Good gas or bad gas? Whatís the difference? When buying gas for your car, there are a few factors that you need to consider. In the old days, you had the choice between Ethel, Leaded, Unleaded and more. Today in the USA that option is gone, and when you head to the gas station, you are going to fill up on unleaded gas. There are some options left though that you can consider. Gas options fall into three categories. They are octane, special additives, and ethanol content.
The three options for octane for cars are 87, 89, and 92. Large engines usually run quite well on 87 octane, where smaller cars do better with 89. Higher performance cars will usually go with 92 octane. The higher the octane rating, the more compression the fuel can handle before it ignites. If your engine is knocking, then the fuel is igniting from the compression, not from the spark. Engine knocking can damage your engine, so if your engine is knocking, start buying higher octane gas.
Different fuel companies have different special additives that are included in the gas to keep the inside of the engine clean. Some, like Chevron, have special names for these additives. Does Chevron with Techron ring a bell? Conoco Phillips (also 76), uses PROClean. Exxon uses high amounts of additives in their gas as well in order to keep your system clean. The difference is that they donít market it with a fancy name. All the major gas companies use detergent additives to help keep your engine clean, so this should not really be a consideration.
The last option in your gasoline selection is ethanol content. The lower the ethanol content, the better the fuel will burn in your engine, and the longer your engine will last. Ethanol also lowers your fuel economy. Consumer reports recently did a study in which they found that the same vehicle running E85 Ethanol as opposed to gas suffered a 27% decline in fuel economy.
Use these three factors in your decision making. Whether your goal is to save the planet, save money, or save your engine, these are all things that you should consider.