As we all know gas prices are at an all time high and rising! So, will premium gas give you better fuel mileage? Will premium fuel give you better performance? Most people that drive cars today don't really quite understand the difference between high octane and lower octane gas at the pump. Let's talk about fuel and what the octane rating means and maybe we can answer some of these questions.
It's a false misconception that higher octane fuel will automatically increase fuel mileage and performance. In reality, it often does neither.
The octane rating of fuel determines how fast the fuel ignites and burns inside the engine. In older non-computerized cars fuel octane was very critical in fuel economy and the performance of the engine. Today, with modern technology and computerized fuel delivery systems your car is designed to run on just about any grade of fuel. Your cars computer system will automatically adjust ignition timing and other critical adjustments through a complex system of sensors to give you optimum performance and fuel economy on any grade of fuel.
But my owners manual says to use 91 octane of higher? Yes, some manufacturers do specify higher octane fuel, but using a lower octane fuel will not damage your engine or void your warranty. They claim that performance will be lost on lower octane fuel but the average driver will not notice any difference in performance or fuel mileage from 87 vs. 93 octane.
The Bottom Line? Unless you are driving a very high performance car don't wast your money on high octane fuel, save your hard-earned money and use the lower octane fuel!