Difference Between Regular and Premium Gas

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It’s a decision drivers face every time they fill their cars up at the gas station.

But if you’re like many drivers, you may have decided years ago to bypass premium and buy the cheaper regular unleaded gasoline.

But have you ever asked the question — what exactly is the difference between the two octanes?

“Premium is, yes, a few octane points higher, which provides a more efficient burn in the combustion chamber,” says Bill Griffin, owner of Griffin’s Neighborhood Auto Clinic in Farmington, Michigan. “But it is a choice. Slightly better fuel economy is there, but it’s not worth the huge price gap from regular to premium.”

Most gas stations offer three octane levels: regular (about 87), mid-grade (about 89) and premium (91 to 93).

Some gas stations may offer up to five different octane ratings, including a super premium, which typically has a rating of 93. Other gas stations may call their mid-grade “plus” or “special” and their premium “super.” If you’re unsure based on the description, check the octane level.

An octane rating, according to Exxon Mobile, measures the fuel’s ability to resist engine knocking, or pinging. The higher the octane, the greater resistance the fuel has to pinging during combustion.

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