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Does It Matter What Type of Gasoline You Use? All You Need to Know

Does It Matter What Type of Gasoline You Use? All You Need to Know

Understanding “does it matter what type of gasoline you use?” is very critical to protect your engine from damages. Generally speaking, you can go with any gasoline type as long as you choose a higher-octane level than the specified in your vehicle owner’s manual. If you go with a lower gasoline octane level, you introduce significant engine damages and might void your engine’s warranty.

Have you ever noticed the different numbers on the gasoline indicating different ratings? Did any of your family members or friends tell you that the higher the number, the better the gasoline? Well, the story is more complicated than this.

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This article highlights the main differences between the gasoline numbers or what's referred to as the octane level. In addition, it highlights the benefits of going higher in the octane level and whether it's suitable for your vehicle or not. Thus, before your next gas station visit, consider this article and think twice about the type of gasoline you should select.

What is the octane rating?

Before we dive into the details about “does it matters what type of gasoline you use?” First, let's make sure that we are all clear on the different types of gasoline and the number on the gasoline.

The number on the gasoline stations refers to what's known as the octane rating. This rating indicates the stability of the type of fuel. Generally, the higher the octane rating, the higher the fuel stability. When the fuel stability is high enough, the vehicle will not suffer from common problems like knocking or loud noises during the combustion process. Usually, loud noises occur once the combustion process starts and result in early engine damage.

During any combustion process, the air-fuel mixture ignites using the spark plug in the different cylinders. Since the air-fuel mixture is typically pressurized, it will create a loud noise every time the combustion process happens. However, more modern vehicles do not have this issue because they utilize a list of sensors that prevent the knocking noise as much as possible.

Researchers combine two different numbers to generate the final octane rating when it comes to octane rating. The first number is what's known as the research octane number or the ROM, which is the rating when the vehicle is not in motion. The other number is the motor octane number, which is the octane rating at higher speeds and when the engine is running. The octane rating is calculated by summing the two numbers and dividing them by two to get the average value.

What are the different octane ratings?

You probably noticed that any gas station typically has three numbers representing the octane levels. Let's take a closer look at these numbers:

1-    87 level

87 level is the lowest octane rating for any gasoline and suffered two as the regular gas.

2-    89 level

The 89 level refers to the mid-grade type of octane, which indicates that this gasoline has mid-level stability.

3-    91 to 94 level

Finally, the maximum stability level that any gasoline can reach ranges from 91 to 94. This type of gasoline is usually referred to as premium gasoline.

Remember that you might see the different octane ratings using different names like super-premium, ultra, and ultimate. While these names might be different for some manufacturers, they refer to the same idea of octane rating.

Doesn't it matter what type of gasoline you use?

Based on the mentioned information in the previous sections, it seems like the higher the octane rating, the better for your vehicle. However, is that the case? For example, do you have to go with the 91 to 94 or premium level?

The short answer is yes; it does matter what type of gasoline you use in your vehicle. Different manufacturers rely on certain additives that they add to the gasoline to help prevent carbon buildups. Therefore, your vehicle will perform differently depending on the type of gasoline you go with and the octane rating.

However, automotive experts recommend that you follow what's mentioned in your vehicle's owner’s manual. Not because the higher-octane rating is not good for your vehicle bought to stay away from anything lower than what's recommended in the vehicle's owner’s manual.

For example, if your manual recommended using the 89-octane rating, you cannot go with an 87 rating because it can harm the engine.

Typically, owner’s manuals of vehicles are equipped with larger engines like turbocharged engines that rely on the very high pressurized air-fuel mixture. These engines do not want the fuel to ignite very early, and they wanted it to get to a point where it's very pressurized to produce the right amount of power.

If you went with a lower octane rating than what's specified in your vehicle's owner’s manual, there is a very high chance that your engine might get damaged. Also, you might even void your warranty if you did not follow it needed in terms of the right octane rating.

If you are concerned about what type of gasoline rating you should go with, we recommend that you visit your vehicle's owner’s manual or probably look at the fuel cap. The cap will have a clear note indicating that you have to go with this type of fuel rating, and you cannot go below this number.

Again, you can always refer to your mechanic, ask verbal questions, and request some explanations to prevent causing damages to your engine.

What happens if I put premium gas in my car?

Since the premium gas represents the highest-octane level, you shouldn't have any problem. This is because no matter the type of gasoline recommended in your vehicle's owner’s manual, you're always higher than it.

