Is High Octane Gasoline the Best Bet for your Car?

Today practically everyone is looking to save money at the pump and, as prices rise, more and more are questioning the need to use higher octane gasoline over ‘regular’ gas. With this in mind we will take a look at the facts about high octane gas and see if it’s really worth the premium price at the pump.

First you should note that there are very few cars on the road whose manufacturers recommend high octane gas. Not only that but, in almost all cases, using high octane gas will not increase performance or make your car go faster or run cleaner.  Our advice; pay attention to your owners-manual and if it doesn’t specifically say that you should use high octane go for regular and save yourself the money.

In fact, practically the only time that you should use high octane gas is if your car has a noticeable knocking or pinging even if you’re using the gas that the car manufacturer recommended.  In this case, which is a very small percentage of the time, switching to high octane might be necessary.

The simple, undeniable fact is that millions of people are paying for gasoline that really won’t improve anything about their car, wasting billions of dollars a year.  The average driver could literally save hundreds of dollars a year by using regular gas instead of high octane.

Knocking or pinging is caused by premature ignition in the fuel cylinders of your car, and the octane rating system was devised to measure how well a specific grade of gas could resist causing this. Typically a gas station will offer regular fuel, which is 87 octane, medium grade fuel at 89 octane and then premium or high octane fuel at 92 or above. As we stated earlier regular octane gas is the normally recommended type for almost all cars being made today.

The only cars on the road that will need high octane are those that have high compression engines. Some sports cars and high-end luxury cars have recommended octanes of mid-range or premium and its necessary to prevent knocking with these types, but that’s less than 10% of the cars on the road.

An easy way to tell if you’re using the right grade or octane is simply to listen to your car for knocking or pinging.  If you don’t hear it when you use regular you’re fine.  If you do, switch to mid-grade first and check again.  Only if you still have knocking should you switch to the highest, and most expensive, octane.

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  1. [...] you’re actually standing in front of the pump, it’s a good idea to know the octane level that’s recommended for your car so that you don’t use an octane that’s either higher than you need or too low and can cause [...]

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