Gas prices are high these days. And while we may get used to paying $5+ per gallon, it doesn't mean we should stop looking for ways to save money.
Regular Gas Vs. Premium Gas: Which One Should I Buy?
Introduction Transition and thesis: There's no reason why you shouldn't try to save money on gas. But do you know how much you're actually saving with each fill up? Are you sure you're buying the most economical fuel for your vehicle?
I'll explain why premium gas doesn't offer anything special, and I'll also tell you how to find the lowest price on gas without compromising quality.
Top Tier Gas
Premium gas has become increasingly popular among consumers over the past few years. It's a type of fuel that contains higher levels of octane than traditional gasoline, making it much cleaner burning. In fact, premium gas is now required by law in many states.
While premium fuel does cost more than regular gas, it offers several benefits that make it worth the extra money. For starters, it burns cleaner, reducing harmful emissions into the air. It also lasts longer, allowing drivers to save money on gas purchases. And finally, it's safer, since it doesn't contain lead additives that were used to prevent engine knock. The higher octane allows engines that require higher compression the ability to produce optimal power.
TIP: If you have a diesel, supercharged or turbo engine, most likely you are required to run premium 91 or above octane gasoline. Also, high performance cars require premium gas.
87 Unleaded Gasoline
In fact, according to AAA, most vehicles require 87 octane or higher to operate properly. The reason behind this recommendation is that cars manufactured after 2004 typically run on E85 blends, which contain 85% ethanol. Ethanol is much weaker than conventional gasoline, and can damage engine components if used in lower-quality engines. Therefore, it's best to avoid using E85 unless you have a vehicle built specifically for it.
TIP: Technically, you can run 87 octane but if your car manufacturer requires 91 octane and above, you could be causing future damage to your engine. Why? The ECU or the computers of today's cars detect knocking and are tuned to detonate the spark at specific timing. 87 Octane detonates quicker than 91 octane.
Older luxury cars would benefit from continued use of premium 91 and above octane since they were designed with those specifications in mind. Extended periods of 87 or 89 octane is not good for the car. In fact, you might end up with reduced fuel economy if you use a regular gas if you require premium.
Some experts have reported that it can cause the car to start knocking. If you hear knocking, the best next step is to fill up next time with higher octane fuel and listen for knocking again.
The Cost of Fuel
In a car that requires premium it makes a difference. Cars that do not require premium fuel are sometimes tuned to be able to take advantage of it, but do not require it. A lot of cars out there recommend regular fuel and won't benefit from using premium.
Premium vs. Regular Gas
Gas prices are always a hot topic of conversation. Some people believe that it's important to pay more for premium gas because it ensures that the fuel is of the highest quality.
Others believe that regular gas is just as good, if not better, and they shouldn't have to pay extra for something that isn't necessary. The truth is that there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to gas prices, as each person has different priorities and opinions.
Mixing Gas Octane
With the prices of gasoline increasing month after month, many people are looking for ways to save money. One way to do this is to mix gasoline with octane levels higher than what is typically found at a gas station. Doing so can help you save money on fuel costs, as well as increase engine performance.
This is how I approach this....
TIP: As long as you understand that you should NOT push your car without Premium Gasoline (if required) you should be ok with filling up with the mid-grade. I would avoid running regularly since the octane rating is 4 points or more below Premium.
Is it okay to mix unleaded and premium gasoline?
Yes, it is ok to mix premium and regular gasoline.
However, I would alternate the fill ups with Super or premium with every 2 fill ups with mid-grade if your car requires premium. The mid-grade will not provide the same performance as premium but if you are just driving normally you shouldn't notice too much of a difference.
Octane boosters are additives that can be added to gasoline to increase the octane rating. The ECU of the car will adjust the advanced ignition timing to ensure the best possible performance based on the fuel. Octane boosters help delay the detonation of the fuel in the combustion chamber, thus allowing it to perform as tuned by the manufacturer.
There are many different octane boosters on the market, and each one works differently. Some octane boosters can make the gasoline less explosive. The purpose of the octane booster or increased octane is to suppress pre-detonation.
The premature detonation is what causes knocking or pinging in your engine. Most modern engines have knock sensors to help detect these and will then adjust the detonation of the spark. So, technically you can use lower octane but please do not run it for an extended period of time if your owners manual says it requires premium gasoline.
Your vehicle will perform better and last longer by using the correct octane rated fuel.
Finding Lowest Price on Gas
I find that Costco offers lower prices around my area. Check your local warehouse for pricing. In addition, I have also found the BP prices of their fuel lowest in my area as well. As for off-brand or value gasoline, I typically avoid such places as I feel that their equipment and filters may have less maintenance compared to the larger brands. (Your mileage may vary)
Comment below on your favorite gasoline stations in your area.
Other Additives that are NOT SNAKE OIL that are worth considering
Chevron Techron additive is a product that helps increase fuel efficiency and performance in vehicles. The additive has been proven to reduce emissions, improve engine performance, and reduce fuel expenses.
Additionally, Chevron Techron additives can help protect car components from damage.
Chevron Techron also has a long history of safety and compatibility with other additives and fuel types. BMW also repackaged Techron as a fuel additive, so that clearly demonstrates that it's worth it.
Liqui Moly has been known for its top tier performance in vehicle and engine lubricants. Liqui-Moly Jectron was created to help improve the performance of gasoline and diesel engines.
This additive is made up of particles that are smaller than the engine's fuel, which can help reduce the amount of air required to combust the fuel. It helps clear up clogged fuel injectors that can rob the engine from producing more power.
The use of a fuel additive can improve fuel economy, emissions and performance in a variety of engine applications. Jectron is a fuel additive that was specifically created to meet the needs of modern engines.
TIP: I personally use Jectron on my Audi, BMW and Benz to help keep the injectors clean. Using this with top tier gasoline will help keep the fuel system clean for years to come.
In conclusion, there is a difference between regular and premium gas. If your car requires or is recommended to use premium gas, then by all means use it.
However, if your car doesn't require it, you can save money by using the regular grade of 87 octane. Make sure to research which grade of gas is best for your car before you fill up at the pump. You can check the owners manual or see on the fuel door the type of 91 that the vehicle required.
As mentioned, to help save at the pump, you can interchange with the mid-grade in between fill ups. Just make a note that you should drive normally and not push the engine since you will not be looking for the highest compression on detonation.
Drive with care and there shouldn't be any adverse effects.