Premium vs. Regular Gas

Gas pump


Wondering if there’s a difference between premium and regular gas for your model? Premium isn’t necessarily better, but certain vehicles do require premium to perform their best. So what’s the difference between premium vs. regular gas? The deciding factor is octane: premium fuel has a higher octane rating, and will combust at a higher temperature than regular gas. In the guide below from Baytown GMC Buick, learn the difference between premium and regular gas, and how to know which type you should be filling up with.

Octane Ratings for Premium vs. Regular Gas

Any gasoline you purchase is rated as regular, premium, or ultra-premium depending on octane level:

  • Regular — With an octane rating of 87, regular gas is the most affordable fuel. For some vehicles, it’s better to save money on regular than to fill up with premium.
  • Premium — Gasoline designated as premium has rated at an octane level of 91 or higher. Look for gas pumps labeled “91” or “93.”
  • Ultra-Premium — Sometimes you’ll see gasoline labeled as “ultra-premium” to indicate an octane level of 93.

When Do You Need Premium Gas?

Due to its higher combustion temperature, premium fuel delays engine combustion longer, reducing the likeness of combustion that occurs too early. Early combustion is known as “engine knock” because of the knocking noise that accompanies it. A small amount of engine knock is normal and unavoidable, but excessive and chronic knocking can damage the engine.

Premium gas used to be an important way to reduce engine knock, but it’s less crucial now that most new cars come with technology to predict and prevent premature engine combustion. So there’s very little difference between premium and regular gas when it comes to preventing engine knock, and regular gasoline is unlikely to harm a vehicle that comes with a premium gasoline recommendation. Still, there are other reasons that some drivers may choose to fill up with premium gas:

  • The engines of certain high-performance vehicles can only reach their full potential with premium fuel.
  • Some vehicle warranties require that you fill up with premium fuel only.
  • Some vehicles achieve better fuel economy with premium gasoline. If your Buick, GMC is one of them, then there’s no reason not to use it. Some automakers also claim that fuel efficiency is higher with premium (vs. regular gas).

Cover Your Vehicle Maintenance Needs

Looking for expert car-care tips? Contact the service center at Baytown GMC Buick to speak with a technician, or schedule service for your vehicle today.

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Baytown GMC Buick 29.8046, -94.99262.