Q: What is Premium Gas?

December 17, 2013 12:53 PM

Share this article

Premium gasoline is a type of gasoline that has a higher octane rating. Regular gasolines have octane ratings of 87 to 90, but premium gases have octane ratings of 91 and above and are normally used in high-performance cars. The octane rating refers to the amount of compression a gasoline can have before igniting.

A high-performance car has a powerful engine. These engines use a higher compression ratio than ordinary engines and, therefore, require fuel with a higher octane rating to run efficiently. Sports cars and luxury cars are examples of high-performance vehicles often found in this category.

Contrary to popular belief, using gasoline with a higher octane rating does not improve the performance of an engine. Engines are designed to work with gasoline that has a certain octane rating. To know what octane rating your car needs, read your owner's manual. An owner's manual is a great resource that tells you how to make most of a car, how to operate it and how to take care of it.

To understand why engines are best used with the fuel they are rated for, you need to know how an engine works. Engines have pistons and cylinders where the combustion process takes place. First, fuel and air enter one of the cylinders. A piston sucks in the mixture, which is then compressed to a certain volume and ignited by a spark plug. An explosion occurs in the cylinder when the mixture ignites. This small explosion pushes the piston, which (via the rest of the car's driveline) delivers power to the wheels.

If premium fuel is used with an engine made for ordinary gas, it will give the same power as ordinary gasoline because the engine will compress them to the same level. However, if you use regular gasoline in cars that need premium gas, there will be problems. Because in high-performance engines the fuel experiences greater compression, a regular gasoline will ignite before it reaches the spark plug. This can lead to what is known as the engine knock, which is a cause of poor engine performance and engine damage over time.

Premium gasoline is made for cars that require high octane ratings. If your car only needs ordinary gasoline to run properly, there is no point in spending the extra money on premium fuel, as your car will run perfectly with ordinary gas. If you have a car that needs premium gas, don't attempt to save money by buying lower-octane gas. It will only damage your engine and cost you more money in the long run. A high-performance engine makes up for the higher cost of premium fuel by producing more power.

Share this article
Advertisement
New Car Spotlight

Advertisement

Advertisement
Thanks for Supporting
Kelley Blue Book.
We deliver up-to-date car values, expert reviews and unbiased reporting at no
cost to you. To do this, we display ads from only trusted automotive partners.

To continue on our site, simply turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.