CA - Gas station selling two different brands of gas?

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622
Location
Southern MN & Omaha NE
My dad and I took a road trip through California and Nevada over Christmas break and noticed something odd in our travels. We stopped at a Chevron station in Tehachapi that had two "sides" with sets of pumps on each. A convenience store separated them. Nothing unusual with that setup, except that half of the pumps were "Chevron" while the other half said "The Barn" (unbranded gas). The price for the Chevron gas was about 50 cents higher per gallon. The convenience store was common between the two banks of pumps. Separate signs but a common address (says Google); separate Gasbuddy entries for the two sets of pumps. I'll link StreetView so you all can see (Drive around to the right to see the cheap gas side): Chevron Street View We saw something similar at a 76 in Fresno. The 76 pumps were more expensive than the "EZ TRIP" pumps which had no "76" branding on them. The cheap prices were posted on a separate sign. (Which do you think the rental car got?) The cynic in me wonders if they have two sets of tanks... that'd be six or eight tanks for one station (Chevron 87, Chevron 91, Chevron Diesel, Generic 87, Generic 91, Generic Diesel, plus Chevron and Generic 89 if those aren't blended from the regular and premium). It's also sixteen different prices including cash and credit prices! It seems like an awful lot of work and hassle to me. Or are they selling Chevron as generic, or generic as Chevron? This made me curious, as I've seen nothing like that at hundreds of gas stations all over the country... Does anyone have any ideas or knowledge about this setup? As an aside, highly recommend a trip like this. Death Valley was so much more beautiful than I could've guessed (though being 60 degrees rather than 120 helps a lot, I'm sure.) (This was a spur of the moment sort of thing... We got $40 plane tickets to Vegas and rented a car, then drove to Death Valley, Yosemite, and Sequoia NPs. Beautiful country! 1200 miles in three days.)
 

NO2

Messages
950
Location
Michigan
The only difference is an additive pack. Name brand fuels are tightly regulated and they come in their own trucks with their own tanks. But I guess that way they can get the cheap customers and the ones who care about branding, while still selling coffee and snacks.
 
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TmanP

Thread starter
Messages
622
Location
Southern MN & Omaha NE
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Those people in CA are all whack anyways...
laugh Ya know, everyone we met was very pleasant and cordial. The people were all quite nice! You have a beautiful state, too! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
 
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1,271
Location
Muncie, Indiana
Originally Posted by csandste
Aren't Costco additives added at the tank rather than the truck? If other brands will allow this it could be a way to pull this off.
Doesn't most gasoline come from one or a handful of local distributors and the additives they add in the tanks are the only thing that makes them different. If Chevron gas was $.50/gal more I'd buy a bottle of Techron and add a few ounces to your tank and use the cheaper gas.
 
Messages
10,254
Location
MA
Originally Posted by csandste
Aren't Costco additives added at the tank rather than the truck? If other brands will allow this it could be a way to pull this off.
I think it's all up to the buyer of the gas whether they want the additive or not. I think there was a thread here from a guy who did the delivery and he did all that when the tank was filled. I suppose that gas station could have two sets of tanks. One for the branded and one for unbranded. Unbranded is usually cheaper so they buy it from whoever has it cheaper. Branded always has marketing costs and other fees so it's always more money. It's really the same gas with a different additive package. The EPA has a mandated minimum amount of detergents required in gasoline. The assumption that most people make is that the minimum isn't enough but they have no proof that it's true. It's the marketing that makes people think more additives is better. A fool and his money are soon parted at 50 cents a gallon.
 
Messages
18,421
Location
Michigan
Originally Posted by NO2
The only difference is an additive pack. Name brand fuels are tightly regulated and they come in their own trucks with their own tanks. But I guess that way they can get the cheap customers and the ones who care about branding, while still selling coffee and snacks.
You would have to tell that to me local Mobil station.....
 
Messages
426
Location
Daytona Beach
California requires so many different kinds of gasoline. I'm not a bit surprised at this trend. Maybe a few entrepreneurs from the south got together and split up the pumps. Split the electric bill etc. Anyway, I doubt that the station was designed that way from the start. Recent overcapacity is prevalent everywhere in the oil industry these days. As far as adding certain things (additives) to the tank, they would need to be "additional" additives, not required by law. Record keeping on such items are typically tracked in a monthly report to the EPA. I'm gonna call SCAM on the whole affair! California is failing in so many ways it's becoming ridiculous.
 
