Frequently Asked Questions

TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline Program FAQ’s

How do I become a TOP TIER™ gasoline marketer?

There are a few steps involved and they are outlined below. 

Step 1: Contact the Center for Quality Assurance (email TopTier@CenterForQA.com) to obtain the forms and information for becoming a TOP TIER™ Licensee.  

Step 2: Contact your fuel supply terminal to inquire about available TOP TIER™ detergency formulations and from which additive company. If your terminal does not supply TOP TIER™ Detergency Gasoline, contact CQA to arrange an approved additive company to work with your terminal.   

Step 3: Contact the additive company to obtain the additive treat rates and performance testing data for the TOP TIER™ Detergent Gasoline package at your terminal. 

Step 4: Complete and sign the TOP TIER™ license agreement, which includes verification of your exact detergency package type and treat rate for use at your service stations. 

Step 5: Obtain gasoline containing your exact detergency package type and treat rate from terminals supplying your service stations.

Step 6: Display the TOP TIER™ logo at your service stations.

Congratulations! You are now a certified TOP TIER™ Licensee.   

How is the detergency validated to TOP TIER™ Performance Standards?

The detergency package is validated at an independent ISO 17025 certified laboratory by the additive company to the TOP TIER™ Performance Standards (see below). Once the detergency package is validated, the treat rates and performance testing data can be supplied to a fuel marketer for the license agreement. The fuel supply terminal will then supply gasoline with the agreed detergent and treat rate.

TOP TIER TM Performance Testing Chart
Ford 2.3L Intake Valve Deposits
Test Requirement
Base Fuel 500 mg min (avg)
Base Fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB 50 mg max (avg)
Ford 2.3L Combustion Chamber Deposits
Test Requirement
Base Fuel
Base Fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB <140% of base fuel
GM Intake Valve Sticking Test
Test Requirement
Base Fuel + additive (X) at XX PTB 0 max @ 2X TOP TIERTM treat rate
Is TOP TIER™ only for premium gasoline?

No. TOP TIER™ fuel marketers use TOP TIER™ for all octane grades of gasoline sold at their stations. So all grades provide enhanced cleaning power.

What does it cost to sign up for the TOP TIER™ program?

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

If I already use a high detergency rate, why can’t I just say I’m TOP TIER™?

The TOP TIER™ program is not just about a high detergency rate. It is a robust engine cleanliness and performance specification validating the specific chemistry within the detergent package. If a fuel marketer successfully completes all of the engine and fuel injector testing required in the TOP TIER™ specification, they can claim to be TOP TIER™.

Do the automotive sponsors decide who can be TOP TIER™ certified?

No. Any fuel marketer can become a TOP TIER™ Licensee by successfully completing the steps outlined in the first question. 

Can I have only my high volume gas stations be TOP TIER™ certified and not all of them?

No. The fuel marketer cannot select only certain service stations to be TOP TIER™ certified. All stations under a licensed fuel marketer’s brand name or franchise name must use the specified TOP TIER™ additives and detergency treat rate.

What if my terminal will not supply a TOP TIER™ level of detergency? How do I become TOP TIER™ certified?

If a terminal will only supply LAC detergent level, there are several options. If the detergent additive available at the terminal has been TOP TIER™ performance tested and approved at a higher treat rate, then an additional amount of the detergent additive would need to be added to meet the approved TOP TIER™ treat rate. In this case, the fuel marketer would need to provide verification that they always supply the additional amount of the approved TOP TIER™ detergent to their service stations in order to meet the TOP TIER™ treat rate. Another option is to work with the terminal to determine what would need to be done to ensure the TOP TIER™ detergent treat rate would be provided. Alternatively, another terminal that is TOP TIER™ compliant could be used.

Can I advertise that I am better than TOP TIER™ if I use 5x the EPA detergent concentration?

The TOP TIER™ program is not just about a higher detergency rate - it also validates effectiveness of the chemistry of the detergent. It is a robust engine cleanliness and performance specification. Merely adding more detergent does not necessarily mean a fuel is better. Fuel marketers can meet the TOP TIER™ specification requirements and offer TOP TIER™ certified gasoline by using approved detergency additives at approved treat rates and becoming licensed.

If I increase my treat rate above the rate in my TOP TIER™ 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. You are allowed to use up to three times that specific minimum detergent treat rate per the license agreement. Any concentration above 3X the license agreement amount would require performance testing to that treat rate.

If I co-mingle my fuel tanks that use different fuels with different TOP TIER™ approved additives, do I need to provide performance test data on the combined fuel?

That depends. If both of the fuels contain the TOP TIER™ approved additives at the approved treat rate prior to co-mingling, the test data provided for each fuel is sufficient. However, adding TOP TIER™ approved additives after co-mingling does not necessarily mean the combined fuel is at the TOP TIER™ treat rates which passed all of the required engine and fuel injector performance testing. Depending on the situation, additional testing may be required on the combined fuel.

If the TOP TIER™ performance tests change, do I need to run new performance test data and submit results?

The additive companies supplying detergency additives will run the detergency additive packages on the new tests and provide you with approved treat rates and performance test data. Engine technology changes over time. If the TOP TIER™ program performance testing requirements change, the specified detergent additives will need to be run using those new tests in order to be considered for a TOP TIER™ license. 

How do consumers know I am selling TOP TIER™ gasoline?

Once you become TOP TIER™ licensed, your licensed brand names will be added to the TOP TIER™ website (www.TopTierGas.com) and you will be able to display the TOP TIER™ logo at your service stations and advertise that you are TOP TIER™ licensed.