Turbocharged Engines & Premium Fuel

Many of today’s automotive engines are complex, as they incorporate sophisticated technologies such as direct injection and turbochargers to squeeze more power and deliver better fuel efficiency from a smaller engine. Your engine may “prefer” premium fuel in order to run efficiently, but in some cases, premium fuel may be a manufacturer’s requirement.

Octane Choices

Regular or Premium?Generally, two grades of unleaded fuel are sold across the US: regular and unleaded. Regular typically produces 86 or 87 octane, while premium typically delivers 91 to 93 octane. Some gas stations sell a mid-grade blend returning 89 octane, while a few stations sell a super premium octane blend above 93 octane.

Cost Differential

Premium gas also carries with it a premium price, usually costing twenty-five to fifty cents more than regular grade gas. That said, letting cost alone determine the best grade of gas for your car is a mistake.

Fuel Performance

The higher the octane, the more efficient some engines run. Most late model cars can run on regular fuel just fine, but a loss of performance versus premium fuel is often the case. You’ll notice a difference when going from zero to sixty as your time may be off by several tenths of a second when using a lower grade.

Engine Knock

Late model cars come equipped with knock sensors to eliminate engine knock. If your engine knocks, a higher grade of gas may be needed otherwise damage could set in. Pinging and knocking should always be taken seriously.

Manufacturer Guidance

Regardless of what anyone says, follow your manufacturer’s requirements when it comes to fueling your car. If your owner’s manual says that premium fuel is required, then only use that fuel. If it says that it is recommended, then you can use a lower grade.

Again, the difference here is between what is required and what is recommended—read your owner’s manual carefully because you don’t want to do something wrong by damaging your engine and perhaps voiding your warranty!

Reference

Edmunds.com:  Do You Really Need Premium?


See AlsoGasoline Fuel Choices for Today’s Cars

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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