When filling up at the gas station, your first instinct may be to fill your car up on regular gas, because it’s cheaper. It may be that you don’t know what the premium gas does for you. The truth is, you do not get extra miles out of a gallon of premium gasoline over a gallon of regular. Most cars manufactured today are made to run on regular, unleaded gasoline. That said; check your vehicle manual before filling it up for the first time. It should have a minimum octane level for fuel. As long as you match that number, you’re okay in most situations.
Keep in mind; most performance vehicles including turbocharged engines require a higher octane fuel. Also, living in high altitude regions like we do here in Greeley, Loveland and Ft Collins puts a twist on the octane requirements. The thinner air here in Colorado usually allows for a lower octane than if the vehicle is driven at sea level – that’s why most fuel stations in Colorado sell 85 octane and most other states regular fuel is 87.
There are many misconceptions surrounding premium gasoline. You don’t get any extra mileage per gallon by using premium gas. In fact, the difference in fuel quality has more to do with what brand of gasoline you put in your car than octane levels. Also, contrary to popular belief, there are no extra additives in premium gasoline that suddenly make it more efficient or clean your engine. All gasoline, regardless of price at the pump, has enough additives in it to keep your engine clean. Some brands include more additives, so it’s no surprise they charge a bit more. Again, if you spring for the brand-name gasoline, you’ll do better than running your car for 100,000 miles on cheaper gas.
The main takeaway is that you may want to consider paying more for brand-name gas, but stick with regular unleaded in most situations. If you have a particularly cruddy engine or older car, you may want to use premium gas, but it’s probably more efficient if you put in some engine additives to help clean your engine and stick with brand-name gas stations. You may be surprised, but there is a significant difference according to many tests between brand-name unleaded gasoline such as Chevron, Shell, Conoco, etc. and the discounted gas you find at your local quick-stop market. You won’t cause any dangerous buildups quickly in your engine if you fill up with discount fuel now and then, but over time, your engine will become less efficient if that’s all you use. That’s something to think about if you plan on keeping your car for years to come.
Feel free to stop by Autotailor. We are always happy to talk to you about what type of fuel should be filling your tank with.