Has your engine been running rough? Has your fuel efficiency mysteriously dropped?
These are often the signs of poor fuel quality. Similar to the way our bodies need clean food to function properly, fueling your vehicle with top-tier gas can improve fuel economy, help your engine run smoother, and ultimately last longer.
If you’ve been wondering which gas stations have the best quality gas in Canada, then you’re in the right place.
Below, I’ll give you a quick breakdown of fuel quality and octane ratings, then list some of the gas stations with the best quality gas in Canada.
Difference In Fuel Quality Between Different Gas Stations
Given how strictly regulated the energy industry is, you’d think that all gasoline would be the same.
However, this isn’t always the case. Just because a barrel of gas meets the minimum standards doesn’t mean that it’s the best for your car.
Some of the reasons for differences in quality between stations include:
- Source of Crude Oil The Gas Is Refined From: Crude oil can come from different sources, each with its own impurities and qualities
- The Fuel Refining Process: Different refineries might have slightly different refining processes, affecting the fuel’s final composition
- Fuel Additives: Branded gas stations such as Shell and Petro-Canada often feature proprietary additives designed to improve engine performance and lifespan
- Fuel Tanks: Fuel storage conditions at the station, including how often tanks are filled and the age and cleanliness of those tanks, can also affect fuel quality
- Regulations: While there are national and provincial regulations on fuel quality, they often set minimum standards, which means some gas stations may exceed those standards while others merely meet them
- Pricing: Often, but not always, higher-priced fuel from established providers may offer better quality or more additives.
- Gas Pumps: Outdated gas pumps may have dirty lines or may allow more air into your fuel tank, which can cause interruptions in fuel systems
Aside from the fuel quality itself, many customers also value other features, such as the quality of the gas stations’ convenience stores, car washes, in-store cafe/deli, and overall customer service.
- Related Reading: Best Energy Stocks In Canada To Invest In
Premium Fuel And Octane Value
Whenever you pull up to the gas pump, you’ll typically have the option to choose between several different types of gas, denoted by a number. This number represents the octane value of the fuel.
The octane rating measures the gasoline’s ability to withstand compression before igniting and indicates a fuel’s resistance to engine knocking or pinging, which can cause engine damage.
Some vehicles require fuel with a specific type of octane rating, while others can operate smoothly using any octane rating. Your owner’s manual should outline which type of fuel is best for your engine.
The most common octane values you’ll see offered by many gas stations are:
- Regular Gas: 87 octane
Mid-Grade Gas: 89 octane
Premium Gas: 91 to 94 octane
The Highest Quality Gas Stations In Canada
From competitive prices, good coffee, and well-stocked convenience stores to cutting-edge fuel additives, these are some of the top gas stations in Canada. ,
- Locations in Canada: 1,300+
- Rewards program: Yes – Shell GO+
- Notable for: Top-tier fuel additives
With over 1,300 gas stations spread throughout the country, Shell is one of the leading fuel providers in Canada and is known for its high-quality gasoline and extensive service network.
When it comes to high-octane fuel, Shell is one of the best in the game.
All premium-grade fuel from Shell is infused with the company’s unique Nitrogren-Enriched Cleaning System, or Nitro+ additive, which has been proven to clean critical engine parts and remove gunky deposits that rob performance.
Almost any convenience store can open a Shell franchise to sell fuel, so convenience store experiences can differ a lot. I’ve been to some Shell locations that have great convenience stores, as well as some that aren’t that great.
A number of Shell gas stations also feature laser car washes and allow you to pay for your car wash at the pump. This is a great way to wash all the road salt off your undercarriage and prevent rust during the winter.
- Rewards program: No, but discounts from Costco membership
- Notable for: Affordable, top-tier gas
If you’re already a Costco member, then you’re already aware of how much you can save by buying in bulk and taking advantage of Costco’s “secret” pricing codes.
There are currently over 100 Costco warehouses located in Canada, some of which also feature a Costo gas station.
Firstly, Costco gas is some of the cheapest gas I’ve ever purchased. On average, I save at least several cents per litre. Its cheap prices don’t mean cheap quality, though.
In fact, Costco has some excellent quality gas and has gone to extensive measures to test fuel quality and develop additives designed to keep your engine running smoothly.
The only disadvantage is that Costco gas is for Costco members only. In my opinion, a Costco membership is well worth the annual membership fee, especially if you’re using it for fuel.
- Related Reading: Is A Costco Membership Worth It?
- Locations in Canada: 1,500+
- Rewards program: Yes – Petro-Points
- Notable for: Tactrol fuel additive (included in all fuel grades)
Petro-Canada has remained one of the top gas stations in Canada since its launch in the 1970s. With more than 1,500 sites spread throughout major cities and rural towns alike, this gas station has one of the largest presences in the country.
The gas station offers diesel fuel as well as regular, mid-grade, and premium fuel. All of its branded gasoline grades contain Tactrol, which is designed to keep engines clean and running smoothly, especially in the low-temperature climate Canada experiences in the winter.
Unlike Shell, which only puts its additive in premium fuel, Petro-Canada infuses all of its branded gasoline grades with its cleaning additive, so nobody is left out.
Fuel quality aside, Petro-Canada convenience stores are usually well-stocked and have good quality.
You can sign up for the Petro-Points loyalty program, which allows you to earn points for fuel and store purchases, which can later be exchanged for discounts.
Petro-Canada also offers a dedicated credit card, which can help you save even more if you’re willing to make it your primary gas station.
