Have you been thinking of pouring some of the premium stuff at the gas station in your car and you are asking yourself if can you put premium gas in any car? Well, if this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic.
Premium gas promises quite a lot for you and your car. But it doesn’t come cheap. Especially nowadays when the gas prices are well beyond normal and we are basically facing the same situation as in the 70s when gas prices killed the muscle car era.
Many people who run cars that are intended to run premium are facing great difficulties when it comes to filling up the tank. The high cost makes them run regular gas instead of premium. And this greatly affects the performance. In fact, it affects more in comparison if you put premium gas in a non-premium gas car. Since premium gas cars were intended to run on more octanes. But more on this later in the article where we will dissect everything into small bits.
First, we will cover the basics of gasoline and we will learn more about the octane ratings. Then we will understand how premium gas is different when it comes to regular gas. After we will understand the pros and cons of running premium gas and if you can put premium gas in any car. Lastly, we will answer some common questions when it comes to premium gas. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is Gas?
Now before we jump into more complex topics like the question of can you put premium gas in any car, let’s discuss the basics of what is gas and why it is so crucial when it comes to the ability of your car to run properly. If you feel that you are already familiar, you can jump to other topics. If not, keep up with us for a bit. So, what is gas?
Well, gasoline also known as gas is a flammable liquid that burns and produces energy. As you probably know, energy is the one that moves stuff around. It doesn’t matter if it’s electric, gasoline, or natural gas. This energy makes our lives easier and we enjoy the freedom of traveling and enjoying our lives more. But from what compounds is gasoline made?
Well, gasoline is petroleum-based. It is made out of organic compounds, mainly by the process of refinement of crude oil.
One barrel of crude oil that consists of 42 gallons can deliver 19 gallons of pure gasoline. Normally, this process is done by refinement. Meaning that the crude oil travels from the place it was extracted to the refinery. There are refineries all over the world. Some of them do their job really well, while some of them don’t.
Luckily in the US most of the refineries that produce gasoline are quite good when it comes to this stuff and deliver a great product. But as you know not all gas is created equal. And this has a lot to do with the octane ratings. And that’s what we are going to cover next before we discuss if can you put premium gas in any car.
Understanding Octane Ratings
Now before we discuss if you can put premium gas in any car, let’s understand the octane ratings better. This is quite essential to differentiate regular gas from premium gas that is sold out there on the gas stations.
We all probably know that the higher the octane rating the better the fuel is. But what is octane rating in general terms? What makes the higher octane rating gas so special when it comes to delivering power?
The octane rating is a rating that is given to hydrocarbons. In simple words, the octane rating is the ability of the fuel to withstand compression.
As you probably know, cars are using the same good old 4 stroke combustion system. This system has 4 steps. The important ones for us to know are the steps when the fuel gets dumped into the cylinder and compressed before it ignites.
This basically determines the octane rating of a specific fuel. If the fuel ignites prematurely, then this fuel has a lower octane rating. If the fuel can be more compressed it will ignite a bit later. Thus creating more power.
Another thing to add is that if the fuel gets spontaneously ignited before it is compressed, it can lead to a condition that is known in the engine world as knocking. The engine will produce a knocking sound if the fuel is a low octane rating and ignites spontaneously before it gets compressed.
If you experience knocking from your engine. Either you have a rod knock, you are running regular gas instead of premium gas in your car. But can you put premium gas in any car out there? Well, that’s what we are going to cover later in the article, now let’s see how premium gas is different.
How Premium Gas Is Different From Your Regular Gas?
Now as we know what is the octane rating and what does it represent. We are able to understand how premium gasoline differentiates from regular gasoline. We are going to cover this before we dive deeper into understanding if can you put premium gas in any car. So, how the premium gas is different from regular gas? Let’s elaborate.
So, how premium gas is different from regular gas? Does it burn better? Well, not quite. It’s not burning better. In fact, regular gasoline ignites much quicker than premium gas and burns far more than it.
The difference is in the ability of the gasoline to resist compression. As you know, the piston is compressing the gasoline and then the fuel gets ignited.
What happens is that in low-grade gasoline the ignition happens much sooner than in premium gas. While on the other hand, premium gas is far more compressible, meaning that it could be squeezed far more than your regular gasoline.
