It’s an old wives tale, friends (or perhaps old car guys tale would be more apt). This is a rumor with the resilience of a garden weed or a cockroach. It constantly pops up as people stand at the gas station and decide to give their car a treat: “No regular gas for you today, car! Today you’re getting the good stuff.”
Hogwash. You should do whatever the instruction manual says. Anything you heard from someone else is bunk, and do you know why? Because they’ve never made a car.
Does premium gas make my car run better?
Not if it was made to run on regular gas. Your car won’t run any smoother, livelier, peppier, happier, or more efficiently. A lot of science went into how the manufacturer designed the combustion process for the engine. Tossing in a different blend of gasoline doesn’t magically give your car more zip any more than eating a carrot allows you to lift a bank vault.
But doesn’t it clean out the engine or something?
Nope. Regular, plus, and premium gas all come with detergents to mitigate against carbon deposits in your engine. Plus and premium don’t come with special powers for cleaning out the engine. If you’re interested in cleaning out your engine, you’re better off taking it in for service.
Isn’t premium gas more powerful though?
No. Premium gas has the same amount of energy as regular gas. What makes premium gas special is its ability to withstand higher amounts of pressure without combusting. High-performance engines put more pressure on fuel to create higher amounts of power. So it’s not that premium gas is more potent. It’s that the engine it’s going into was made to create more power.
So I should always get regular?
Yes. Whatever your manual says, do that. It’s tempting to think that if you splurge at the pump you’ll somehow give your car a treat, but we’re afraid it’s just a myth. As we said, if you really want to extend the life of your vehicle, have it looked at by a manufacturer-trained automotive technician. That’s the best way to keep your car running as efficiently as possible for as long as possible.