Answer: Wow, a mother-in-law that is anti-technology, but has an opinion as to the differences between gasolines! I’m not sure if I want to get in the middle of this one…but I will.
In very simple terms, all gasoline is in fact the same, no matter where it comes from. Since 1994 the federal government has mandated minimum standards to prevent deposits from forming in our engines. What differentiates one brand from another is the “additive packages.” Since the content of these “additive packages” are proprietary, it’s hard to say if one brand is better than another. Most tests show that over the very long term (over 100,000 miles), there can be a difference in how well these additives work, but most experts agree that you can achieve the same results by adding a couple of cans of engine cleaner to your fuel tank at 100,000 miles.
Here’s where it gets even more convoluted. In 2004 several car manufacturers including GM, VW, BMW, Toyota, and Honda created their own fuel standards that are tougher than federal standards. The gasolines that meet these standards are referred to as “Top Tier” gasolines. As expected, you will find well-known retailers such as Chevron, Shell, and Texaco on the list. But surprise, surprise…you will also find much lesser known names such as Aloha, Quick Trip, and Rebel on this exclusive list.
Now I just know you’re waiting to tell me that the other major retailers such as BP, Gulf and Amoco must be on this list. But they are not. And neither is Hess! That’s one for your mother-in-law.
So what does all of this mean? Gasoline is gasoline. The additives may or may not differentiate one brand from another. However, one thing is for sure. If your father-in-law has a brand loyalty to Hess, then regardless of the quality of their gasoline, their marketing is certainly working.