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Premium or Regular Gas: That's the Question!

Some people think premium gas is the only thing they should put in their cars because they believe regular gas isn't good for their engines. But, what do they do if they're low on fuel out on the other side of town, and the only gas station pumps only a discount brand? Are they over thinking it or actually playing it smart?

At TranStar Auto Body Shop in Oakland, CA we have often struggled with the premium vs. regular gas question, so here are some direct answers that will hopefully help you to make a wise decision.

The questions are many. Is less expensive gas alright for your car's engine? Is there less performance for one brand of gas as opposed to another? Can regular, unleaded gasoline hurt your engine while premium fuel can improve it?  Is it a smart move to stop at an off-brand gas station, or pay the extra money for top brand, premium gasoline?

Here are the facts. Every car runs via combustion. During the process, the gasoline is ignited by a spark plug within your engine's compartment, but it does not spark instantly. Instead, the fuel is mixed with air and runs along the spark plug, where the flame ignites and expands, and eventually the remaining air and fuel catch fire.

Many car owners believe that premium gas is the better fuel because it costs more and has higher levels of octane, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is ideal for your type of vehicle. Premium levels of octane are basically designed for aggressive, powerful, high-performance engines. If you have a performance engine, you don’t need premium gas, and premium gas isn’t going to do anything more than helping you to waste your money.

To figure out whether or not your car needs premium or just fine with regular, check your owner’s manual. If you have a muscle car, such as a Corvette, Porsche, Mustang or anything designed exclusively for performance, there's a good chance that premium gas is better for your vehicle. Otherwise, your engine isn’t able to take full advantage of the superior octane, so it will only cost you more at the gas station.

Don't overspend by buying a fuel that is not right for you and your car. Today's gasoline is made better using high-tech refining techniques, so the difference between premium vs. regular gas is not as much as it used to be. Some people will use regular most of the time, but put premium in their car every once in a while, which is actually a pretty good idea.

 TranStar Auto Body Shop, 940 E 12Th Street, Oakland, CA 94606

Sources: cartalk.com and USA Today

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