All about gas

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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WITH gas prices so high, it can be tempting to consider buying cheap gas or fuel not recommended by your car manufacturer because it will save you some money at the pump. But price aside, auto mechanic Roshane Holness said that it's important for you to know what you're putting into your car, and how it could be affecting your vehicle.

“One of the most expensive parts of car ownership is gasoline. Therefore, it is only natural that people will want to save on gas. One of the most important things to consider when buying gas is the recommendation in your car's manual,” Holness advised.

Below he shares some other things to consider when you next go to the pump.

Cheap versus brand name gas

All gasoline by law is required to have additives — these are chemicals which are added to the gas such as detergents, which help prevent fuel injector clogs and deposits from forming in the engine. The difference, according to Holness, is the amount of additive that is in the gas, a distinction which he said can be made by looking at the price.

“Cheaper gas tends to have the minimum amount of additives required by law while those that are mid-grade or premium gas have more additives. So essentially what happens is that while generic or cheaper gas will save you more at the pump, mid-range and or premium gas will offer more protection against engine wear,” Holness explained.

Therefore he said that if you want to keep your car's engine in optimal condition for as long as possible, it is best to spend a little more at the pump.

The ethanol content in gasoline

He said that another factor to consider when at the pump is the ethanol content in the gas. He explains that cheaper gas has a much higher ethanol content. This means that the car will burn more fuel when you buy cheaper fuel. Therefore, buying cheaper gas does not always mean that you will save since it will burn much faster since it has a much higher ethanol quantity.

Using too high vs too low octane

Knowing the required octane grade of your car is very important because using unleaded gas that is too low in octane can cause problems with your car.

“When gasoline is at a grade that is lower than that which is recommended by the car manufacturer, what will happen is that the engine will produce slightly less power and get lower gas mileage,” Holness said.

He warns that there is also the possibility of engine damage, which he said is unlikely, but possible.

On the other hand, he said that if someone chooses to put gas that is of a higher grade than the car requires, for example, using premium when your car requires that you use 87, then you are just wasting money because there is no advantage to using it.

“If you decide you want to use premium gas instead of your regular 87 there is not any known damage that it could cause to your vehicle. However, there are really no known benefits either because all gasoline contain detergents that help to keep your fuel system clean,” Holness shared.


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