Every time you fill up your vehicle you are greeted with several different fuel options, assuming that you have a gasoline engine. Other than price, you may be interested in knowing what the difference is in higher and lower octane gas. Rest assured that most modern gasoline engines are capable on running anything from 87-93 octane rated gasoline. But lets look at the benefits, if any, of buying the higher octane gas.
Low Octane Gas Is Fine In Most Cases
That’s right, to the general driving public low octane gasoline will be just fine. 87 octane gasoline will perform just as well as higher octane gasoline, in a common daily driver. There are a few exceptions that exist, so let’s take a look at what make the higher octane gasoline worth the money.
Cure Pinging With Higher Octane
A common noise amongst engines is a ‘Pinging’ noise coming from the engine. This is caused by the gasoline entering the engine and not igniting at the correct interval. Over time this pinging can cause long term damage to your vehicles engine. In most cases running a higher octane gasoline in the vehicle, even for a short period, can help alleviate some if not all pinging.
High Performance Needs
Another need for burning a higher octane gas is dependent upon the type of vehicle you drive. Higher compression engines require a higher octane gas to perform properly and in some cases even gain horsepower. This only applies to a tuned engine, specifically designed for a higher octane.
My 99 Mustang GT engine required 93 octane to operate properly and not ping. My engine was beyond stock and had enough modifications to justify the bigger expense and translate into marginal power gains. Basically, you should know if your car requires a higher octane to operate properly, if not, then don’t worry about the additional expense.
The difference in higher octane gas and lower octanes is marginal enough that the common driver need not spend the extra dough. I would recommend always filling up with the cheap stuff, unless you know specifically that your car needs the extra sweet juice from the pump, assume it doesn’t.
This has been a post into a series of articles on explaining entry level questions to automotive enthusiasts.
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