Also, when using premium gas, you get many benefits, including some additives to protect the engine from early damages.

Keep in mind that the premium gas is pricey, which means that if it's not necessary, you don't have to go with it. In other words, if your vehicle's owner’s manual mentioned that your car could go with regular gas, why would you go with much more Expensive gasoline? Obviously, if you're happy with investing a little bit more in gasoline to bring some benefits to the engine, that is always a good idea.

Does premium gas give better mileage?

Yes, it does security. The premium gas is made in a way that does not make it burn fast, and once it burns, it produces much more power than regular or mid-level gasoline.

Therefore, aside from the grid benefits, you'll get from editing this in the premium gas, you also achieve a better gas mileage. They won't necessarily need to visit the gas station as frequently as before. Thus, even though the gasoline with a higher octane level might cost you a little more, if you think about the costs down the road, it is a much more time and energy saving, especially if you accounted for any repair costs due to engine damages when using lower grade gasoline.

Which cars require premium gas?

One way to prevent choosing the wrong octane level is to familiarize yourself with the common vehicles that require a premium guest. This way, if your vehicle is among the list of these vehicles, then you should not go with a lower octane level. However, if it's not, then your vehicle does not necessarily need premium gas.

Here are the common vehicles that require using premium gas:

  • Nissan Maxima (all models)
  • Volkswagen Arteon (all models)
  • MINI Cooper (all models)
  • MINI Clubman (all models)
  • Fiat 500L (all models)
  • GMC Terrain (with 2.0-L turbo)
  • Buick Regal (all models)
  • Buick Regal tourx (all models)
  • Buick Envision (with 2.0L turbo)
  • MINI Countryman (all models)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander (with 3.0-L V6)
  • Honda Civic (with 1.5-L turbo)
  • Kia Stinger (all models)
  • Chevrolet Malibu (with 2.0-L turbo)
  • Fiat 500L (all models)
  • Buick Regal (all models)
  • Buick Regal tourx (all models)

Who has the best premium gasoline?

Did you know that even if premium gasoline is considered the top type of gasoline at the octane level, different companies and suppliers provide the premium gasoline with different benefits?

Typically, here are the best premium gasoline suppliers:

  • Mobil
  • Shell
  • Sinclair
  • Texaco
  • Chevron
  • Conoco
  • Costco
  • Exxon
  • Holiday
  • Kwik Trip

What happens if you put 87 octanes in a 93-octane car?

Using a lower octane level can result in a big problem. In other words, going for an 87 octane level in a vehicle that is supposed to use a 93-octane level can result in major engine damages.

Therefore, if you've used the wrong octane level by accident, you mustn't keep it as a habit. Instead, you might want to consult your mechanic and see what's the best course of action to prevent engine damages. Sometimes, if it's just a small amount of lower octane level, the problem might not be as severe as filling the entire tank.

Keep in mind that using the lower octane level is not as bad as putting diesel instead of gasoline. Therefore, do not panic thinking that you destroyed the engine, but it is still a good idea to refer to your mechanic and see what we need to do.

Do luxury cars need premium gas?

General, most luxury vehicles require using premium gas. This is because most of these vehicles rely on engines that produce a lot of power, and they utilize many features requiring extra energy.

Therefore, companies creating luxury vehicles do not want to add another level of pressure on you by recommending premium gas. Still, it's the engines type that needs this type of gas to serve you longer.

Keep in mind that if you own a small sedan vehicle, it might not be the case. In other words, it is always the best idea to refer to your vehicles. Owner’s manual and confirms whether it requires premium gas. But you cannot stay on the safe side when driving a luxury vehicle, sick with the premium gas until you confirm.


Choosing the right gasoline is a critical skill you need to learn, especially if your vehicle utilizes powerful engines.

Typically, the available gasoline in the markets is either the regular, the medium, and the premium type of gasoline. If you're wondering, “doesn't it matter the type of gasoline you use?” It always doesn't matter because you cannot go with a lower gasoline rating than specified in your vehicle owner’s manual.

Going with the wrong gasoline with the lower rating causes engine damage, and you might probably end up voiding your engine's warranty.

Although it's a good idea to invest in research and the type of gasoline you should use, it might not be worth the time if your vehicle is not in good condition. In other words, if your car has measure engine damages or the transmission does not work properly, you'd better invest in selling this vehicle and using the money as a down payment towards a better car. Cash Cars Buyer guarantees to move your car within one to three days only and hand you cash payments right on the spot!

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