The experts seem split on whether cheap gas is bad for your vehicle. A simple Internet search will send back varying opinions on the matter. However, one thing is certain, and that is Americans look for any way to get cheap gas.
First, it is important to know that no matter where you buy your gasoline, it is the same there as it is at every other filling station. At least, to a certain extent. The life of all gasoline begins the same way as “base gas.”
The base gas comes from the refinery, where additives are mixed into it. These additives are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to clean your vehicle’s engine and reduce emissions.
Following this stage, the different fuel companies take the gasoline and mix in their own additives. These can vary and some may just be marketing mumbo-jumbo.
Name-brand vs. off-brand gasoline
The biggest difference between name-brand and off-brand gasoline is that the name brands contain far more additives. This gives name-brand fuel companies a reason to sell gasoline at a higher price.
However, they don’t just use additives so they can sell gasoline for more. Many of these additives do clean your engine far better than the ones used – or not – by the off-brand filling stations. According to Edmunds.com, more additives in gasoline offer more protection to your engine.
You should always check your owner’s manual to see whether the automaker recommends premium or regular fuel. Unfortunately, it won’t tell you which gasoline station to buy it from.
Will I have fewer repairs using more expensive gasoline?
Thrillist.com believes that buying cheaper gasoline will catch up with you in the long run. That is why buying slightly more expensive, additive-rich fuel is best. This is especially true for gasoline direct injection (GDI) vehicles. According to Thrillist.com, that’s “nearly half of all new cars and trucks.”
With the price difference being a few cents per gallon, your savings won’t add up once you are replacing thousands of dollars in parts. A fuel injector alone can set you back $500 to $1,000.
Using more expensive gasoline and the additives in it allows your vehicle to stay fit and healthy for longer.
There are some experts, however, who dispute the notion that you should buy more expensive fuel. Today, fuel regulations are far more stringent than they were two decades ago.
“AAA’s tests reveal that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that requires regular fuel,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “Premium gasoline is specifically formulated to be compatible with specific types of engine designs and most vehicles cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating.”
Premium gasoline once was the best you could get for your money. However, in 2016, skeptics say gasoline is created far more equally than in the past. Which is why cheaper gasoline is just fine to use in your car, truck, or SUV.
In addition, with new technologies going into the creation of engines, premium gasoline is no longer needed for high performance.
Despite the two differing viewpoints, many people continue to use higher-grade gasoline in their vehicles. Whether it is the marketing that sways them or feeling more confident in their vehicle’s performance, drivers want to know their vehicle isn’t going to break down.
Cheap gas may not be bad for your vehicle, but the final decision on whether you use premium or regular is ultimately up to you.