This increased compression is releasing far more energy from the combustion. That’s why there are high compression engines. These engines are using the most out of the premium gas.
Meaning that their compression ratio determines the ability to produce power, not gasoline. The engine has to have a higher compression rating if you want to make the most power out of this premium fuel. If else, you will not feel any difference between the two types of fuel.
Even though, a small difference in performance is noted from premium gas. But this isn’t something significant that will make a night and day difference. But can you put premium gas in any car? We will get to that in a bit.
Pros And Cons Of Premium Gasoline
Now as we understood the basics of gasoline and octane ratings that are used in the US. Let’s now focus on the pros and cons of premium gasoline in cars. What are the benefits that you will get and what are the downsides that you are about to feel whenever you pour some premium fuel into your gas tank?
As you know, not everything is sunshine and rainbows and there is a positive and negative with almost anything in life and so with premium gasoline. That’s why you need to know this if you want to protect your engine and get the most out of it. Later on, we will cover if can you put premium gas in any car. So, if you want to learn more, keep up with us.
Pros Of Premium Gas
Let’s now cover the pros of premium gas before we cover the cons and if can you put premium gas in any car. So, what are the pros of this type of gasoline, what the premium gasoline will offer you when it comes to your car’s driving characteristics? Well, honestly, a lot. Let’s elaborate.
The first thing that premium gas will improve in your engine is the reduction of carbon deposits. The carbon deposits that accumulate on engines that run premium fuel are far less than the ones that run on regular gasoline. This will boost the engine life and also optimize the power that is used by the engine.
The second thing that you will notice is the reduction of engine knock. As we already explained, engine knock is a situation when the engine starts knocking because of a low octane rating. Meaning that the fuel ignites before it gets properly compressed and here you are losing a lot of power and energy in the process.
So, if you have a higher compression engine, you will highly likely suffer from a situation known as engine knock if you run low octane fuel. In order to avoid this situation, you better use premium gas and get rid of the engine knock.
Many people get scared when their engine starts knocking and think that there is a rod knock that has developed. But this isn’t always the case, you maybe are running low octane gas instead of premium gas in your car. And that is doing all these problems for you. So, beware of this. But can you put premium gas in any car? Well, we will get to that in a bit, after we cover the cons of running premium gas in your car.
Cons Of Premium Gas
Now before we cover if you can put premium gas in any car, let’s see what are the cons of running premium fuel in your car. As we said, there are not only positives when it comes to premium fuel, there are also negatives from this type of fuel that are worth covering. Knowing this will help make up your mind if you really need premium fuel in your car or you are better off without it. So, what are the cons? Let’s elaborate on them.
The biggest con when it comes to premium gas is the price. The price per gallon for premium fuel is significantly higher than the regular gas. And this is felt if you decide to fill a whole tank with premium gas instead of regular gas. Especially in these difficult times when everything is getting more and more expensive.
On average, premium gas is about 60 cents more expensive than regular gas, this is the price per gallon. In some states this difference is smaller, while in some states it is higher, depending much on the regulations that each state has.
The second biggest con of premium gas is its low performance in low compression engines. That’s right. Low compression engines do not have any benefit of running premium gas instead of regular gasoline. 87 octanes are pretty much enough for the vast majority of the cars out there.
So, in this case, if you decide to put premium and if you don’t have a high compression engine you will lose money and make minimum improvements to the performance. But can you put premium gas in any car? Well, that’s what we are going to cover up next.
Can You Put Premium Gas In Any Car?
So, we came to the important bit of our article and that is the question if can you put premium gas in any car? Is this okay to do it in your car?
And the answer is yes, you can put any type of gasoline in your car. Just make sure that it is over 87 octanes.
The 87 octane gas is the regular type of gas as we all know and this is the bare minimum that your car needs to run well. If you put lower octane gas, the engine will start knocking and will produce weird sounds. Your engine will also be down on power quite significantly and you will lose performance on your car.
When it comes to putting premium gas in your car, you can as we mentioned. But this will not have an enormous impact on your car and the driving.
Unless you run a high-performance engine that has a higher compression rating than your standard engine. So, you need to inform yourself of the compression rating for your specific engine and learn if this engine will work well with premium fuel.
