Pssst! Know The Facts Before Buying Premium Fuel
(RepublicanDaily.org) – If you drive a traditional gas-powered vehicle, you generally confront two options every time you go to buy fuel; regular or premium gas. Many people frequently pick one over the other thinking there might be an advantage. So, is there anything to be gained by paying extra for premium gas?
What’s the Difference Between the Two?
The distinction between regular and premium gas relates to its octane rating. The higher the octane rating of a particular gas product, the more compression it can withstand before detonation. Gas that detonates too soon in the fuel-burning process reduces engine performance and can negatively impact the health of an engine over time.
Regular gas is usually 87 octane, while premium is 91 or higher. High-performance vehicles typically require higher octane fuel. However, that doesn’t mean regular gas is going to harm your vehicle if you use a lower octane occasionally, just avoid pushing your engine to the limit when burning 87.
If your car’s engine has a turbocharger or a high compression ratio, it will obviously run best on a regular diet of higher octane gas. On the other hand, if your car is just a regular vehicle you use to get from point A to point B, chances are you don’t need premium gas and paying extra for it likely won’t bring any benefit. Manufacturers usually design most passenger cars to operate optimally using regular gas. Unless your car’s instruction manual specifically says to use premium, you can avoid paying the increased cost.
High performance isn’t the only factor that calls for premium gas. Some owners of older and heavier cars believe it may provide a benefit. Checking the vehicle’s manual should point you in the right direction; if not, consider researching the make and model of your vehicle online to see what experts recommend.
What Happens If You Should Use Premium, but You Don’t?
If you have a high-performance car that specifies the use of premium gas, the engine’s output can suffer in the short term if you use lower grades. However, you don’t need to be worried about filling up with regular octane occasionally if, say, your local station is out of premium. While older high-performance engines might be susceptible to damage from regular gas, more modern performance cars can automatically adjust their computers to tolerate low-octane fuel now and then. That said, the more you use regular gas, the greater the risk of damage becomes in the long term, so you should limit its use as much as practical.
One final note, some drivers justify using higher octane gas to get better performance and fuel economy in cars that only require regular octane: however, most experts will say that’s not the case.
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