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Premium Vs. Regular Gas – Which is better for My Vehicle?

It’s a topic that’s regularly brought up by drivers when speaking with their automotive maintenance expert. What’s the difference between premium and regular grade gas and how do I know which is better for my vehicle? The answers to these questions depend on who you ask. In this article, we’ll help explain the difference between the various grades of gas and detail how to decide which grade to choose for a certain type of vehicle.


The Difference Between Premium and Regular

Firstly, it’s important to point out that premium gas is not superior in quality to regular gas. Premium gas simply contains a mixture of hydrocarbons that are slightly less combustible than those found in lower octane or regular gas. The reason the higher-end model cars use this type of slightly less combustible fuel is found within the engine manufacturing process. Luxury vehicle engines are built featuring a high compression ratio, which means the air and the fuel are more likely to ignite before they’re supposed to due to pressure in the engine. This process is called “pre-ignition”. The lower combustibility of premium gas means that it’s less susceptible to pre-ignition and is therefore the ideal choice for this type of high-powered engine.


Can Luxury Cars run on Regular Gas?

Modern luxury cars are integrated with a knock sensor. This knock sensor works to detect the rattling and vibrations that signal when gas has pre-ignited within the engine. The knock sensor sends a signal to the vehicle’s Engine Control Unit, which then adjusts the spark plug firing timing to reduce the knocking of the vehicle. It’s an innovation that has helped mitigate the problems associated with putting regular gas within luxury vehicles. However, the timing of the spark plug firing is slightly adjusted when regular gas is present in the system. This can cause small changes within the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and performance over time.


So, drivers with newer vehicles will find only small differences in their vehicle’s performance, whether they use premium or regular gas. The choice is largely based on personal preference. Those with older model vehicles should consult with their car’s manual to find out whether the manufacturer specifically instructs drivers to use premium gas. To learn more on this subject, and find out if your engine should run on premium or regular gas; speak with one of our trusted parts experts directly.

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