Pump It: The Misunderstood Benefits of Premium Gasoline
For most of us, premium gasoline is just that other, more expensive option at the gas station which we imagine only owners of really fancy cars consider.
And if you think this is the moment when we tell you that’s not really the case—well, this time, it actually is the case.
What’s the Purpose of Premium Gasoline?
The benefits of premium gasoline are often misunderstood. Some believe using premium gasoline will help their engine last longer or provide them with some other benefits worth the price.
In reality, if your engine is designed to be able to run with regular gasoline, switching to premium gas will provide no tangible benefits—not in long-term maintenance and not in performance. So what’s the point of it?
Fancy cars, remember?
Although using premium gasoline won’t hurt your car if it already runs fine on regular gasoline, not using premium gasoline can hurt it if it isn’t designed to run on anything else. This is normally the case with engines with a high compression ratio.
The compression ratio is the measure of how much room is available to the fuel when the piston is at the bottom and top of the cylinder. Most modern cars employ a specific compression ratio that can easily tolerate regular-octane gasoline, but high-performance engines—such as those in some sports cars or very old automobiles—often boast much higher compression ratios.
Without premium, higher-octane fuel, these engines are prone to knocking.
So unless your owner’s manual specifically calls for premium gasoline, there’s really no point in using it. If it does, you’ll likely be sorry you didn’t!