Difference In Higher Octane Gas

High Octane Gas

High Octane Gas

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.

Other Difference Articles:

Difference Between Automatic and Manual Performance

Difference Between Halogen and HID Lights

6 thoughts on “Difference In Higher Octane Gas

  1. Pontoon boats

    Despite the higher price, it is worth spending on the high octanne fuel as it gives better performance and mileage. Also, the engine remains good and the car keeps performing

  2. Christopher Post author

    Not True!

    Unless your car is specifically tuned, higher compression, advanced timing, etc. then a vehicle will get LESS gas mileage with the higher octane gas. It is very important to make sure your cars engine is made for the higher octane gas otherwise it IS a waste of money and will NOT keep performing.

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  6. Vtman63

    I have a 2012 Toyota Tundra with the 5.7. I had the TRD Dual exhaust installed and a cold air induction kit put in. Using regular grade gas I have found that in VT, on Cruise, going up the interstate that the truck would shift down 2 times going up on some of the hills. After using mid grade, it would drop down once and the RPM dropped as it assended, while maintaining the same speed. And I also gained about 2 MPG. My prognosis, is that the truck runs better, more power, and better MPG, than using regular.


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