Do You really need Premium Gas?

In an off related topic to this website, I came across this article by The New York Times and found it interesting. I heard before that cars made these days don't really need premium gas even though it may be recommended in the car manual. I guess The Times article further proves that point.

Nearly all automobiles sold in the United States since the 1990s will happily run on regular-grade 87-octane gasoline without causing engine damage, a benefit of the electronic controls that now manage all engine functions.

They go on further to say:

Before the switch to fuel injection and computerized controls, engines were subject to damage from prolonged knocking. But today’s engine management systems incorporate electronic knock sensors, which detect the condition and adjust the ignition to stop the problem. As a result, it is almost impossible to hurt a current engine by using 87-octane fuel, industry experts say.


A spokesman for Porsche North America, Tony Fouladpour, added a caveat. “If you want the car to perform at its maximum capability, the best choice would not be 87,” he said. “But we do not forbid it.”

And From BMW:

“There generally isn’t any harm done to the engine by using lower-octane fuel,” said a BMW spokesman, Thomas Plucinsky. “Because our engines do have very good forms of knock sensing and are able to deal with lower-octane fuels, you will not have any drivability issues. You will, however, lose some of the performance.”

And finally about the question of lessoned fuel mileage due to lower octane:

“E.P.A. fuels engineers say that there isn’t a meaningful difference between regular and premium gasoline,” said Dale Kemery, a spokesman for the agency.

Well there you go, you can read the full article HERE.

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