Let’s get this out of the way right off the top. The answer to the headline above is, most likely, “no”, you probably do not need premium gasoline. The vast majority of cars are designed to run just fine on regular gas, and adding premium to their tanks will do precisely nothing for your car.
So that’s the long and short of it. But if you’re like us, you’re gonna need more of an explanation.
That’s why we’re here.
What’s the Difference?
So, the technical explanation of this is pretty … technical. But we’ll try to put it in the simplest possible terms. The difference between 87 octane fuel and 93 octane fuel is the particular point at which they will explode. High-octane fuel can withstand more compression before it combusts, and therefore is only necessary for use in high-compression engines (typically performance engines).
Won’t Premium Gas Give My Engine More Power?
It will not. If you put premium fuel into an engine not designed for it, it will have no effect whatsoever. It won’t add power. It won’t increase efficiency. It won’t burn cleaner. It won’t do squat, other than cost you more.
What If I Put Regular In My Performance Car?
If your engine has a high compression ratio, and its manufacturer recommends running high-octane gas through it, using regular gas will cause a phenomenon known as “knocking,” which is exactly what it sounds like — a knocking sound coming from the combustion chamber. This is because the regular fuel won’t be exploding at the right time, and might be exploding more than once per revolution. It won’t immediately ruin your engine or anything, but you should definitely not run 87 gas in a vehicle designed for 91.
Why Do They Call it “Premium,” Then?
Because they’re in the business of selling gasoline, and “premium” sounds better than “regular,” and premium costs more. It’s effective marketing, but since we aren’t in the business of selling gasoline, we can tell it like it is.
So How Do I Know For Sure If I Need Premium Or Not?
If your vehicle requires premium gasoline, your vehicle will indicate that in some key areas, such as the gas cap, fuel door, fuel gauge, owner’s manual … don’t worry, it’ll tell you.
If your vehicle offers no indication one way or another, you’re fine going with the cheap stuff. Unless, of course, you’ve rebuilt your engine and modified it to make more compression, in which case you’re on your own.
If your car isn’t running right, bring it to our expert technicians at Ron Carter Cadillac. We’ll get you back on the road quickly and conveniently, with the confidence the job was done right.