The price difference makes you think twice. Premium gas costs so much more per gallon than regular. Does that make it a better choice for car engine maintenance? The true answer depends what kind of car you drive. Let’s look at the facts behind those prices at the pump.
Engines and Fuel Are Octane-Rated
Your car’s engine has an octane rating. The number represents the minimum octane level required for controlled combustion inside cylinders. Uncontrolled combustion causes ping that can permanently damage the car’s engine.
A fuel’s octane rating indicates its anti-ping properties. Different brands use different terms to sell their product. General U.S. octane ratings for the three main grades of gasoline range from 87 to 94.
- Regular gas: 87
- Mid-grade gas: 89 – 90
- Premium gas: 91 – 94
All Fuel Grades Are Regulated
In 1970, the federal government passed the Clean Air Act designed to reduce automobile emissions. In order to meet those standards, all gasoline brands were required to include fuel additives that cut pollution. By the 1990s, gasoline included detergents that improved engine maintenance.
Today’s premium fuels aren’t cleaner or more refined than regular and mid-grade gasolines. They do have the advantage of being less combustible, but all brands must meet the same base standards regardless of octane rating.
Some Cars Require Premium Gas
There are some models that require premium fuel for peak performance and overall car maintenance. High-performance engines operate with high compression ratios that produce the power expected from certain automotive brands.
For example, the owner’s manual for these makes and models make it clear that premium fuel is required, not recommended.
- Aston Martin
Most Engines Are Built for Regular Gas
The engines in modern cars are designed with sophisticated internal controls. These advanced systems adjust fuel mix and engine timing to offset the effects produced by variable octane levels.
The results are car engines that resist ping problems and reduce fuel emissions. An occasional tank of higher octane gas is fine in most vehicles, but it doesn’t make a significant difference in long-term engine maintenance.
You Can Trust Our Expertise
As long as you stay on top of routine car maintenance, you can count on miles of peak engine performance down the road. Trust Kennedy Transmission to keep you there with expert automotive services and seven convenient locations across the state of Minnesota. Stop on by!