The highest priced regular gas in San Diego County on June17 was found at the 76 station in Coronado, at $4.59 a gallon — wait, one station in Rancho Santa Fe posts a much higher price — $8.99 a gallon.
The station, at the corner of La Flecha and Via de Santa Fe, is one of the few in the state can dispense racing fuel to the general public — 95 and 100 octane. “I believe there are other stations in El Cajon, PB, and Vista, but we’re the only ones in the state that is licensed to sell 95 octane,” said manager Steven.
Steven’s station also happens to be one of the few Sunoco dealers in the West, and the only one in California. The chain is most popular in the Midwest and South. Sunoco is the official racing fuel of NASCAR, IndyCar, and the NHRA (dragsters).
Are there any production cars on the road that need the higher octane? Only one — Bugatti. But at a base price of $1.7 million, one should be able to afford $9/gallon gas.
“We get a lot of race Hondas that are good customers," said Steven. "People on the way to the desert with motorcycles and quads also use it because of the increased horsepower....
“We also get a lot of higher-end, high-compression Mercedes, Porches, and BMWs. They have had the car’s software changed in order to take advantage of the higher horsepower,” he added. Otherwise, a regular car will be virtually unaffected by the higher octane, other than perhaps cleaning out the fuel injectors. But any auto-parts store sells much cheaper gasoline treatments that accomplish the same thing.
Once the car’s fuel-injection system and software are changed, the high-end gas meets the restrictive regulations of the California Air Resources Board.
Historical footnote: Back in the 1950s and ’60s, Hancock stations offered seven octane ratings through a selector dial on their pumps. One could choose from lawnmower gas all the way up to racing fuel.