What is premium gas?
Premium gas is a higher octane gasoline that's typically used in high performance engines. A higher-octane rating means the fuel is better balanced and stabilized against spontaneous combustion, which can cause engine knocking and damage to your vehicle. Premium gas may also contain additional or higher-quality additives compared to regular gas. However, premium gas might not be necessary or noticeable for many drivers whose cars will run perfectly fine on regular gas.
What are the benefits of premium gas?
Premium gas has a higher resistance to engine knock in luxury and performance vehicles with turbochargers or high-compression engines, so you can hit that horsepower smoothly. Additionally, premium gas can increase fuel efficiency, potentially bringing better gas mileage for longer while decreasing emissions.
Remember that these benefits are seen in vehicles that truly require premium gas and not necessarily in most other vehicles. Check your owner's manual to see what your manufacturer recommends for your specific car make and model, and note that the definition/label for premium gas can differ from state to state and station to station.
Learn more about which cars require premium gas.
Does higher octane gas last longer?
Premium gas is also often referred to as high-octane gas, thanks to an octane rating of 91 to 94. Regular gas typically has an 87-octane rating, and the 88-90 range is considered midgrade. While premium gas drives performance in certain engines, the idea that it's more fuel efficient is a myth. Any fuel efficiency gained would stem from engine performance and not the gas itself. Buying premium gas won't have you visiting a gas station any less frequently, especially with a standard engine that isn't designed to take advantage of premium gas.
Will premium gas clean my engine?
No, premium gas isn't a secret sauce for cleaning your engine. The main concern in engine maintenance is carbon build-up, which can happen over time with all fuel types if you skip routine checks. The good news is that both regular and premium gas have detergents that can reduce carbon deposits to an extent. If you're buying premium, those detergents may be more powerful. Nevertheless, the key to a clean fuel system is to have your vehicle professionally serviced.
So, is premium gas worth it?
If your vehicle's manufacturer recommends using premium gasoline, then filling up with premium is a good idea. Using lower octane fuel in a high-performance engine over time could eventually cause knocking, potentially damaging the engine.