Short Answer: Fred Meyer (owned by Kroger) has earned a reputation for the affordable fuel sold at its gas stations, but Fred Meyer fuel is not TOP TIER certified. Although Kroger receives much of its gasoline from Shell, Fred Meyer does not publicly disclose its fuel suppliers or additives. For more details about Fred Meyer’s gas quality, as well as information about how gas quality is determined, see below.
Fred Meyer Gasoline Quality
Fred Meyer operates gas stations at many of its store locations. It offers discounted prices on gasoline, but Fred Meyer gas is not TOP TIER certified (explained below). This makes it difficult to determine the quality of its fuel and additives.
We contacted Fred Meyer customer service for information about the company’s fuel quality, and we were told that the name of its fuel supplier is proprietary information that cannot be disclosed. Kroger is the parent company of Fred Meyer, and we do know that Shell supplies much of Kroger’s gas. However, it is unclear what company or companies supply Fred Meyer gas.
The customer service representative told us that Fred Meyer gasoline comes from “the top tier of suppliers in the nation,” but confirmed that this does not refer to the TOP TIER license that many other gas stations have earned. The representative was also unable to confirm the level and type of additives in Fred Meyer’s gasoline.
Despite the low price point you can find on Fred Meyer gasoline, a study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) suggests that fueling your car with TOP TIER gasoline may be worth paying a few extra cents per gallon, because the higher-quality gas can keep your engine running smoother for longer. AAA recommends factoring in the long-term maintenance savings of using gasoline that is better for your car when you are deciding where to pump.
How Is Gas Quality Determined?
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are countless refineries in the U.S. that take crude oil and refine it into gasoline. Once processed, the gasoline is tested to ensure it meets local, state, and federal specifications.
However, the pipelines through which the finished gasoline travels when it leaves the refineries are shared, resulting in a commingling of gasoline batches of the same octane, which can make rating gas quality difficult at its source. To mitigate the issue of gasoline mix-ups and commingling, many pipelines set quality specifications for the types of fuel that can share the same pipeline.
One of the transportation companies that delivers fuel to Fred Meyer gas stations actually experienced a problem with the commingling of its fuel in 2016, when it accidentally filled unleaded gasoline tanks with diesel fuel. Poor station maintenance can also negatively affect gas quality.
TOP TIER Gasoline
The EPA sets a minimum standard for detergent additives in gasoline, but some companies add more additives than the EPA requires; this gasoline — with the proper formulation of additives — is certified as TOP TIER.
TOP TIER gasoline is not the same as premium gasoline. TOP TIER companies add the deposit control additives to all octane levels: regular, mid-grade, or premium.
It’s important to note that while TOP TIER gasoline has been tested to ensure it meets specific requirements regarding the level and formulation of additives, other companies may also sell gasoline with higher levels of additives and choose not to go through the TOP TIER licensing process. So, while Fred Meyer gasoline is not TOP TIER, the company may have its own additives and testing process for ensuring the quality of its fuel.