Brand gasoline: worth a few pennies more?


With gas hitting new highs daily, I assumed that most people have taken to shopping for fuel primarily on price; ergo the boom in price-tracking tech on the internet. According to Advertising Age, however, this isn't true.

Apparently, studies have shown that drivers still base their gas buying on the promise of performance benefits rather than cost. The branding efforts such as the Richard Petty STP additives ads for Speedway have convinced motorists that brand-name petrol is better.

Another major driver in the gas market is the relatively new chain store tie-ins in which shoppers gain discounts at the outside gas pump when they shop at Krogers, Wal-Mart and the like.

In my many years of driving, I've frankly never experienced differences in gasoline, branded or independent. I'm much more likely to avoid stations, regardless of brand, that appear run-down, fearing that its tanks are corroded. Beyond that, I'm a price and convenience shopper.

I also sometimes choose based on other considerations- a free, working air source to top off my tires, or the availability of toilets. You'd think that some gas brand would use these to lure customers.

How do you decide where to buy your gas? Price? Convenience? Brand? Lottery tickets?