If you own a car, you’ve filled it up with fuel before and probably mindlessly. You notice the regular or premium fuel options, but chances are you don’t put much thought into it. The problem is, depending on what vehicle you own, you may actually be using the wrong type of fuel. Most Canadians opt for the cheapest fuel available and that works on a lot of vehicles, but all cars are different and some require gasoline with higher octane levels. So before you fill up your car again, take 3 minutes and learn about the different fuel options. Having this knowledge could help you save money or save you from engine problems down the road if you’ve been using lower grade fuel on an engine that needs high grade.
What’s the Main Difference Between Premium and Regular Gas?
Most gas stations have 3-4 different fuel options usually labelled in numbers from 87, 89, 91, and 93. At other gas stations you may even see options for “supreme” or “plus” fuel, but these also will have a number on them. At this point you’re probably wondering “why all the numbers?”. Well the answer is simple, the higher the number on the pump, the higher the octane level. These numbers are standard across the country so you can be sure that Supreme 91 in Ontario will be the same grade as Supreme 91 in British Columbia.
Why Does Octane Matter?
Simply put, the higher the octane level, the slower the gas burns. While what is considered “regular” gas varies from country to country, in Canada, gas with an 87 octane level is considered regular, 89 ia considered mid-grade and 91 is considered premium. While only some gas stations offer 94 level octane, this is considered super premium fuel.
A Common Mistake With Premium Gas
A common misconception many people have when they buy a new car is that they assume they should use premium gas to take the best care of the engine. For many vehicles, especially ones that aren’t high performance, premium fuel won’t give you any more benefits than regular gas. While it won’t hurt the car, it will hurt your bank account unnecessarily. Premium gas is usually for high-performance vehicles only as they use high compression engines that are more likely to be damaged from premature ignition during combustion.
What Type of Gas is Right For Your Vehicle?
If you’re not sure what type of gas you should be fueling your vehicle with, the best way to find out is by reading the owners manual. If you’ve lost the owners manual, you can easily find the same information by Googling the exact name, year and model of the vehicle.
What is Mid-Range Gas?
At this point, we’ve explained both premium and regular gas, but you’re probably wondering why anyone would use mid-range gas. Mid-range gas is labelled as 89 octane and it’s not a common need for many vehicles. The only reason you should ever use mid range gas is if the car calls for it or a trustworthy mechanic recommends it, otherwise stick to what your vehicle calls for.