Performance Fuels

Does Fuel Choice Affect Performance?


The next time you go to fill up your car, truck, or SUV, ask yourself one question first: does it matter what fuel I use? The answer, according to at least eight of the biggest automakers, is yes. Important enough that those automakers developed their own Top Tier fuel guidelines to decide what needed to be in gasoline and diesel fuels to help your vehicle running cleaner and more efficiently for years to come. Sunoco Ultratech™ meets this Top Tier fuel standard.


The Bare Minimum

All fuel sold for cars and trucks in the U.S. has a minimum amount of detergent that must be in it. Detergents are essential in gasoline because the high heat inside your intake and cylinders, especially at the intake valve, can cause carbon deposits to form. With time, those deposits can build up to levels where they cause problems, such as stuck valves, poor combustion, poor performance, rough idle, hesitation under acceleration, and even more serious and expensive engine damage. 

The minimum detergent requirement is fine for doing the minimum amount of cleaning. Like washing your hands with just the tiniest amount of soap. If you're fine with the minimum amount of cleaning, and with that risk of possible damage, then using whatever gasoline you can find is probably just fine for you.

Why the Automakers Wanted More

The companies that designed your car or truck, including Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Stellantis, Honda, BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, and Audi, were not happy with the minimum. They found that even though the new minimum standard was meant to stop carbon deposits and other buildups from occurring in engines, it wasn't enough to keep your engine in tip-top shape. 

Those automakers said that it does matter what fuel you use. They agree that there should be more detergents to keep your engine running at its best. To make sure there was a product that met their guidelines, the automakers created their own standard. One meant to better serve you and your vehicle, and to keep it running at peak performance and peak efficiency by including more essential detergents in the fuel blend.


Top Tier Means Manufacturer Approved

The automaker specification is called Top Tier, and it is your sign that tells you you're about to fill up with fuel that is automaker approved. It tells you that the fuel you're putting in will have the right amount of detergents to help remove and prevent deposit buildups in modern high-tech engines. That means much more than the minimum, but since Top Tier was developed by automakers, it also means fuels that don't have more detergents than is necessary or that your engine can handle.

You'll find Top Tier high detergent fuels at every Sunoco station across the country. Sunoco Ultratech from your local gas pump includes the same detergent levels as the fuels Sunoco makes to power a full fleet of NASCAR racers every single weekend. There, the fuels help those high-performance engines make it through 500 miles or more of full-throttle racing and still be ready for a victory lane burnout. The racing-ready detergents are not just on Ultra 93, but on all grades of Ultratech fuel at the pump.

Stations that show the Top Tier brand, like Sunoco, look to maintain their Top Tier status. The automakers that are part of the program put the gas stations to the test and actually check out the fuels to ensure it meets requirements. Testing is done by a random and unannounced audit, making sure you're getting the fuel that adheres to automaker specs for detergents.


Filtration for Better Performance

There's more to fuel than just detergents, though. Start with filtration. Station pumps filter your fuel before it goes into your tank, helping to make sure that the fuel you get is uncontaminated  . It's one more step that can help your engine run at peak efficiency and performance. It also means less work for your vehicle's own fuel filter and your entire fuel system, since a clogged fuel filter doesn't flow as well as a clean one. A clogged filter makes the pump run harder, which can lead to poor performance, poor economy, and premature wear of your expensive fuel pump.

Long-Life Fueling

Modern vehicles use less fuel than ever before, especially in the case of plug-in hybrid vehicles, which means that the fuel can sit in your car's tank for longer than ever. Most modern fuels contain ethanol, and that can attract and hold water in your fuel system. Sunoco fuels contain corrosion inhibitors to help prevent fuel system damage as well as antioxidants that can ensure your fuel stays at top quality, even if it's been in the tank longer. 


The Proof is in the Testing 

Testing by the AAA found that using Top Tier fuel for just a few thousand miles of driving could resolve engine performance issues like a rough idle or hesitation during acceleration by cleaning out built-up deposits in the engine. The same testing found that in as little as 4,000 miles of simulated driving, minimum-spec gasoline left 19-times more performance-robbing deposits behind than Top Tier brands of gasoline.

In short, both the world's largest automakers and independent testing show that what fuel you use does matter to your car, truck, or SUV if you want it to run cleaner and more efficiently. Your modern vehicle is like a high-performance athlete, and like any high-performance athlete, it will only run at its best if you use a Top Tier fuel  .

Because high detergency fuel matters, switching to Sunoco, who offers Top Tier fuel like Sunoco Ultratech, is one of the easiest and most beneficial changes you can make on your commute. Regular use of a high detergent fuel can help your engine idle more smoothly, can improve throttle response when you accelerate, and can also mean better fuel economy thanks to an engine that is running cleaner, longer, and more efficiently.