Is Cheap Gas Bad for Your Car?

Sun Auto Service Expert, published on 10/29/2015

No matter how low gas prices get, most drivers will always wonder whether they should opt for lower grade of fuel that’s available. After all, there’s nothing wrong with saving money whenever possible, right? While saving money is great, it’s also important to know what you are putting in your vehicle and whether you’re doing more harm than good to your engine by choosing a less expensive gas. 

Gassing Up on Truth

In most cases, more expensive fuel will boost performance and responsiveness in your vehicle. The reason for that is newer cars have advanced engine technology that’s able to compensate for variations present in the gas you fill your vehicle with. If you drive an older car and are planning to upgrade, you may not worry much about which gas you choose. However, if you’re planning to trade your old car in, you should do everything you can to preserve its value.

So Why the Price Variation?

All gas comes from what’s known as “base gas” from a refinery. The Environmental Protection Agency requires that refineries add a blend of additives to gas to help lower emissions and help keep your car’s engine clean. Once gas companies get the base gas with the additives, they might choose to include even more additives to get your engine even cleaner and to improve your overall driving experience.

Octane ratings are standard measures of performance for engine fuel. Two common octane ratings you’ve likely seen are 87 and 91. The main difference between the two octane ratings is the additive that’s added to each one. Gas with an octane rating of 91 (usually signified by “premium”) burns cleaner and more completely, compared to fuel with an octane rating of 87.

To Spend More, or Not to Spend More?

As you’re deciding which type of gas to use, you should check your owner’s manual to see if your car’s manufacturer recommends a specific type of gas. Not only will this help you make a decision, it will also help you to truly protect your car. Some manufacturers do suggest using a higher grade gas, so be sure to check to see what’s recommended for your make and model.

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