Premium Fuel: What You Need to Know

We see it every time we go to the gas station. You go to fill up your car with gasoline and are presented with three options, sometimes more. Regular, Plus, and Premium are the common options most drivers have when they fill up but what’s the difference? Is premium gasoline really that much better than regular?

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to premium grade gasoline and what it can do to your car. If you’ve ever been curious if premium gasoline can really provide you with benefits, look at some of the facts before you pay at the pump.

Premium has to be premium for a reason, right? The fact is most vehicles run just fine on regular unleaded gasoline (87 octane). You can check your owner’s manual for specifics but if you buy a new car then you will know if you need regular or premium gas. You can put premium gas in your car even if it doesn’t require it but don’t expect an increase in performance.

If you really want to break the science down, premium unleaded gasoline (93 octane) has a higher octane number than regular gas because it’s less prone to pre-ignition problems. This is important for hotter running, high-compression engines, and it applies to very specific vehicles.

Other common myths:

  • Using regular gas when your owner’s manual calls for premium will void your warranty
  • Using regular gas in a car designed for premium gas will cause damage to the engine
  • Premium gas increases fuel efficiency
  • Premium gas is cleaner than regular gas

Note: Although it is true premium gas includes detergents that regular gas doesn’t, it’s not beneficial so it’s not worth the extra cash.

The bottom line: Use what your manufacturer has recommended. You’ll save more money and your engine won’t suffer. Technically, premium gas is a better fuel in terms of the power that it provides to the right engine, but it’s important to not fall for scare tactics that try to get you to pay more at the pump.

Stick with regular unleaded gas and your car will run just fine.

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