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Cheap gas stations: what are the risks for my engine?

We are increasingly going to low-cost gas stations because of their low prices, but why are they so cheap? What’s the trick? Is it worse fuel? Will it affect my car?

For what it costs us 50 liters of fuel at a branded service station, we can load up to 55 liters at a cheap gas station. The difference is remarkable, but do both fuels have the same quality? The doubt is reasonable because we tend to believe that expensive is better. But in this case, not so much. There are nuances that lead to think that the premium is not always worth it.

Any gasoline or diesel to be distributed in Spain has to be delivered to the Spanish logistics system, that is, to CLH, now renamed Exolum, and meet its requirements and specifications. The system works in a similar way to oil mills cooperatives. All olive growers deliver their production and receive, once the product is processed, the oil proportional to the olive that they have provided.

Bidones de combustible

Drums of fuel. https://pixabay.com/es/users/wilhei-883152/

With the oil tankers it happens more or less the same, only that according to those legal specifications demanded by the EU through CLH-Exolum, whether it is gasoline which are then sold as cheap as the “deluxe”.

«Fuels are highly regulated in Spain and throughout Europe because they generate a lot of revenue for the State. They must comply with very strict regulations and meet minimum requirements, whether they are supplied at any of the cheap gas stations or sold under a prestigious brand. Furthermore, all engines have been developed taking into account that they are going to use those specific fuels », explains Bernardo Tormos, Professor of Engines at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.

So what’s the point of refueling at a prestigious service station? Large oil tankers have to justify themselves in order to charge a higher price, and they do this by adding the product once it leaves CLH-Exolum, when it is in the tank on the way to the service station. “They usually add more detergent, corrosion protectants, or products that prevent foaming,” says Bernardo Tormos. That is not to say that cheap gasoline cannot carry those extras as well. CLH-Exolum offers a similar package to owners of low-cost service stations. It depends on them to buy them or not, but in any case their fuels without these additives are sufficiently tested, they are legal and suitable for any type of car that circulates on our roads.

Low-cost fuels are sufficiently tested, legal and suitable for any type of car that circulates on our roads

The battle between service stations with cheap fuel and those that sell it expensive is served. “The oil multinationals do studies that show that engines that have used any of their fuels stay cleaner over time. That period depends on the type of engine, how we use the car, the kilometers we travel … In general, it is expected to have a better response in the long run if first brand fuels are used, but that does not mean that after 50,000 km the car breaks down if you use a low-cost fuel and don’t do it in the opposite case ”, clarifies Bernardo Tormos.

The question is to know what these additives are and if they are really effective, but that is one of the best kept secrets of the State. Each tanker has his own recipe that he does not share with anyone. Therefore, if you are thinking of having a car for a long time in the best conditions, you have a reference gas station next to home and you always refuel there, you may get that benefit, but if other parameters come into play and fill the tank where you pilla, it will be much more difficult to achieve that result.

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