ASK GARY: Does it Matter What Kind of Gas I Put in my Tank?
All too often, drivers fill their vehicles with the incorrect fuel. While price sensitivity is one reason, the other more disastrous reason is being misinformed. Knowing what type of fuel goes into your tank is an important part of maintaining your vehicle and one of the most often overlooked. Perhaps the most common temptation is to use “premium” fuel as a “treat” for your car.
Quite simply, premium gas will not offer “premium” performance unless your car engine is designed to handle it. A higher octane rating means the gasoline can handle more compression before detonating, resulting in higher torque and, to a slightly lesser degree, greater fuel efficiency per unit of gasoline. However, engines must be designed to handle the usage of high octane fuel meaning the average sedan will not benefit from using premium gasoline.
Many people avoid low octane gas because they are concerned with engine knocking, which occurs when the gasoline combusts because of compression, rather than from the spark plug. However, modern engines and standardized fuel ratings have all but eliminated this problem. The best gasoline to use in your vehicle would therefore be the one recommended by your manufacturer.
With the increased demand for greater fuel efficiency, more and more drivers are considering the purchase of a diesel fueled vehicle. While diesel engines might be associated with huge, cross-country driving trucks, there are several reasons why a diesel powered vehicle is desirable for the average consumer. The most obvious is that due to the greater energy concentration in its fuel, diesel engines have superior fuel economy compared to gasoline engines.
The decisions made at the pump are largely predetermined by the decisions made at the dealership. Different fuels won’t change your performance, because different fuels are meant for different cars. All engines are designed with a specific fuel in mind, meaning the manufacturer suggested fuel is what’s best for your vehicle. Check your vehicle owner’s manual to be informed about what fuel your vehicle should run on.