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TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline Program FAQ’s

Some of these were from new inquires and some were from current licensees and additive companies.

  1. How do I become a TOP TIER (TT) gasoline marketer?

    There are a few steps involved and they are outlined below. These can also be found at the website www.toptiergas.com.

    Step 1: Contact your detergent additive supplier about becoming TOP TIER.

    Step 2: Obtain the TOP TIER performance testing data from your detergent additive supplier.

    Step 3: Submit the TOP TIER performance testing data to the TOP TIER sponsors for review.

    Step 4: Sign the TOP TIER Attestation Form which claims your exact detergent type and treat rate for use at your service stations.

    Step 5: Sign a TOP TIER license agreement.

    Congratulations! You are in the TOP TIER program for 1 year and can renew as desired.

    Performance Testing Chart:

    TEST
    Ford 2.3L Intake Valve Deposits
    REQUIREMENT
     
    Base fuel
    Base fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB
     
    Ford 2.3L Combustion Chamber Deposits
    500 mg min
    50 mg max
     
     
    Base fuel
    Base fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB
     
    Fuel Injector Fouling
     
    <140% of base fuel
     
     
    Base fuel
    Base fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB
     
    GM Intake Valve Sticking
    5 or more
    0 or 1
     
     
    Base fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB
    0 max @ 2x TOP TIER treat rate


  2. Is TT only for my premium gasoline?

    No. TOP TIER fuel marketers use the same detergency treat rate for all octane grades of gasoline sold at their stations.

    Also, TOP TIER gasoline can contain ethanol up to a maximum of 10% by volume. In areas where ethanol is not always used for blending, a TOP TIER gasoline that has passed all performance testing is still qualified as the additive supplier would have tested their product on the appropriate fuel.

  3. What does it cost to sign up for the TT program?

    There is an annual fee based on the number of service stations owned by the fuel marketer.

  4. If I already use a high detergency rate, why can’t I just say I’m TT?

    The TOP TIER program is not just about a high detergency rate. It is about an engine cleanliness and performance specification. If a fuel marketer completes all of the engine and fuel injector testing required in the TOP TIER program and passes, then they can claim to be TOP TIER.

  5. Does GM decide who is TT?

    No. Anyone can join the TOP TIER program. Once a fuel marketer has submitted their performance testing results, the data is reviewed by all of the automotive sponsors against the performance specification limits and is either a Pass or a Fail. If a Pass, the fuel marketer will be given a TOP TIER license agreement.

  6. What does the performance testing cost and who pays for it?

    The performance testing costs will vary depending on the independent ISO 17025 certified lab that is hired to run the tests. The total cost of all testing can be in the range of $25,000 – $30,000. The detergent additive company pays for the testing; they select the treat rate that they think will pass the TOP TIER performance specification limits. Once they have a Pass, they inform their fuel marketing customers of the detergency treat rate required to be in the TOP TIER program. It is then up to the fuel marketers to decide if they want to treat their gasoline at the prescribed detergency treat rate.

  7. Can I have only my high volume gas stations be TT and not all of them?

    No. A TOP TIER license agreement states that all stations under a brand name or franchise name must use the same detergency treat rate. The fuel marketer cannot select only certain service stations to use the TOP TIER detergency treat rate.

  8. Do I need to tell GM if I change my treat rate?

    Yes. The TOP TIER license agreement states a specific detergent treat rate that is good for the term length of the agreement. If there is a change to the treat rate, performance data must be provided and reviewed by the automotive sponsors. A new treat rate that is introduced during the term of a license agreement would require an amendment to the license agreement that would expire at the same date as the original license agreement.

  9. Can I change my additive concentration without notice as long as I keep it higher than my TT treat rate in my license agreement?

    No. The TOP TIER license agreement states a specific detergent treat rate that is good for the term length of the agreement. If there is a change to the treat rate, performance data must be provided and reviewed by the automotive sponsors. A new treat rate that is introduced during the term of a license agreement would require an amendment to the license agreement that would expire at the same date as the original license agreement.

  10. What if my terminal rack will not supply a TT level of detergency? How do I become TT?

    If a terminal will only supply LAC detergent level, there are a couple of options. If the detergent additive has been TOP TIER performance tested and passed at a specific treat rate, then a second level of detergent amount would need to be added to match that TOP TIER treat rate. The fuel marketer would then need to provide verification that they always supply the same TOP TIER detergent treat rate to their service stations in order to apply for a TOP TIER license agreement. A second option is to work with the terminal and discuss any hardware improvements that would need to be made to ensure the TOP TIER detergent rate would be provided to your fuel.

  11. If the terminal rack supplies 30 PTB and I have an approved TT treat rate of 70 PTB, do I need to add 70 PTB to the fuel I received or can I add just 40 PTB to bring the fuel up to the TT treat rate of 70 PTB?

    You need to provide the detergent treat rate stated in your TOP TIER license agreement. However you get to that rate, with validating paperwork, is up to you.

  12. Can I advertise that I am better than TT if I use 5x the EPA detergent concentration?

    "Better” is a relative term. The TOP TIER program is not just about a high detergency rate. It is about an engine cleanliness and performance specification. If a fuel marketer completes all of the engine and fuel injector testing required in the TOP TIER program and passes, then they can obtain a TOP TIER license agreement and be in the program.

  13. If I increase my treat rate above the rate in my TT agreement, do I need to provide performance test data?

    That depends on the level of increase chosen. The TOP TIER license agreement states a specific minimum detergent treat rate which is the "Approved Additive Package" and is good for the term length of the agreement. You are allowed to use up to 3 times that specific minimum detergent treat rate per the license agreement.

  14. If I co-mingle my fuel tanks that use different fuels with different TT certified detergents, do I need to provide performance test data on the combination of those additives?

    That depends. If both of the fuels should contain the TOP TIER detergent treat rate, that would mean the test data has been provided. However, just using a TOP TIER certified additive does not mean the fuel marketer is using it at the TOP TIER treat rate which passed all of the required engine and fuel injector performance testing. Most likely you would be asked to show gum data for the fuel that you want to declare as TOP TIER and use for completing the performance testing.

  15. If the TOP TIER performance tests change, does everyone need to run new data and submit results?

    Yes. Engine technology is changing, as are vehicle emission requirements. If the TOP TIER program performance tests change, the detergent additives will need to be run in those new tests to be considered for a TOP Tier license agreement.

  16. Why aren’t all of the auto companies listed as sponsors of the TT program?

    There are several fuel quality organizations in the United States and worldwide. Also, the EPA has specifications for emission values based on gasoline quality. The EPA standard is dated back to 1995, and engine technology has certainly changed since then. To ensure optimal engine performance and emission control, cleaner gasoline is better. While gas prices are also a concern, the auto sponsors that currently do support the TOP TIER program feel that cleaner gasoline is always worth the value for improved engine performance, reduced vehicle emissions, and better fuel economy.

  17. How do I know if I am getting TT gasoline?

    Check the website at www.toptiergas.com for a complete list of TOP TIER fuel marketers. They are listed under the tab called "Retailers". Also, some fuel stations will display the TOP TIER detergent gasoline logo.

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