Does Using Premium Gas Make a Difference?

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Are you aware of what you are choosing when picking premium gas over regular gas? 

What is the recommended gas type for your vehicle? Does premium gas give better mileage? 

These are some of the most popular questions by motorists that often remain unanswered or poorly answered.

The difference between premium and regular gas can be confusing even to the most advanced vehicle users. This is because of the science behind the components that make up the fuel.

But what difference does premium gas really make? 

Does Using Premium Gas Make a Difference?

According to Federal Trade Commission, using higher-octane gasoline than the one recommended for your vehicle has no benefits to your vehicle’s performance. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much you spend on your gas, it will not improve your car’s performance, speed, fuel efficiency, or emissions. 

Hence, you should always stick to the gas type recommended on your vehicle’s manual. 

Using a different fuel to the recommended will damage your engine and its components.

We will discuss further to understand whether using premium gas makes a difference in your vehicle performance.

This will help you decide which fuel is best for you at the pump.

What Makes Premium Gasoline Different?

The 91 octanes and 93 octane gasoline are the most frequently used type of premium gas

These are the ones that are commonly sold in gas stations across the United States. 

It is important to note that premium gasoline is any type with octane levels of 91 and above. 

The 93-octane gasoline is usually referred to as Ultra or super-premium in some cases, while gasoline with an octane level of 87 is called “regular,” and 89 octane gasoline is generally classified as midgrade by most gas stations. 

Is Premium Gasoline Any Better Than Regular Gas?

This leads to the big question of whether the premium gas is better. 

Your vehicle will not benefit from filling it with premium fuel if the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it. 

Premium gas is specified in some vehicles because of its engine design and other factors unique to the specific vehicle.

Premium gas is prescribed by engineers at the vehicle design stage because the engine runs best with higher-octane fuel.

If your vehicle’s owner’s manual does not recommend that it requires premium, then you don’t need to use premium gas on your car. 

When Is Premium Gas Required?

However, when premium gas is recommended for your vehicle, there is usually a good reason for that. 

Engines with high compression, turbochargers, and high-performance vehicles will always use premium gasoline.

There is no harm in using regular or midgrade gas instead of premium for these particular vehicles. 

However, this may slightly compromise on the performance you paid extra for a premium engine. 

Does Using Premium Gas Make a Difference 1 Does Using Premium Gas Make a Difference?

Regular Vs. Premium Gas: Does Premium Gas Make a Difference?

Consider the weight and age of your vehicle when deciding whether to fill up with premium or regular gas at the gas station. 

It is sometimes essential to use premium gas for a few fill-ups even if your vehicle doesn’t require it if you are experiencing engine knock in an older SUV or truck with high-performance engines. 

Regular unleaded fuel is the closest comparable to premium gas.

Besides being flammable, both are derived from crude oil. 

Premium gasoline, on the other hand, has a higher-octane rating. 

At least 90 octanes are required for most premium fuel. 

Octane is a vital component in a vehicle’s ability to power itself while avoiding knocking. 

Pre-ignition occurs when the gas and air ignite earlier, resulting in knocking. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does Premium gas differ from one State to another?

Yes. Each State has its definition of premium gas.

If you’re planning a cross-country road trip or a state-to-state crossover, be aware of these differences. 

A 92-octane rating may be required in one State, but only a 90 octane rating in another. 

The three octane grades available at most pump stations in the US are regular, midrange, and premium (mostly 91 or 93 octanes).

Always check for the type of gas you are getting by looking at the pump label. 

Does premium gas give better mileage?

No. This is a popular myth. 

Gas is made of many different components. 

Depending on the additives a company uses, the amount of energy in a gallon of regular or premium gas varies from one company to another. 

Fuel economy differences between different brands of regular gas are bigger than between the same manufacturer’s standard and premium gas. 

Although premium gas may appear to give you more MPG, the difference is so little and can go unnoticeable if all factors are held constant. 

Using high octane gas will not have a significant impact on your driving experience.

Does premium gas clean your engine?

Well, it is true premium gas contains some more elements compared to regular gas. 

But this doesn’t constitute being a detergent for cleaning up your engine. 

This claim can be dismissed as being a misconception. 

All gas types come with additives that can help clean your engine. 

Does premium gas add horsepower?

No. Premium fuel doesn’t boost horsepower in low-performance engines. 

Using premium gas on economy-class vehicles will not enhance their performance. 

Premium gas may clean up the fuel system of these engines but will not necessarily increase the horsepower rating. 

What happens if you accidentally put regular gas instead of premium?

Your warranty could be canceled if you use regular gas in an engine that has been rated to use premium. 

This is most likely to occur if repeated use damages the piston or other engine components due to significant knocks or premature ignition of the gasoline (detonation). 

Ideally, your vehicle can adjust the ignition system to accommodate lower-octane gasoline to a certain limit. 

Fuel efficiency will almost certainly suffer if you fill up with regular gas. 

In the long run, under extreme loads, running regularly in a premium rate engine can induce engine knock that will damage pistons and valves. 

Therefore, occasional use of regular gas is not harmful, but this should not be the norm, especially for vehicles rated to use premium gas. 

When you face a situation when the pump station doesn’t have the premium gas, you can go ahead and fill it up with regular. 

Your vehicle will run as usual but don’t make this a habit. 

Is it a must for turbocharged vehicles to use premium gas?

Generally, when it comes to turbocharged cars, the majority of manufacturers advocate using premium gas.

Find out the right type of gas you should be using for your vehicle by reading your owner’s manual. 


Premium gas is without a doubt more expensive than regular in most gas stations. 

This means that constantly filling up your vehicle with premium gas will impact your finances. 

With increased gas prices, it may be tempting to use regular gas on a car that has been designed for premium gas.

It is recommended to check your owner’s manual for the right gas type that your vehicle needs. Then stick to it. 

When a car manufacturer recommends only using premium gas, it is simply because the fuel system of that particular car is optimized for higher octane gas. 

Using gasoline that is not recommended might result in other costly damages and low fuel efficiency, and low engine performance. 

It is not a good idea to use regular gas in vehicles meant for premium gas, although it can be done once in a while without any severe damage to the fuel system. 

Always refer to the owner’s manual for further information. 

When the automaker recommends premium gas, don’t buy regular gas to save on costs as this may result in substantially higher future repair costs and reduced life of the vehicle. 

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