What Are The Difference Between Gasoline Types?
Many drivers never have to worry about when to use premium or regular gasoline. While most cars typically take regular fuel, you may have recently purchased a new or used vehicle that requires premium gasoline. While you may be uncertain which type of fuel is best for your car, understanding the differences between the fuel types can help you determine what you need to know the next time you fill up.
What Types of Gas Are There?
When you pull up to the fuel pump, you’ll usually see three types of gas options. Each type of gas is characterized by its octane rating. Here’s what you need to know about each option:
Regular gas is the common fuel option that most people are familiar with. Not only is it the cheapest option, but it’s also the one with the lowest octane rating. In most states, regular gas has an octane rating of 87. Lower octane is not necessarily bad, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to regular fuel if that’s what your car needs.
Premium gas has a higher octane rating than regular fuel. Premium gas typically has an octane rating of 91. Many sport cars and luxury vehicles use premium gas to improve their performance.
Supreme gas, sometimes also known as super or premium plus gas, has the highest octane rating at 93. If you own a luxury or high-performance vehicle, this fuel may be the one that helps you get the most out of your car. Some people believe that supreme gas can help clean their vehicles’ engines, but this is not the case. There is no additional benefit to using supreme or premium plus gas if your manufacturer does not recommend or require it.
What Is Octane?
Octane measures the ability of the fuel to resist knocking, which is a sound you may hear in your car when the combination of air and fuel is not quite right. Each vehicle has different octane requirements, and an engine that knocks is not running as efficiently as it should. Fuel with a higher octane rating is less likely to cause a detonation at the wrong time, which reduces your engine’s performance.
Why Should You Use Regular Gas Instead of Premium Fuel?
Regular gas is more affordable than other options, so you should not pay more for premium fuel if your car is not going to benefit from it. If your car recommends premium fuel but does not require it, you may also get by just using regular gas and saving a few bucks.
Putting premium fuel in a car that requires regular means you’ll get an engine knock, and it can cause some engine damage over time. Remember: you will not gain any performance benefits by using premium fuel if your manufacturer does not recommend or require it. You may even end up damaging your vehicle instead.
Why Should You Use Premium Fuel Instead of Regular?
Whether your vehicle manufacturer recommends or requires premium fuel, you’ll see some benefits to using it. Not only are you likely to see a slight increase in your vehicle’s performance, but you might also see a benefit in your fuel economy as well. You’ll also see improved emissions to go with all that extra power.
Now, using regular gas can be a problem if you own a vehicle requiring premium or super premium fuel. Your high compression can cause the engine to knock. Some newer cars have sensors that prevent engine knocking. Knocking means that the fuel is combusting too quickly for your engine, causing a terrible noise. You’ll also see the impact on your car’s power.
How Do You Know Which Fuel to Use?
If you’re still not sure what kind of fuel to use, check the owner’s manual of your vehicle. Whether you bought a new, used, or certified used car, you should have access to a manual in your car or online. Some cars even have the recommendation on the gas cap itself. If you still aren’t certain, you can also ask a service technician at the dealership.
If you have a vehicle designed for performance or your car is turbocharged, you’ll likely use premium gas. In contrast, a typical sedan, SUV, or pickup truck likely uses regular gas. When you shop for cars, you can ask the dealer to show you cars that use a specific type of fuel. This may be useful if you have concerns about how much you spend on fuel, for instance.
What Should You Do If You Used the Wrong Gas?
If you use the wrong fuel, you should schedule a service appointment with a technician. While using the wrong gas one time is not likely to cause serious damage, you should still have your car checked out to avoid engine knocking and other issues. It’s best to avoid making a habit of using the wrong fuel.
The biggest problem comes from accidentally putting diesel fuel in a car that does not require it. In this case, you will need to drain the fuel from your car to avoid clogging your fuel filters. Diesel fuel is thick, and you don’t want to try driving with it if your car doesn’t need it. Take your car to a mechanic right away.
What Happens If You Mix Regular and Premium Gas?
Mixing fuels will not improve your engine performance. Stick with one type of gas to ensure that your vehicle is reaping all the benefits of its recommended fuel type. If you do mix fuel types on occasion, you’re not likely to see terrible results. More often, you’ll simply see reduced fuel efficiency.
At Dan Cummins Chevrolet Buick of Georgetown, we know that most people want a car that is efficient and performs well. Browse our new car selection to determine which vehicle meets your standards for efficiency and identify whether you require a car that takes premium or regular fuel.