What are the Benefits of Premium Gasoline or Petrol?

Premium fuel (gasoline or petrol) is also commonly referred to as high octane fuel.

High octane fuel is primarily used on high-performance engines such as turbocharged cars because the fuel does not burn prematurely, although many car owners choose high octane fuel for use in their non-turbo powered vehicles.

Unless your car explicitly needs the high octane fuel, you may not need to use it.

If you put premium fuel in a regular engine, it may even have adverse effects. The vehicle’s engine will have a harder time burning the higher octane fuel.

So why is high octane fuel so popular among car drivers?

Benefits of High Octane Fuel to Drivers

  • Fuel cost savings – Some believe high octane fuel gives better fuel economy, but this is hotly debated. You can measure fuel savings performance with a OBD2 diagnostics device.
  • Increased torque in performance applications – High octane fuel has been proven to work better on high-performance vehicles such as motorsports vehicles and heavy machinery transporters.
  • Energy security and environmental attributes – Since the price of high octane fuel doesn’t generally vary compared to lower octane fuels, people who use it consistently technically have better energy security. High octane fuel has also been found to have fewer pollutants and is, therefore, more environmentally friendly.

Benefits of High Octane Fuel for Vehicle Manufacturers

  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions – Many large manufacturers are taxed for their greenhouse gas emissions. Since vehicles manufactured to use high octane petrol generally have lower emissions than vehicles that use lower octane fuel, the vehicle manufacturers can attract tax remissions from the tax authorities for making the high-performance engines. You can track vehicle tax expenses with GOFAR.
  • Increased torque in performance applications – All manufacturers design vehicles in such a way as to offer incremental improvements in performance over previous iterations. The combination of premium fuel and advanced engine technology is a win-win for manufacturers and consumers.

Benefits of High Octane Fuel to Fuel Retailers

  • Fetch higher margins in the less price-competitive market – Premium fuel is used in high-performance cars who may be less price sensitive to fuel costs and this leads to better margins for retailers.
  • Helps differentiate retailers in a uniform market – If a retailer is in an area where there is high competition and their products are not differentiated, offering more high octane fuel options can give them a distinct market advantage.
  • Competitively priced high octane fuel can boost overall spending by consumers in-store – When high octane fuel is priced competitively compared to other retailers, price-conscious consumers after high octane fuel are more likely to select that retailer over others, with obvious benefits thanks to additional in-store purchases.

Benefits of High Octane Fuel to Fuel Producers

  • Renewable fuel standard compliance – It’s easier for fuel producers to renew standard fuel compliance if they are selling high octane fuel.
  • Economies of scale for cellulosic ethanol – Compared to other oil-based fuels; high octane fuel offers better economies of scale for fuel producers.
  • Facilitate additional fuel export – As car manufacturers produce more vehicles that can use premium fuel, fuel producers will increase the fuel export to meet the demand.

FAQ’s on High Octane Fuel

What is the octane rating?

An octane rating is the ability of the high octane fuel to resist engine knock – the engine pinging or rattling sound that comes as a result of premature ignition of the compressed fuel in one or more cylinders. The most common type of octane rating worldwide is the Research Octane Number (RON).

In Canada, the United States, Brazil and some other countries, retailers use the Anti-Knock Index (AKI), which is typically 4 to 6 octane numbers lower than elsewhere in the world for the same fuel.

In the USA, for example, the standard grades are:

  • Regular octane fuel (87 AKI)
  • Mid-grade octane fuel (88-90 AKI)
  • Premium octane fuel (91-94 AKI)

In Australia, the standard grades are:

  • Regular (unleaded) octane fuel (91 RON)
  • Mid-grade premium octane fuel (95 RON)
  • High-grade premium octane fuel (98 RON)

What’s the right octane level for your car?

Most car owners are advised to use regular octane fuel. You will need to check the owner’s manual to ascertain which fuel your car is supposed to use.

If you are using a high-compression engine such as those used in some high-performance cars, you will need to use either mid-grade or premium octane fuel to prevent knocking.

You can often tell whether you’re using the right octane level by listening to your engine.

If it doesn’t knock, then you’re using the correct grade of fuel.

Does higher octane fuel improve fuel economy or performance?

Maybe: It depends on the conditions and how the vehicle is being used.

For the majority of vehicles, using higher octane fuel may improve performance and mileage and even reduce CO2 emissions when the vehicle is working hard, such as when towing a trailer or carrying heavier than normal cargo, especially in hotter weather.

But under normal driving conditions, you’ll probably notice little to no benefit.

When should you switch to higher octane fuel?

In rare cases, a car engine will knock even though you used the recommended octane rated fuel.

When this happens, you can try switching to the next highest octane grade, and in many cases, this will be either the mid-grade or the premium grade fuel.

If after using the higher grade octane the engine continues to ping or knock, you may need to repair some other parts of the engine.

After you have corrected the knocking problem, you can go back to the recommended octane as per the owner’s manual.

Is higher octane fuel worth the higher cost?

If your vehicle manufacturer stipulates the use of midgrade or premium fuel, then yes, it’s worth the extra cost.

If your car owner’s manual says that your car doesn’t necessarily need premium but will run a lot better on higher octane fuel, then obviously it’s your call.

In general, the extra cost of premium fuel outweighs any fuel savings – probably due to the extra profit margins retailers can claim on premium fuel products. Then again, reducing CO2 emissions and fuel usage by even a tiny amount may be more important than cost to a lot of people in this day and age of climate change and environmental awareness.

Use GOFAR to Find Your Engine’s Sweet Spot

Whatever fuel you decide to use, GOFAR’s smart technology can still help you use less fuel, save money and be kinder to the environment.

GOFAR helps you find your car engine’s sweet spot as you drive and guides you to drive more efficiently, saving you fuel and reducing wear on your brakes.

Testing showed GOFAR:

  • Reduced emissions by 12% in one trial;
  • And saw drivers reducing their fuel use by between 5% and 31% during 11,500 km (7145 miles) in another trial involving four different drivers.
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