High Octane Fuel Myth or Fact?
Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money. Premium gas costs 15-20 cents per gallon more than regular.. Studies indicate that altogether, drivers may be spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year for higher octane gas than they need.
It may seem like buying higher octane “premium” gas is better for engine performance, but take note: the recommended gasoline for most cars is regular octane. If you car recommends regular fuel than putting a higher octane will be a waste of money. It won't make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage, or run cleaner.
The only time you might need to switch to a higher octane level is if your car engine knocks when you use the recommended fuel. This doesn’t happen too often. But if it does, than put a higher grade.
What are octane ratings?
Octane ratings measure a gasoline's ability to resist engine knock — a rattling or pinging sound that results from premature ignition of the compressed fuel-air mixture in one or more cylinders. Most gas stations offer three octane grades: regular (87 octane), mid-grade (89 octane), and premium (92 octane). The ratings are posted on on the gas tank near the nozzle to put gas.
What's the right octane level for your car?
Check your owner's manual. Regular octane is recommended for most cars. However, some cars with high compression engines, like sports cars and certain luxury cars, need mid-grade or premium gasoline to prevent knocking.
Will higher octane gasoline clean your engine better?
No. High octane gasoline doesn’t outperform regular octane in preventing engine deposits from forming, in removing them, or in cleaning your car's engine. This is a myth. Save your money.
Should you ever switch to a higher octane gasoline?
A few older car engines may knock or ping even if you use the recommended octane. If this happens, try switching to the next highest octane grade. In most cases, switching to the mid-grade or premium-grade gasoline will eliminate the knock. If the knocking or pinging continues after one or two fill-ups, something else may be going on with your engine. After the issue is repaired, go back to the lowest octane grade at which your engine runs without knocking.
Will knocking harm my engine?
Occasional light knocking or pinging won't harm your engine, and doesn't mean you need a higher octane. But a heavy or persistent knock can lead to engine damage.