When you first began driving and were left on your own to fill up your gas tank, did you ever stop and wonder why there was more than one? Filling a gas tank shouldn’t be difficult, but drivers are all too familiar with the terms “Regular” and “Premium” gas, which can cause some confusion. A vehicle’s manufacturer will often recommend a certain grade to improve the engine’s performance, but the higher the octane level, the steeper the cost.
So, what’s the difference?
Regular gasoline costs less than premium gas and has a lower octane level. The numbers that you see on the pump (usually 87, 89, and 91 – 93) indicates the composition of gasoline and the higher number means it’s less likely the combustion in your engine will occur at the wrong time. Gasoline with a lower octane rating may result in a pinging noise, often called an engine knock. While a few engine knocks aren’t harmful to your vehicle, the more frequently it occurs, the more likely it will have a negative impact on your engine. Vehicles with a premium fuel recommendation are capable of running on lower octane fuel but using the recommended fuel will result in a smoother performance.
Then, premium gas is better?
If you have a vehicle that requires premium gas, then yes, it is. However, if your vehicle’s manufacturer doesn’t suggest you use it, then premium fuel won’t do anything but burn a hole in your pocket. Premium gasoline is merely a name given to gasoline required by vehicles that are designed for performance, such as a Porsche or Ferrari. The technology in modern engines has been designed to “compensate for low octane by monitoring knock activity and adjusting ignition in advance to avoid knocking.” (Kavanagh, 2018) This allows drivers to choose a lower grade of fuel if they desire.
If you’re ever curious about what type of gas your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends you use, check the sticker inside your vehicle’s fuel door or your owner’s manual. If you have any further questions about the effect gasoline can have on your engine, contact St. Albert Honda and one of our experts will be happy to help you.