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Premium vs. Regular Gas: What’s the Difference?

Car at gas pump


Have you ever found yourself at the gas pump unsure of which fuel type to use? Curious about what the difference is between premium and regular gas? If so, Music City Autoplex has put together a guide to compare premium vs. regular gas for you. Discover which fuel type is right for your make and model below. For more information on fuel, car battery replacement, antifreeze importance, and more, consult our car maintenance tips!

What is Premium Gasoline?

When you examine premium vs. regular gas, you will notice a number of similarities. Both fuel types are made from crude oil and are combustible. The main difference between premium and regular gas is discovered when you look at the octane levels. Typically, premium gasoline will have an octane level of 90 or above. Premium gasoline helps to keep your engine cleaner which in turn leads to less pollution.

What is Regular Unleaded Gasoline?

Regular gasoline is likely the most familiar fuel for many Nashville drivers. Most vehicles you see on your commute from Hendersonville to Clarksville run on regular unleaded gasoline. The octane rating of regular unleaded gasoline is 87 which is an indicator of how well it combats inappropriate fuel combustion. Unleaded gasoline is much cleaner than fuel containing lead and is incredibly common.

The Difference Between Premium and Regular Gas

While the two may seem similar, there are some distinct differences between premium and regular gas:

  • Octane Rating: With premium gasoline, your vehicle is less likely to be damaged as a result of engine knocking. Higher octane levels help reduce this phenomenon also known as pre-ignition.
  • Engine Suitability: The compression ratio of your engine will help determine which type of gasoline your car requires. Regular unleaded gas burns at a quick rate which works well with engines that have a low compression ratio. Premium gasoline will optimize engines that have high compression ratios.
  • Price: If you are looking to stick to a conservative budget, you may want a vehicle that takes regular unleaded gasoline. Premium gasoline can be as much as 20 to 40 cents more than regular unleaded which can add up quickly!

Before deciding which fuel type is right for you, keep these tips in mind:

  • Using premium gasoline will not boost the performance or longevity of your vehicle if your car does not require it.
  • If you drive a car that requires premium gas, regular unleaded can be used in a pinch and should not harm your vehicle. If you experience engine knocking while driving, it is best to switch back to premium fuel.
  • Turbocharged engines may strictly require premium gasoline.

Learn More From Our Team in Madison

If you have any other fuel questions or are unsure of which gasoline type is right for your vehicle, contact us today. Our team can answer all of your fuel questions and can even explain what happens if you don’t change your oil and the difference between diesel and gas trucks. Visit us at Music City Autoplex for all of your car care needs and learn from our car buying tips to make your next vehicle purchase a breeze!

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Music City Autoplex 36.269330, -86.710610.