You’re driving home, and the gas light draws your attention. You need to stop for gas. You may have limited options depending on where and when you have to fill up. Should you use the off brand gas or pay extra for a top brand? Will the octane level affect your car?
Unleaded vs. Premium Gas
It’s important to know the difference between unleaded regular and premium gas. You need to know a little about combustion to understand the difference. All vehicles go through combustion. During this process, injected gasoline is ignited by a spark plug in the engine compartment. The spark plug will not fire instantly. A mix of air and fuel runs along the spark plug, then the flame will catch and expand and will eventually set the remaining air and fuel on fire. If any of the air and fuel fires off too soon or leaks out before the flame before the spark plug ignites, it will cause an “engine knock” This sound is what you might hear from the engine while you’re driving. This is not a good sound and needs to be avoided. It is caused by chemical aspects and is where octane levels come in.
Octane Number of Petrol
Gasoline is produced with a hydrocarbon fuel. This means that individual molecules hold carbon and hydrogen molecules. Different fuels have different combinations of hydrocarbons and “octane” is resistant to the spontaneous exploding. Therefore, higher octane levels will reduce the chances of knocking in the engine. Premium level fuels will have a higher- octane level that is usually sitting at about 91. Regular gasoline will sit between 85 and 87. When it comes to MPG, there isn’t a big difference between unleaded and premium, but you can expect more aggressive driving and a more aggressive engine with higher octane gasoline. For this reason, you will see race car drivers using gasoline with and octane rating above 100 to provide superior fuel that won’t prematurely fire off during races.
Does Premium Gas Get Better Mileage?
This would lead you to believe that premium gas is better, as far as octane. This however doesn’t mean that your vehicle needs it. Lower performance vehicles don’t require premium fuel and will only waste your money. Check your owner’s manual to find out whether your vehicle needs. Driving a Porsche or a Corvette, go for it! The engines in lower performance vehicles can’t take advantage of the higher levels of octane and will just cost more.
Brand Name Gas VS Generic
Now that we understand the difference when it comes to regular and premium gas, you can better determine whether or not you want to go with an off brand or a name brand. The octane levels will not be the same, but they will be similar, and the occasional fill-up will not damage your engine. Car professionals state that there isn’t a noticeable difference when it comes to performance, so save your money and go with the cheap one.
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