Many carmakers even will warn you to put premium fuel in a car that requires premium if you don’t want to face problems such as engine knock and other similar nuisances caused by low octane ratings.
But to sum everything up, our advice is to avoid putting premium fuel if your car doesn’t require premium fuel and put premium fuel to a vehicle that requires this type of fuel from the factory. Overall, that’s our answer when it comes to the question of can you put premium gas in any car. Now let’s move to other topics like the gas prices that recently got really high.
Premium Gas Prices
Now as we learned the answer to the main question is if you can put premium gas in any car. Let’s now focus on whether it is worth it to put premium gas from an economic perspective. As you probably know, crude oil prices in 2022 are at a record high and this greatly affects the prices of gasoline that is sold on the gas station. Since gasoline is made out of crude oil through the process of refinement as we mentioned.
Nowadays we experience the highest prices of gas recorded ever in the US. The average price for the regular gas per gallon is about $4,2. The mid-grade gas is about $4.5 while the premium is at an astonishing $4.8 per gallon. And these prices keep going up and up. And who knows when we will see again normal gas prices. I don’t want to sound discouraging. But for us petrolheads, things are not going well at all.
Just to compare, a year ago, the price for a gallon of regular gas was $2.7 per gallon. The mid-grade was $3.1 and the premium was $3.3. And comparing these numbers, we can see that there is a $1.6 increase for premium fuel in a year only. A rather insane number to be honest.
The cheapest way that you can drive is if you put E85 fuel which is relatively cheaper and you can find it for $3.6 per gallon. So, if your car can run on E85 then this is good news for you because the prices for E85 will not go up significantly since this is ethanol-based fuel and not gasoline. Now as we learned if can you put premium gas in any car and the cost of gasoline nowadays. Let’s learn something else and that is how to know what type of gas you really need.
How To Know What Type Of Gas You Really Need?
Now as we covered if can you put premium gas in any car, let’s now focus on how you can learn what type of gas your car needs? How you can check what type of fuel you need and how you can make sure that you don’t put the wrong type of gasoline in your vehicle? There are a number of ways in which you can check this information and learn about it and we are going to elaborate on them in the following paragraphs.
The first way that you can check what type of fuel your car needs is to check the gas cap. Usually, behind the gas cap, there is a sticker that indicates what type of fuel you actually need to run your car. In order for you to do this, is to unlock the doors and open up the gas cap. See behind if there is a sticker that indicates the type of fuel and octane ratings necessary for your car to run properly.
The second way that you can check what type of octane rating fuel you need is to consult your owner’s manual. In the owner’s manual, you have all the essential information. As well as the type of fuel and the octane rating that is recommended for the car. The owner’s manual is usually located in your glove compartment. If you don’t have one. Move to the next way.
The last way that you can check if you can put premium gas in any car as well as yours is to go online and check some relevant websites. Do a search online of your car and type of fuel and use the most relevant data you can find. Also, checking some online forums specific to your car is useful.
Can I Put Non-Premium Gas In My Premium Car?
We learned if can you put premium gas in any car. Now let’s learn if you can do the opposite thing. If you can put non-premium gas in a premium gas car? What will happen in this case?
In this case, you will highly likely lose some performance on your car. Not a lot but some horses will fly away from your engine. Since this is a higher compression engine.
This will also cause the premium gas engine to develop a knock. This knock is often caused by the low-rating fuel that is inserted into the engine. The lower the octanes, the worse the engine work will be. The engine will start knocking and you will have a hard time driving the vehicle. The only way out will be to return to the premium fuel that you have used until then and call it a day. Now let’s conclude this article about if can you put premium gas in any car.
Conclusion To Can You Put Premium Gas In Any Car
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the question of can you put premium gas in any car? We learned everything when it comes to gasoline and octane ratings. We learned that the octane rating is simply the ability of the gasoline to withstand compression.
Then we covered the pros and cons of putting premium fuel in your car. We learned that the only effect is noted on higher compression engines that require more octanes. If you don’t have an engine you will be good without it. We also learned if you can put premium gas in any car and the answer is yes if it is a gasoline engine. Any gasoline engine will work on premium fuel. Lastly, we discussed the prices of gas nowadays and in which direction we are going.
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