If you’re planning ways to save cash in your driving budget, we suggest evaluating your fuel. The good news, according to our team of experienced mechanics at Christian Brothers in Katy, TX, is that for most passenger vehicles most of the time, it’s perfectly OK to use regular gasoline rather than forking over extra cash for premium gas.
Premium gas isn’t more packed with engine cleaners and almost never has an effect on performance. It’s just marketing. Start with your manual. If premium fuel isn’t a listed requirement, you don’t need it. Don’t give the oil companies more profit!
When engines aren’t designed for premium gas, they never need the higher-octane fuel. It has to do with how the fuel is ignited. Premium gasoline ignites at a higher temperature, so it can deal with high levels of compression without reigniting. Premium gas also has a lower concentration of heptanes, and that also makes it less likely to ignite at low temperatures. Even the government regulators agree – there’s no reason for it in the average tank.
In cases where the owner’s manual does ask for premium fuel, chances are you don’t always need it. Especially if you drive a 1996 or later because your engine will make up the difference. With premium-designed engines that are intended to use premium gas, the lower ignition rate can mean better performance. The expensive fuel also prevents pinging or knocking noise. However, if you’re not going fo top performance, the difference in performance is minor but the price is much higher. If your engine knocks with normal driving, it’s a different situation. For these vehicles, use your best judgment or talk to one of our ACE-certified technicians about using the right gas.
Can I Use Diesel?
Premium and regular can mix, but not with diesel. You could stall the engine and need to be towed. You will have to pay for a system flush. Diesel is thick and oily compared to unleaded, and diesel vs. gas engines are different in a few ways. Cars designed for diesel don’t use spark plugs. Instead, the fuel is injected directly and ignited by heat. With regular gas, air and fuel are mixed first and then the spark plugs do their work.
Call Christian Brothers
If you have concerns about how to fuel your engine or if you’re having any problems with your fuel system, give our trusted technicians in Katy, TX a ring. We advice, maintenance, repairs and more.