There are many ways to save money at the pump. Knowing which grade of gas is best for your car can help you make the most of your cash when filling up.
Many people say that you should only use premium fuel based on the logic that because it is a higher grade, it will last longer. This misconception may be due to the fact that this grade of gas is subjected to a more thorough refinement process. Similarly, there are proponents and advocates who say the same thing for midgrade and regular gasoline as well, but with a few slight modifications. In fact, to give you a rather silly example that I overheard the other day, a friend of mine recently purchased a new hybrid car. When he was telling me about his car he said, with all seriousness, that he could only fill it up with midgrade fuel because, since his car was a hybrid, he had to use a fuel that was a hybrid in nature as well.
In all seriousness though, it really does not matter for the vast majority of vehicles what grade of gasoline you use. Whether you use regular, midgrade, or premium you are going to get the same results. There is only one real way to know what the best grade of gasoline for your car is, and that would be to check with the car manufacturer and use the grade that they recommend.
Only in a few special cases do you really need worry about what grade of gasoline you use. Those instances would include high performance vehicles that are in need of a more delicate, or refined type of fuel. In those cases, the dealer should make sure that you know about these limitations prior to the sale. If you have made specific and extensive after market modifications to your vehicle's engine, you might need to use the higher octane fuel.
The average consumer does not really have to worry about what grade of gasoline is best for their car. They all burn and work similarly enough that it is not going to make a huge difference in which one you use.
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I've heard this advise repeatedly throughout the years. But it is not always true. Some vehicles that I've owned have gotten consistently better gas mileage using premium fuels. Others have not. The only way to tell is to switch to the other grade for several fill-ups and track your mileage carefully. Use the average gas mileage for several tanks as the mileage for any one tank can change for a variety of reasons (difference in traffic, more highway vs. city driving, and other changes in the type and way you drive).
Calculating your mileage is easy. Simply divide the number of miles driven by the gallons of gas used.