September 18, 2019 By Francis G. Pallarco

Buying The Right Gasoline

Which one should I use?

Since not all vehicles are the same, they also have specific fuel requirements to be used as recommended by the car manufacturer. This is the reason why oil companies also offer different grades of gasoline such as unleaded, super, or super-premium. If you’re not sure, simply find out what the car manufacturers recommended grade of gasoline to use as specified in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Aside from having different prices, their classification is also based on its octane rating.

Almost all gas stations normally offer three grades of fuel: Regular 91-octane, Mid-grade 93-octane, and Premium 95 octane. Some gas companies even offer 100-octane gas for high-octane requirements. These octane ratings can be identified through bright yellow stickers placed on every gas pump. In general, most vehicles are designed to use regular octane or premium gasoline, but performance-oriented cars need premium or high-octane fuel.

Basic Gasoline Types
Regular – 91 Octane
Mid-grade – 93 or higher Octane
Premium – 95 to 100 Octane

What is the Octane Rating?

A gasoline’s octane rating doesn’t mean instant power; the number merely reflects how well it resists premature detonation in an engine resulting in what’s called as “knocking: or “pinging.”

“Knocking”

This is a distinct and audible sound that can be heard from the engine, which is actually detonation that can be caused by using gasoline with a low octane rating.

The Octane Rating measures a gasoline’s ability to resist engine knock. The higher the octane number, the more fuel can be compressed before detonating. In short, fuels with a higher octane rating are needed in high compression engines that generate high horsepower. Gasoline companies offer different gasoline with varying octane grades, posted on bright yellow stickers.

Common FAQ about Octane

Use what your car manufacturer recommends using

  1. What octane gasoline should I use in my vehicle?
    Follow the octane rating as recommended by the car manufacturer as specified on the owner’s manual and on the gas filler cap.
  2. What happens if I use lower-octane gasoline than required for my vehicle?
    Even though modern engines have knock sensors, prolonged use of gasoline with a lower octane rating than what is recommended may result in engine knocking. Persistent knocking can lead to engine damage.
  3. Will using a higher-octane gasoline than required improve fuel economy or performance?
    No, and offers absolutely no benefit. So follow what the car manufacturer specifies. The only time you need to switch to higher-octane fuel is when the engine knocks.
  4. Will higher-octane gasoline clean the engine better?
    No, because all commercially available gasoline no matter their octane grades contain engine cleaning detergent additives to protect against harmful deposits.
  5. Are Fuel Additives Needed?
    If you’re already buying gasoline with the proper octane rating, then it’s not necessary because it mainly contains chemicals to boost octane levels.

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