Messages
22,068
Location
Apple Valley, California
Originally Posted by TmanP
Originally Posted by JeffKeryk
Those people in CA are all whack anyways...
laugh Ya know, everyone we met was very pleasant and cordial. The people were all quite nice! You have a beautiful state, too! [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]
Did you happen to pass through the town of Shoshonee,Ca? Really good and historical restaurant there as well as a museum. Although with whats going on I do not know if either is open.
 
Messages
12,778
Location
Middlesex County CT
Quote
Name brand fuels are tightly regulated and they come in their own trucks with their own tanks.
Never seen a mobil gas tanker; local mobil gas comes via Island Transportation out of New Haven, a petroleum distribution hub. Of course YMMW in your area.
 
Messages
6,029
Location
Florida
Originally Posted by simple_gifts
Quote
Name brand fuels are tightly regulated and they come in their own trucks with their own tanks.
Never seen a mobil gas tanker; local mobil gas comes via Island Transportation out of New Haven, a petroleum distribution hub. Of course YMMW in your area.
Evidently Pilot is the only name brand gas because that's the only branded tanker I've ever seen.
 
Messages
2,248
Location
Ottumwa, Iowa
So much missinformation in this thread. All gasoline sold in the us had an EPA regulated amount of additive in it added at the terminal and has tracers that can be used to check dosage rate. It is documented and spot tested. No gasoline is legitimately delivered to any that is not fully documented. If someone is adding additives at the station that is in addition to the EPA required amount. Truck drivers are not a good source of information on the products they are hauling. All a trucker knows for certain is what the dispatcher told them to do. Some of them may know what they are talking about and many do not. Many of them think they know everything about anything. Those are the ones that tend to drive away with hoses and cables still hooked to their truck. I know I am not the most knowledgeable person on this but I can spot most of the BS about fuel since I work in the industry now. (and now that I read that again it sounds just like something that someone who is full of BS would say but you get what you pay for.)
 
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Messages
16,424
Location
...
Originally Posted by jhellwig
So much missinformation in this thread. All gasoline sold in the us had an EPA regulated amount of additive in it added at the terminal and has tracers that can be used to check dosage rate. It is documented and spot tested. No gasoline is legitimately delivered to any that is not fully documented. If someone is adding additives at the station that is in addition to the EPA required amount. Truck drivers are not a good source of information on the products they are hauling. All a trucker knows for certain is what the dispatcher told them to do. Some of them may know what they are talking about and many do not. Many of them think they know everything about anything. Those are the ones that tend to drive away with hoses and cables still hooked to their truck. I know I am not the most knowledgeable person on this but I can spot most of the BS about fuel since I work in the industry now. (and now that I read that again it sounds just like something that someone who is full of BS would say but you get what you pay for.)
This might be true for 49 states but this is California. Don't they require their own special blend of gasoline per their state EPA?
 
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1,648
Location
USA
If additives are added at the station, how do they shake it up? When you read on Chevron's site about their gas, you have to expect what is bought at their station has those qualities. The off brand side, well whatever is the minimum by law probably.
 
Messages
2,248
Location
Ottumwa, Iowa
Originally Posted by PimTac
Originally Posted by jhellwig
So much missinformation in this thread. All gasoline sold in the us had an EPA regulated amount of additive in it added at the terminal and has tracers that can be used to check dosage rate. It is documented and spot tested. No gasoline is legitimately delivered to any that is not fully documented. If someone is adding additives at the station that is in addition to the EPA required amount. Truck drivers are not a good source of information on the products they are hauling. All a trucker knows for certain is what the dispatcher told them to do. Some of them may know what they are talking about and many do not. Many of them think they know everything about anything. Those are the ones that tend to drive away with hoses and cables still hooked to their truck. I know I am not the most knowledgeable person on this but I can spot most of the BS about fuel since I work in the industry now. (and now that I read that again it sounds just like something that someone who is full of BS would say but you get what you pay for.)
This might be true for 49 states but this is California. Don't they require their own special blend of gasoline per their state EPA?
It is still gonna be done the same way. States can go above and beyond federal regulations but not under.
 
