I recently noticed at Sheetz that 88 octane gas is about 30 cents cheaper than 87. I'm trying to understand if there's a real difference between them. Some say 88 burns cooler and cleaner, but why is it cheaper then? I drive a 2021 Nissan Sentra SR, usually on eco mode. Should I continue using 87, or is 88 just as good? Also, will my gas mileage worsen with 88? Confused and seeking clarity.
Hello there, William!
Great question! The key difference between 88 and 87 octane gas typically lies in their ethanol content. 88 octane usually contains 15% ethanol, compared to the standard 10% in 87 octane. Ethanol-rich fuels can slightly reduce power and fuel economy. For your 2021 Nissan Sentra SR, it's essential to check the owner's manual to see if it's compatible with higher ethanol fuels.
While 88 octane might be cheaper, its higher ethanol content means lower energy content per gallon. This could lead to fewer miles per gallon. However, depending on the price difference, it might still be economically beneficial to use 88 octane.
To make an informed decision, you could try 88 octane for a few tanks and calculate your cost per mile compared to 87 octane. Do note that while the difference in fuel economy might be small, consistently using a fuel type not recommended by the manufacturer could potentially affect your vehicle's long-term performance.
I hope that answers your question!
Zack - Motor Verso Mechanics Team
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