When you go to the gas station there are generally three options for gas: regular (87 octane), midgrade (89), and premium (91 – 93 octane). Premium gas is the most expensive, and some people think that means it must be better for their car. According to The New York Times, a surprising 16.5 million drivers used premium gasoline at least once a month when their car only requires regular. Don’t waste the money! Here are three reasons not to use premium gasoline unless your car requires it.
Three Ways Premium Gas Wastes Money
Your car probably doesn’t need premium gas
Only 16% of Americans own a vehicle that requires premium gasoline. The cars that require premium are generally very powerful cars. If you don’t know for sure, check your owner’s manual to check what the manufacturer recommends for your car. The premium gas is particularly important in these cars to reach the level of horsepower their powerful engines can achieve. Cars that use high octane gas will either be on the Premium Recommended list or the Premium Required list. Cars that merely recommend premium gasoline work well with regular gas. A car that does require premium gasoline but uses regular will not be damaged in anyway- the car just won’t be able to access it’s full horsepower.
Quality is important- not octane rating
Octane rating is not what you should think about when getting gas. Instead, you should be thinking about the quality of the gas. Opt for Top Tier gas. Top Tier gas is gasoline with a higher level of detergent than required. The higher level of detergent helps clean your engine. In fact, cars that used Top Tier gas had nineteen times less deposits after 4000 miles. These deposits can clog the engine and reduce fuel economy by 2 – 4%. There is a long list of retailers that offer Top Tier gas including BP, Costco, Marathon, Mobil, Phillips 66, Road Ranger, Shell, and Texaco. Read the full list as of May 2017 here. Luckily, about 33% of gas stations provide Top Tier gas.
Regular gasoline is very close in quality to premium
Previously, premium gasoline was the cleaner option. However, that was before the government put regulations in place in 1997. Before these regulations, only premium gas had detergents that helped keep the engine clean. Now, all gas is required to have these same additives, making premium gasoline a waste of money unless your vehicle is on the Premium Required list.
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