If you’re like many drivers, the choice you make at the gas station is simple and you buy regular, unleaded gasoline. But have you ever wondered what the difference is between each octane and why some spend more to fill up with premium? Most gas stations offer three octane levels: regular (about 87), mid-grade (about 89) and premium (91 to 93) but we’ve broken down the facts about each so you can make the right choice at the pump.
WHY USE REGULAR INSTEAD OF PREMIUM GAS?
One obvious difference is the price. According to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration premium fuel nationally averages about 60 cents more per gallon than regular gasoline, and 25 cents more than midgrade gas.
CAN I SWITCH FROM PREMIUM TO REGULAR GAS?
Cars are designed to run best with a specific type of fuel. A higher octane gas won’t ignite as quickly, which explains why high-performance cars with high compression engines often require higher octane gas. Engines that take higher octane fuel tend to work more efficiently and emit less emissions and exhaust. It is important to use the required octane for your specific car. Using the right octane level can prevent damage to your car’s engine and help it run at maximum efficiency. If you use a lower than recommended level, the gas may combust too fast for your engine. That can cause the engine to make a knocking noise. In addition to this unwanted noise, a lower than recommended gas can also reduce your car’s power and fuel economy and cause engine damage.
When it comes to the opposite—using a fuel with a higher octane rating than recommended—the risk of danger is lower. The general consensus is that using premium gas when your car can run on regular gas doesn’t deliver any extra benefits when it comes to engine life, fuel economy or reduced emissions.
If your engine uses higher compression ratios, typically you will need to use higher octane-rated gas. Your owner’s manual will let you know what gas is best for your car model, or look inside your fuel door; it should have a sticker showing your car’s fuel requirements.
If your car requires premium fuel, the sticker will read “Premium Unleaded Fuel Only” as well as the octane level required; some models will simply note “Premium Fuel Recommended.”
DOES PREMIUM GAS LAST LONGER?
If your car’s manual simply states to use “premium” or “premium recommended” you may want to test the different premium levels to see how your car’s performance changes. You can do this by getting your gas tank to the quarter level, or lower, and fill up with one of the premium grades. Keep a log to track your gas mileage while driving with the different premium gas octanes. Test the different octane levels and pay attention to how your car feels and sounds while driving; also note any differences in acceleration rate.
To improve your car’s overall performance drive it more efficiently. For example, don’t floor the gas when taking off from a red light or stop sign. When driving distances, highway mileage, drive at a consistent fashion without making quick accelerations.
About Spirit West Motor Carriage
Spirit West Motor Carriage Auto Body Repair is a family-owned and operated company founded in April 1977. We take great pride in teamwork and our commitment to making sure our team receives training on the latest innovative state-of-the-art equipment and collision repair techniques.
We are proud to say our team is family and we treat our customers like family, too. Be assured that your car will receive this treatment, and upon completion of the repairs, you will drive away safe and satisfied!
Give us a call today or stop by the shop to see how we can get your car back into shape and back on the road. Spirit West Motor Carriage 610 Park Lane Manchester, MO 63021 Mon-Fri 7:30am – 5:30pm, (636) 394-1712
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