1996 Lexus ES 300 Long Term Road Test

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1996 Lexus ES 300: Off Brand Vs. Major Brand Gas

November 01, 2012

Lexus Gas Photo.jpg

"I'd never buy gas at --" fill in the blank. Yes, we've all heard this from friends and family from time to time. So we decided to set up an informal test. For the past month we've filled our 1996 Lexus ES300 on 87 octane gasoline from so-called off-brand gas stations. We wanted to see if there was a drop off in performance or fuel economy. Next month we will only fill it with 87 octane from the big boys, those companies that say their gas is better because it contains a secret sauce with a high-tech name.

This month we got an average of 23.9 mpg over almost 1,000 miles. The previous month, running 91 octane we got 24.9 mpg over 1,800 miles. Yes, we know, we're mixing apples and oranges (or, in this case, regular vs. premium). And then there are different driving styles and conditions to account for the variation.

Anyone out there think there is a difference between the gas from indies and the majors? Or is it, as a friend cynically suggested, "all just marketing."

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 150,689 miles

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