Premium vs. Regular Gas

car filling up gas at a gas station

The main difference when it comes to premium vs. regular gas is that premium gas has a higher octane level. What does that mean for your car, and is it really necessary to fill your up with premium gas if you drive a high-performance vehicle? The answer will depend on your make and model. Many cars have a premium fuel recommendation, but you can sometimes get away with using regular gas without damaging the engine. Learn when it is or isn’t necessary to use premium gas in your vehicle with this guide from Don Franklin Auto.

What’s the Difference Between Premium and Regular Gas?

The higher octane level in premium gas makes mistimed engine combustion less likely. Octane levels for premium vs. regular are as follows:

  • Regular — Regular gasoline usually has an octane level of 87. While regular gas is the cheapest option, premium gas isn’t necessarily better for your car.
  • Premium — To be designated premium, gasoline must meet a specific octane level. This level varies by state, but it’s generally 91 or higher. Look for gas pumps labeled “91” or “93.” 
  • Ultra-Premium — Occasionally, you’ll see 93 octane labeled as “ultra-premium.”

Benefits of Premium vs. Regular Gas

Engine combustion that occurs too early is known as “engine knock” because of the knocking sound that accompanies it. Occasional engine knock is normal, but chronic engine knocking can damage your engine. Higher octane fuel does make the engine knock less likely, but most modern cars use sensors to predict and avoid engine knock. As a result, even cars with a premium fuel recommendation won’t usually be harmed by the use of regular gasoline. If you hear frequent engine knocks no matter what gasoline you use, reach out to schedule service at the Don Franklin Auto service center near Russel Springs, KY.

Do I Really Need Premium Gas?

While regular gas shouldn’t hurt your car, there are a few other differences between premium and regular gas. You may choose to use premium gas if:

  • You drive a high-performance vehicle. Some performance engines require premium fuel in order to reach their full potential, and using premium will show you what your engine can really do!
  • Your warranty requires you to use premium fuel. Some performance and luxury vehicles require that you only use premium fuel. Check your owner’s manual carefully to see whether the premium is recommended or required.
  • Your car gets better mileage with premium. Some manufacturers claim that fuel efficiency is higher with premium vs. regular gas.

Cover Your Vehicle Maintenance Needs with Don Franklin Auto 

Don Franklin Auto is a family of dealerships proudly serving the Louisville, KY, Lexington, and Somerset, KY areas. Reach out to one of our service centers to speak with an expert for at-home maintenance tips, regularly scheduled maintenance like oil changes, and repairs.


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