Auto Club Cautions Drivers Who Cross Border To Buy Gas

(LOS ANGELES, July 7, 2008) – High U.S. gasoline prices have convinced some Southern Californians to cross the Mexican border to purchase gasoline or diesel fuel at lower prices. The Automobile Club of Southern California is cautioning motorists that long-term purchase and use of this fuel may harm the vehicle.

“Mexican gasoline is produced with a formula that includes a higher sulfur content than U.S. and California grade gasoline, and since our vehicles have been engineered to operate on domestic grade gasoline, ongoing use of gasoline from across the border may harm the engine’s emission control systems and cause them to fail Smog Check,” said Steve Mazor, manager of the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center. “You may save money in the short term, but there could be larger repair bill waiting for you down the road.”

There have also been news reports that high demand for Mexican gasoline have caused some gas stations south of the border to limit purchases or to shut down completely after running out of gasoline.

Drivers can generate significant savings on gasoline simply by changing the way they drive and maintain their vehicle, Mazor added.

The Auto Club distributes a brochure called the Gas Watchers Guide that provides gas saving tips, including the following:
  • Slow down. The faster a vehicle travels, the more fuel it burns. Adopt a ‘gentler’ driving style. Avoid jackrabbit starts. Accelerate gently.
  • Minimize the need to brake by anticipating traffic conditions. Be alert for slowdowns and red lights ahead of you and decelerate by coasting whenever possible.
  • Make sure the gas cap is the right one for your car. A poorly-fitted gas cap causes engine problems, increases emissions, cuts fuel economy and causes the check engine light to come on in new vehicles.

The Automotive Research Center of the Automobile Club of Southern California located in Diamond Bar, California, and has been performing emissions testing since the early 1970s. The ARC features state-of-the-art facilities and equipment operated by Auto Club research technicians.