Should you opt for premium gas

Should You Opt for Premium Gas?

When you pull up to the pump, you probably see two, perhaps three grades of gasoline.
Regular gas is generally 87 octane, plus or the middle grade is 89 octane, while premium gas is usually 91 octane or higher. The higher the octane, the better your car will run. At least that is the thought most consumers have.
For the record premium gas doesn’t mean higher quality gas, rather it is a measurement of the speed at which gas burns. Higher octane gas burns slower which reduces engine knock. However, over the past ten years all new cars have anti-knock sensors included which are computer controlled and reduce or eliminate knocking.
Sensors found on today’s cars control the distribution of fuel when it is ignited. Most cars are programed to run on 87 octane while some of the super charged models require 91 octane. Even in those latter cases, engines can adjust for lower octane – you just lose some of your power.
Another reason why some consumers choose a higher grade of gasoline is that they believe that their engines will run cleaner. Yet, federal law requires that a certain amount of detergents be includes in gasoline no matter the grade.
Some motorists who have purchased a new car that runs on premium gasoline think that shifting to a lower grade once in awhile will damage the engine. That is a wrong supposition – only power may be impacted as could a very slight decrease in fuel mileage be the result. However, to be safe, use whatever grade of fuel is recommended in your owner’s manual – just don’t worry about using a lower grade of gas on occasion if the owner’s manual calls for premium.
As you probably know, the price differential between regular and premium gasoline is usually 20-30 cents. For a vehicle with a 15 gallon fuel tank that can mean a surcharge of $3.00 to $4.50 per fill up if you select premium gasoline. Fill up once weekly and could be paying $156 to $234 extra per year for a grade of gasoline that makes absolutely no difference to your car’s engine.

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