Why Premium Gas Is Worthless

Lots of people buy premium gas when the car doesn’t call for it. You’d think that treating your car to better gas will result in it running better. In reality, that isn’t the case. Unless your car was designed for it, more expensive gas doesn’t make your car last longer, produce more power, or even have better emissions. Sadly, it’s just money down the drain.

So what is premium gas anyway? Premium gas has a higher octane rating. Generally everything else is the same. What is octane? Octane is a measurement of how much fuel can be compressed before it spontaneously ignites. While the fuel is supposed to burn in the engine, spontaneous burning is very bad. It causes all sorts of problems, like engine knock, premature engine wear, and other issues.

The higher the octane rating, the more it can be compressed. The more it can be compressed, the more power you can make. But guess what? The amount an engine compresses fuel is fixed (in most cases) from the engine geometry. So, if your engine isn’t designed for it and doesn’t have higher compression, it runs exactly the same

What if your car does call for it? Then it’s best to use the expensive fuel. Cheap gas can cause spontaneous burning. As mentioned, this is a problem. The electronics in some cars require high octane gas to compensate for lower quality gas (with lower power and worse fuel efficiency). However, not every car has good enough electronics to do this and it’s hard to identify if your car is one of the cars with good enough electronics to compensate. It’s better to be safe than sorry and use the more expensive fuel. Otherwise you could be risking engine damage.

How do you know if it’s designed for it? Check your gas cap. There’s almost always a label on cars that require expensive gas.


*check the average fuel station to see what % of premium fuel is sold

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