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5,876
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted by NO2
The only difference is an additive pack. Name brand fuels are tightly regulated and they come in their own trucks with their own tanks. But I guess that way they can get the cheap customers and the ones who care about branding, while still selling coffee and snacks.
I rarely see any tanker trucks with any brand name other than of a hauling company. It used to be fairly common around here, but not any more. The brand names just contract with these haulers more or less. The biggest one I see here is Kenan Advantage. They bought out the big regional hauler (Beneto) a few years back. [Linked Image from thetruckersreport.com]
 
Messages
5,876
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted by blufeb95
Originally Posted by csandste
Aren't Costco additives added at the tank rather than the truck? If other brands will allow this it could be a way to pull this off.
Doesn't most gasoline come from one or a handful of local distributors and the additives they add in the tanks are the only thing that makes them different. If Chevron gas was $.50/gal more I'd buy a bottle of Techron and add a few ounces to your tank and use the cheaper gas.
That's more or less how it's done. Fuel distribution is more like a symphony where everything works because so many people together. The "distributor" is typically a major pipeline operator such as Colonial or Kinder Morgan. It's actually more like banking and/or an ATM network. Chevron might pay Kinder Morgan a certain amount per gallon to "transport" X amount of 91 octane premium that their customers all over a region. Then it's up to Kinder Morgan to provide that amount of fuel to Chevron's customers at various fuel terminals. It may not be the same fuel. It may be the fuel from several different refineries blended with each other. The fuel that Chevron sends to Kinder Morgan may barely travel and be sent to another customer. Chevron doesn't care as long as its customers receive that amount of a 91 octane commodity fuel. For example, here's the Kinder Morgan terminal in the Watson neighborhood of Long Beach, California. They mention Shell Carson, which is really just a distribution terminal. Shell no longer has a refinery in California.
Quote
https://www.kindermorgan.com/pages/business/products_pipelines/watson.aspx Watson Station 20410 S. Wilmington Ave. Long Beach, CA 90810 (323) 636-4447 Terminal Specifications: 19.3 total acres 18 refined petroleum products tanks Total Tank Capacity: 1,049,054 barrels Major Roadways: I-405, I-710 and E. Del Amo Blvd Inbound Receipt Modes: Chevron El Segundo to Watson 20" DESC San Pedro to Watson 10" Shell Carson to Watson 16" Tesoro to Watson 16" Phillips to Watson 20" ExxonMobil to Watson 16" KMI Sepulveda Junction to Watson 16" Outbound Delivery Modes: KMI 24"/20" pipeline to Colton KMI 16" pipeline toColton KMI 16" pipeline to San Diego
 
Messages
5,876
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted by jhellwig
So much missinformation in this thread. All gasoline sold in the us had an EPA regulated amount of additive in it added at the terminal and has tracers that can be used to check dosage rate. It is documented and spot tested. No gasoline is legitimately delivered to any that is not fully documented. If someone is adding additives at the station that is in addition to the EPA required amount.
That's not required. An additive has to be added before it reaches the retail customer. Costco has a specific blending system using their proprietary additive that Lubrizol developed for them. They get the additive transported to their stations periodically and then it's metered when they receive their deliveries. This was back when they called it "Clean Power", but it's still the same system.
Quote
http://soniasorensen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Costco-T-C2-CUPA-2013.pdf Automated Injection System • "Batch Controller" in data hut controls the metering and dispensing system. • Attendant keys total fuel gallons immediately prior to each delivery. • Additive automatically injected at ~3.25 gallons per delivery. • Additive is mixed with the fuel by the delivery agitation. • System has run successfully since April 2011. • All equipment has manufacturers' confirmation of compatibility with Clean Power. • Leak detection and liquid sensors confirmed to work with the additive by Ken Wilcox & Assoc., and already added to LG 113. • Costco's application complies with June 1, 2012 regulation change to Title 23, CCR Section 2631.
I looked up the last part, and it's about California regulations on underground storage tanks.
 
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