- Locations in Canada: 2,000+
- Rewards program: Yes – Speedpass+
- Notable for: Having lots of locations
Owned by industry giant ExxonMobil, Esso is a well-recognized name in Canada that’s known for its high-quality gasoline.
Esso’s premium grades contain ExxonMobil’s patented engine cleaning additives, which are specifically engineered to perform well in the northern hemisphere.
Most Esso locations aren’t large, as they’re primarily located in and around city centres where space is limited. However, they provide reliable-quality gasoline at competitive prices, so I can’t complain.
Additionally, many Esso locations have a Tim Hortons inside, which is one of my favourite fast-food spots if I’m looking for a cheap, hot breakfast sandwich.
- Locations in Canada: 700+
- Rewards program: Yes – Journie
- Notable for: Large gas stations, good prices
Particularly prevalent in Eastern Canada, Ultramar is a name you can count on for quality gasoline.
Ultramar fuels are engineered to meet the diverse needs of modern vehicles, and all grades contain its patented UltraMax fuel cleaning additive.
One thing I like about Ultramar locations is that they’re usually quite spacious. This makes them a great choice for truckers, those travelling in an RV, or who are towing a trailer.
If you visit Ultramar gas stations frequently, I also recommend signing up for its Journie rewards program.
The app is free to download and helps you keep track of purchases and earn points that can be used for fuel discounts, in-store discounts, and even the occasional “free gift.”
- Locations in Canada: 2,200+
- Rewards program: Yes – Speedpass+ (same as Esso)
- Notable for: Large stores, high-quality fuel, lube stations
Mobil’s fuels are specifically engineered for high performance and come from the same pedigree as Esso and all other ExxonMobile fuel brands.
Mobil also offers excellent-quality motor oil, and some Mobil gas stations include a lube shop where you can drive in for a quick oil change.
Like Esso, Mobil gas stations are part of the ExxonMobil family. This means that customers can use the same Speedpass+ rewards program at both gas stations, which is a great way to build up your points and earn rewards faster.
The main difference between the two is that Mobil locations are generally a bit larger than Esso gas stations.
They usually have more pumps and larger convenience stores and are often found outside busy urban areas. Other than that, they offer the same great fuel and customer service.
- Locations in Canada: 900+
- Rewards program: Yes – Hometown Rewards
- Notable for: One of the largest gas stations in Eastern Canada
Like Ultramar, you’ll primarily find Irving gas stations in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic provinces.
Although Irving doesn’t have any special high-tech names for its detergent fuel additives, the company claims that its fuels contain 2.5-times the minimum required by law.
This gas station is also known for supporting local teams and community initiatives, which is another good reason to give them your business.
Space-wise, Irving gas stations are generally roomy, offer a great selection of snacks and drinks, and some even carry local brands.
8. Canadian Tire Gas +
- Locations in Canada: 280+
- Rewards program: Yes – Canadian Tire Money/Triangle Rewards
- Notable for: Auto accessories, rewards program
Canadian Tire Gas+ is an extension of the iconic Canadian Tire retail chain.
These gas stations are a one-stop shop for all things automotive, and the chain’s stores include a wide range of car accessories and seasonal items that you might need for daily driving or on a long road trip.
The fuel quality is excellent. While Canadian Tire Gas+ doesn’t refine its own gas, it usually purchases oil from Shell and other top-tier refiners. This means that you can expect similar quality and prices.
One of the main reasons I like fueling up at Canadian Tire Gas+ is that I can use my Canadian Tire Money loyalty program for both fuel and tire purchases, which helps me earn rewards points and freebies a lot quicker than at other gas stations.
9. Super Save Gas Station
- Locations in Canada: 40+
- Rewards program: j
- Notable for: High-quality, affordable gas in B.C.
Super Save gas stations can primarily be found in Western Canada, particularly around Vancouver and throughout B.C. Living in Vancouver, I’ve filled my tank up at Super Save more times than I can count, and I’ve never had any issues with its fuel.
Even though it’s not been designated as a top-tier gasoline provider, all of its fuel grades include detergent additives, and you can purchase regular, mid-grade, and premium fuel, depending on what your car needs.
Super Save’s convenience stores are also very well-stocked, and you can find some great deals on coffee, breakfast items, and other small snacks.
Is Premium Gas Worth It?
Higher octane ratings (typically 87, 89, and 91+) mean the fuel has more resistance to premature ignition. High-performance engines often require higher octane fuel to prevent knocking.
Aside from high-performance cars, everyday commuters can also reap several benefits from premium gasoline, including:
- Keeps fuel systems clean and reduces engine deposits (especially when additives are present)
- Improved fuel economy
- Reduced wear on piston rings and cylinder walls in the engine
- Improved engine performance
Using a higher octane fuel than your engine needs doesn’t always boost performance.
However, using a lower octane fuel than your engine requires can have detrimental effects on engine performance.
If you accidentally do this or have to in an emergency, mechanics often recommend professionally cleaning your fuel system afterwards.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Gas Station In Canada?
I’m not an expert on fuel science by any means. However, Shell, Petro-Canada, and Costco have always provided me with reliable fuel.
Personally, I try to buy gas from Costco whenever I can since it has the best prices by far. However, there also aren’t many Costco gas stations in Canada.
If you want to save even more money on fuel, it can help to use a rewards credit card in addition to the gas stations’ loyalty rewards program.
This way, you can earn cash back on your fuel purchases and loyalty points that can be used to save on future gas purchases.
If you’re not comfortable opening a credit card, you can also earn cashback with the KOHO prepaid cashback debit card. You can read my full review here!