You generally don't need to use premium fuel.

Is Premium Fuel Worth The Money?

January 24th, 2017 by

You generally don't need to use premium fuel.

Most drivers are satisfied with regular gasoline, and pay little attention to the premium options listed at every fueling station.

But could that gas be worth the extra money? Generally, the answer is no. There are three questions to consider: engine knock, engine cleanliness and manufacturer's requirements.

Engine knock
Typically, gasoline is rated according to its octane content. Octane determines how much compression an air-fuel mixture can take before it ignites. Engines require a specific octane rating in order to avoid "knocking," which is the sound an engine makes when air-fuel ignitions are poorly timed. If not addressed, knocking can harm performance and damage an engine over time.

According to, knocking was a far more prominent problem in the past, and burning higher octane premium fuel was a common solution. However, most modern engines are now equipped with electronic knock detection sensors. These will adjust engine timing to reduce the occurrence of the issue, regardless of the fuel's octane level.

Modern technology has also changed how drivers should think about engine cleanliness. For many years, higher octane fuel was advertised as burning cleaner to provide better performance. Today, however, all fuels contain deposit control additives to prevent harmful engine buildup.

Manufacturer's requirements
The only instance in which it is highly recommended to regularly fill up with a premium fuel is if the manufacturer's manual says so. Certain high performance cars may have been designed with a higher octane in mind. But for most car owners, this simply won't be an issue. It's better to save the money.

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