Money Talks: Top Tier Fuels

Fourth-generation mechanic Pam Oakes is a believer in what's called Top-Tier gas. She recommends it to all her customers.

So what's top tier gas?

This isn't the difference between premium and regular. That's not top tier. Top-tier is a label established by six car manufacturers: GM, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Audi and Volkswagen. To get the top-tier label, the gas has to contain extra additives and other ingredients that help clean your engine.

"Added detergents in there to get that carbon out of the intake. That carbon on the intake is extremely important because it TMs like you trying to run with your hand over your mouth," said Oakes.

Whether this actually works or not, however, is a matter of fierce debate: some experts say top tier is nonsense. But Pam says she's seen the results with her own eyes...

Now top tier doesn't necessarily cost more - it only costs a penny more per gallon to produce - and it's not just the oil company giants that offer it. You can go online and see a list of retailers.

Bottom line? Top tier gas may help your engine, but it's almost certainly not going to hurt. If you can get it for the same price, why not? If you want to see who's got it, go to and do a search for "Top-Tier Gas".

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