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Regular vs Premium

Should I use regular or premium gasoline in my car?

Some people believe high octane premium gasoline is better for their car than a regular or a mid octane gasoline. There are differing schools of thought on this subject and you may even be surprised at what car manufacturers have to say about regular and premium gasoline.

In these days of soaring gasoline prices, you may be tempted to switch from premium to regular gas but is this a wise idea? It may be a very good idea if the manufacturer does not specifically recommend premium gasoline for your car. By using regular gasoline over premium, you can save money every time you put gas in your car.

First, you should understand what octane rating are. Octane ratings describe how resistant to knocking a particular type of gasoline is. We all know that an engine that knocks is not a good thing. Knocking occurs when there is too much ignition in the combustion chamber of an engine which disrupts it's normal operation. The higher the octane, the more it prevents the engine from knocking.

These are the octane ratings in most American gasolines.

  • Regular gasoline usually has a 87 octane rating.
  • Mid grade gasoline has a 89 octane rating.
  • Premium grade gasoline has a 93 or higher rating.

Most cars run fine on regular gasoline. There is no reason to use high octane premium gasoline in these cars because they have slower combustion levels. Many are built with electronic knock sensors that detect and eliminate knocks and pings.

Premium gasoline is usually needed in cars that run on high compression engines. These cars perform at higher speeds with higher combustion levels.

Regular gasoline contain enough additives and detergents to keep your engine clean while premium gasoline usually have more additives and higher levels of detergents.

There is little difference in the energy content of regular gasoline versus premium gasoline. They both contain about 111,400 British Thermal Units of energy per gallon.

Your car's manuel should tell you what type of gasoline you should use to make your car run smooth and efficient. According to the The American Petroleum Institute, if you find that your car runs fine on a lower grade, there is no sense switching to premium.

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