"A steady job and a mutual fund is still the best defense against social security." - Right on the Web

Is ARCO Gas Bad For Your Car or Is It the Same as 76, Exxon, Shell and Chevron?

By , June 12th, 2015 | 15 Comments »

ARCO has a reputation for considerably lower prices for its fuel than other gas stations.  According to ARCO, consumers can average a savings of $0.05-$0.10 per gallon in comparison with other brands of gasoline. How can ARCO possibly offer such a vast price difference in comparison to its competitors? Does this lower price in any way affect ARCO gas quality? Most importantly, is ARCO gas bad for your car? (This is a question that’s often asked about Costco gas quality as well.)

How Is ARCO Gas So Cheap?

It seems that with ARCO, these large price savings can be attributed to many of its business practices. First of all, ARCO has no processing fees for credit cards because they do not accept them. This offers ARCO the savings of about $0.30 per credit card transaction fee which its competitors have to pay.

Conversely, ARCO charges its customers a $0.45 fee per debit card transaction (or they can save this by paying cash). Perhaps this debit card fee is the reason ARCO enjoys a higher gas purchases per customer than its competitors. If a customer is already paying a $0.45 debit card transaction fee, chances are the customer will in turn purchase more gas than they might if they were not paying the transaction fee. This allows ARCO to sell more gas per customer, thus granting them the ability to offer lower gas prices.

With Lower Price Does Not Come Lower Quality

Since the inexpensive gas offered at ARCO comes at a significantly lower price, it has consumers wondering whether or not it’s safe for their vehicles. The federal government has fairly strict guidelines on most things, and gasoline is no exception. There are certain standards for all gasoline sold in the United States, such as octane levels, and the general characteristics that gasoline must possess. Therefore, all gas sold in the United States is basically the same.

The differences in gasoline with the extra detergents and additives different companies add to their gas above and beyond what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires. All gas must contain a certain amount of detergent additives, which are EPA approved. Many companies add even more to differentiate their brand for other gasoline. So the question becomes, is the branded gas from companies like Shell, 76, Exxon and Chevron better than ARCO gas?

Why ARCO Gas Is The Same Or Better

No. While the blend of detergents and additives is different for each company. ARCO gas is on par with other top gas brands in the US.

ARCO offers “Top Tier” gasoline. Top Tier gas is the standard which is recommended by seven of the top automakers in the world, and it a standard even higher than what the EPA requires.

To further ease customers’ minds, Edmunds conducted a study questioning experts in the automotive field. According to findings, consumers are putting their vehicles at no greater risk by putting “cheap” gas into them. Most vehicle owners will not notice any difference in performance by purchasing cheap gas. However, the best advice is to look at your car’s owner’s manual and follow the guidelines given about the best type of gasoline for your particular car.

Regardless of whether you think that ARCO gas isn’t as good as other brands, you can try a “gas hack” which should save you money. In lots of parts of the country you can tank up at the ARCO station, and add quality fuel injector cleaner. Adding this fuel injector cleaner as recommended should address any quality concerns, while still allowing you to buy the cheaper ARCO gas. Just add the injector cleaner when you go to the gas station and you should be good to go.

Consumers today are always looking for a bargain. As prices on most things continue to rise, it is good to know that consumers are not putting their vehicles in jeopardy by taking advantage of savings at the gas pump.

For more places to buy gas and ways to save check out these articles.

Is Costco Gas Quality the Same as Exxon, Shell and Chevron?
Is Safeway Gas Good or Bad for Your Car?
Is It Better to Keep Your Gas Tank Full or Empty?


Get Your FREE Book Now

Enter your name and email address to get your FREE copy of "Guide to Shopping at Costco."

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
What did you think about this article?
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)


  • Dean says:

    I don’t care if they claim to have gas that’s as good as other stations, my car never runs as well on Arco gas as it does with other brands. I get lower gas mileage and the ride isn’t as smooth.

    • Mr who says:

      ignorance is bliss

      • john says:

        My “Scientific data is possibly useless as it is….well….about 18 years old. I had a “Souped up” Volkswagen Beatle. It actually was quite a motor and quite powerful for a Volkswagen Beatle motor.

        It had dual Dellorto carbs (I think. If not it was dual Webbers)and a ported and polished head and special pistons and etc., etc. So one day I’m driving to work and it starts running like CRAP. I did all the work on the car so when I got home I got out all my gauges and made certain that the carbs were in sync. They were in sink and I could find no problems. All the valves were set perfectly, the points were exactly right and new, the air cleaner was also new as was the oil. Couldn’t find a thing wrong.

        So I ran down to the Bug Hot Rod shop and told them of my problem. They asked what kind of gas I put in it. I replied that I had put in ARCO SUPER. I think Super for Arco at that time was 91 octane when all others were 92 octane.

        They said, “Well this should be an easy fix for you then”. “How much gas is in it?”, they asked. I told them about an eighth of a tank. “Good! Go fill it to the brim at the Chevron a few miles up the road with 92 octane and drive back down here.”, they said.

        So I did as instructed. By the time I had driven about a half mile it started running better. By the time I got all the way there it was running perfectly again.

        They told me that Arco didn’t always get their gas from the same sources and that sometimes/often they bought poor quality fuel. After that I ALWAYS used Chevron. To add to this, I worked with a gentleman whose wife was a chemist at Chevron. Her job was to test their fuels and that of their competitors. In her opinion which actually was a rather scientific one, Chevron was absolutely the best fuel money could buy. Period.

