The best way to determine if premium fuel is right for you is to check your owner’s manual to see what they recommend for your specific car. Higher-end models and turbo charged engines may require premium gas. Those cars are designed to burn fuel at optimum levels. Both the way the engine is timed and tuned, and the type of spark plugs used ensures that when you use this fuel, you’ll get the optimum performance from your vehicle.
There is nothing wrong with using fuel rated at 87 octane if a higher-octane fuel is not advised by the manufacturer. Components called “knock sensors” were added to vehicles a few years ago. These sensors adjust the timing if the engine begins to “ping” or “knock” due to lower octane or other factors in the fuel.
So do you have to use premium fuel? The answer is no. However, if you want the best performance and the best fuel mileage for your particular vehicle, then I recommend using higher quality gasoline, usually only available at nationally branded fuel stations, not discount fuel stations.
The return on investment is simply a crunching of the numbers. (Keep in mind that other factors affect gas mileage, as well—how fast we drive, driving conditions, environmental factors, and more.)
If you want to keep your vehicle in the best running condition and keep your fuel economy at its best, it is worth the small price to use high quality fuels. These fuels contain important additives, such as cleaners, that discount fuels do not have. I personally use and recommend Chevron fuel due to their patented “Techron” cleaning agent although any top-tier brand of fuel is preferable to “discount” fuels. Occasional use of “discount” fuels is fine since frequent use of high quality fuels will still keep the fuel injectors clean and operating efficiently.
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