Regular or Premium: Which Fuel Is Right for My Car?

Is premium fuel recommended for your car? Are you trying to improve performance by fueling up with premium gas? When it is necessary, and when is it a waste of money?

The answer: it depends. Here’s a look at the difference between fuel types.

What an Octane Rating Means

Fuel ratings are based on the octane rating—the level (percentage) of octane (a specific hydrocarbon compound) in the gas. Higher octane ratings allow the fuel to withstand more compression before igniting…and that’s a good thing because it prevents fuel from igniting too early, which can cause knocking and eventually engine damage.

All unleaded gas sold in the US has some octane. The grade of fuel is determined by how much.

  • Regular unleaded typically has an octane rating of 87
  • Mid-grade unleaded has an octane rating between 89 and 91
  • Premium unleaded has an octane rating of 93

These ratings may vary slightly from state to state, as each state’s Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation or similarly interested agency determines the fuel grading system.

Are You Using the Right Fuel for Your Car?

What grade of fuel you need for your car depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Engine type
  • Engine performance
  • Age of vehicle

Above all, your manufacturer’s recommendations should dictate your fuel choice. If your owner’s manual says to use premium…use premium.

If you hear any knocking or pinging noises after filling up with regular unleaded, then you should also opt for a higher-grade fuel.

If neither of these conditions are present, then filling up with premium may just be an unnecessary expense.

For more information on how you can keep your car active, get in touch with Quanz Auto Body.