Premium or Regular? Which Gasoline is Best for My Car
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Many people think that the higher octane rating of Premium gasoline gives their engine additional power and performance.
This is a misconception that leads to people spending more than they really need to.
So why do they make gasoline with different octane ratings?
High-octane fuel does not magically have more energy in it. It only means it can be compressed even more before igniting compared to lower octane rated gasoline. That is desirable for "High Performance" engines because it can handle more pressure without the undesirable and destructive premature ignition (engine knock). And more compression before igniting means more power.
But if an engine is designed and calibrated for regular gasoline, then it doesn’t have enough compression to take advantage of that. It will just ignite at the same point dictated by the computer to the spark plug regardless of the octane rating used.
Not able to utilize this feature means using premium high octane fuel on a regular engine is just a waste of money.
The rule is: "Regular for Regular engines. Premium for High Performance engines".
So how do we know? Check the manufacturer’s recommendation.