More is better, right? But, is this really true when it comes to the octane in your fuel tank? With gas prices on the rise, it makes you really wonder if the premium gas is really worth the extra $0.20 per gallon. It seems the answer isn't as clear cut as you would hope. It really depends on your car. Here are a few tips to help you decide which fuel is best for your car.
Look in your owner's manual. Some cars call for regular fuel, some recommend premium fuel, and some require premium fuel. The difference between "recommend" and "require" is key here. If your car calls for regular fuel, it is not worth it to put in "the good stuff." A car calling for regular octane fuel is designed to use just that. Putting in a gas that has more octane may improve performance and/or gas mileage, but it's up to you if it's worth worth the extra money.
If your owners manual recommends a higher grade gasoline, you could use less than premium fuel but you could be sacrificing some performance and gas mileage. If money is tight, it's not going to damage your engine, so you could opt for regular fuel. A better option would be to compromise and alternate between something less than premium and premium.
If your car was designed for premium gas, you should use it. No questions asked. These engines were designed to get more power out of smaller engines using a specific type of fuel, and if you use lower octane fuels you will not get that power you paid for. If you choose to use less than premium fuel in these tanks, it reduces efficiency and will cause damage over time.
So, is more really better? Only if required. If your car doesn't "require" you use premium fuel, it's up to you. It's not going to hurt your car if you opt for the lower octane fuel for the sake of saving a few bucks.