Is Premium Gas Worth It?

High Premium Gas Prices
AgentAkit, Flickr

There’s an old saying we’ve all heard before: “You get what you pay for.” It makes all kinds of sense, right? If you buy an imitation smartphone or a cheap pair of running shoes, you don’t expect to get the same life out of them as you would have if you’d paid more for the real deal.

But does the same hold true with regular unleaded vs. premium gas?

Most people believe that premium gas will give you better performance and extend the life of your vehicle. But according to the experts, this is bunk.

For example, did you know…

  • Higher octane gas has always been recommended to eliminate knocking in your engine. But these days, cars are built with computerized knock sensors which take care of the problem.
  • The majority of engines out there were built to function perfectly on low octane gas. This means that filling your tank with super unleaded is probably not going to give you any better performance than opting for lower grade.
  • The energy content of premium, mid-grade and regular unleaded is exactly the same: 111,400 BTU’s per gallon.

Only vehicles designated “high performance” are required to use premium gas. If you don’t own a Porsche, BMW M-Series, or a Corvette capable of going faster than most people would ever feel comfortable traveling, pumping high octane gas into your tank is totally unnecessary.

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With the high cost of gas and the promise of even higher prices to come, you need to take steps to maximize every gallon. This includes keeping your car regularly serviced and making sure that your tires are properly inflated. It also includes knowing when not to go overboard when there’s no good reason to do so.

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Source: Scientific American