        Once again we’re talking eighteen years back. A lot could have changed since then. I just thought I should chime in here. At least at one time the general theory was that Chevron was the best and that you never knew what you may get at Arco.

        Have things changed? Of course that’s very possible. I knew a guy that NEVER ran anything BUT Arco. He drove a Toyota Tercel that had well over three-hundred thousand miles on it. Anecdotal evidence of course but it’s all I got.

        I can’t remember if I’ve ever had any noticeable difference other than the Volkswagen situation. It does make you wonder though. Also, one last thing. It’s meaningless I believe. However, I used to own a couple of personal watercraft and weekly filled several five gallon plastic containers with gas.

        This allowed me to notice that the Arco gas was basically clear, and the Chevron gas was Purple kind of. (I may be a tad color blind) Does that mean anything? Very good question. I couldn’t begin to say.

        I just bought a brand new Honda Fit and I’m not sure if I want to take the chance on Arco. I’ll have to do a lot of Googling and what not to see what the latest tests have found.

        No matter what though, gas that’s much cheaper than everyone else’s gas is a very attractive thing. Especially here in Commufornia. It sucks here politically. Terribly so. We pay the the 1st, 2nd or 3rd highest gas taxes in the country. They just raised it AND the registrations. At least I think it went through.

        It’s not right. The roads totally suck. It’s not unusual at all for me to hit holes and other bullshit on the road that literally make my teeth smack together. I’ve been afraid that maybe I had broken a tooth before. So where’s the money going?

        Anyhow, I’ve probably been of no help whatsoever, but it’s all I got.

    • Berry says:

      I also had car problems the few times I decided to use ARCO. This study sounds like an ARCO employee wrote it because many people have experienced the same result as myself and Dean. I use Chevron mostly and I get far better performance.

  • Lauren says:

    Thanks for sharing this review of Arco gas. Saving money is very helpful, but you definitely want to make sure that you aren’t putting your car at risk.

  • Jon says:

    My fuel pump needs repair so I took it to the shop. When it was ready for pick up. They told me to not used Arco gas anymore because they said my fuel pump got messed up due to from using Arco gas. I’ve been using Arco gas forever because I thought they were popular and cheaper than the others. The mechanics there told me to start using Chevron, 76 or Shell. Those are good quality gas they say. It was quite informative. I started using Chevron and I’ve noticed my car was running smoothly. When I was using Arco gas… there was a big difference and I totally was aware of the two.

  • NEd says:

    It’s amazing what people will “Notice” or “feel” when they are told something. I have ran multiple vehicles, my Harley-Davidson included, on arco gas with ZERO (0) issues. My truck runs exactly the same with Arco. My motorcycle has just as much power with Arco as with any other brand. No fuel pump, filter, rail or injector issues at all. There’s a reason why marketers get paid so much and why so much money is dumped into advertising by companies. just my $0.02.

  • dan chambers says:

    I have used ARCO gas but the last time my car ran rough,had no power,overheated, detonated, and bucked. I will never use ARCO again. My car is carbureted, 327 American V8.

    • don says:

      327 V8 is designed to use 91+ Octane. Anything less and your vehicle will run rougher than designed. Motorcycles (cruisers) use 92 Octane. same issue.

  • Jeff says:

    It’s not that Arco gas is not up to Snuff for keeping your engine running the same way as shell, Chevron, or whatever top tier brand you might use.

    Arco is owned by British Petroleum and for their Arco brand gasoline they only put the government required detergents and additives into the gas. Other Top Gear gas companies actually put other detergents and cleaners in the gasoline that stop carbon build-up to keep your engine running like it should have for a longer period of time.

    If you run Arco gasonline only, add a bottle of Techron cleaner every 3000 miles, you’ll be good.

  • ArcoGasLover says:

    Ive been a long time fan of arco gas. But the last time i filled with arco brand petrol i started noticing something. First my car had a strange humming noise. Next it began to shake violently, followed by a sudden power loss. Just when i thought it was over my engine spontaneously combusted, imploded, then went nuclear. After the fallout i decided that was the last time i would fill using arco gas.

  • Ashton says:

    I have a BMW 3-Series 2008 sedan and I used to use ARCO gas for the longest time. My car had maintenance issues which resulted in me spending most of my time at the tow shop and the garage. My boss said that I am always late to work and fired me. My wife left me and took our kids with her. On the day of our hearing, my car broke down (I had loaded up the fuel tank with ARCO gas the day before then) and I was late to the court. The judge said that I am always late and irresponsible and gave the custody of my kids and my house to my wife. All because of ARCO. Thanks ARCO. NOT!!!

  • Toodles McGumption says:

    Have you ever filled up while (or shortly after) the tanker truck drops off fuel? I have had bad luck getting petrol at these times. I don’t know if the filling process stirs up sediment or water or whatever, but I don’t recommend it. It once cost me a whole day on the slopes after filling up with the bad gas and sequentially breaking down in the middle of nowhere.

  • Big John says:

    I used ARCO gas 6 months ago and my wife of 10 years left me, my dog ran away from home, and I lost my job. I was confused because ARCO has always been a decent alternative fuel to other gas stations. I now roam the streets of Detroit wondering where my next meal will come from and where I’ll take my next sip of water. If only I would’ve gone to Chevron that fateful day 6 months ago, I would’ve become a millionaire and purchased a brand new Lamborghini which I could afford to put premium in.


Leave a Reply


Sign up for the "Saving Advisor" newsletter (Weekly)
Google Plus

Subscribe by email:

Related Articles

Previous Years Articles

Today, last year...

Copyright © 2018 SavingAdvice.com. All Rights Reserved.