up in Michigan a few months back I noticed there were as many as 5 different fuel options at the pumps.
     
  19. John Codman

    John Codman Platinum Level Contributor

    1975
     
  20. dynaflow

    dynaflow shiftless...

    ...just some gasoline-related observations...

    ...oil commodity prices are manipulated by limiting production...

    ...true, but as a percentage, is refining cost difference in line with wholesale/retail pricing? I honestly don't know, haven't been able to find data...

    ...I understand retailing model, my issue is that its implementation ultimately controls choice thereby price. It also causes consumers to spend more than retail price difference to get non-stocked product...

    ...I have seen pump prices raised when natural and man-made disasters threaten gulf coast production well in advance of actual shortage, if any, and in advance of travel holidays, returning to pre-holiday prices afterward. I would like to believe petroleum industry operates under natural supply/demand principles but it doesn't...
     

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