What kind of gas are you pumping? Experts weigh in on what kind you should use

HOUSTON – There are a bunch of choices you can make at the gas pump. The less expensive regular gas, mid-grade, or premium. Which one should you choose and what’s the difference? Is pumping premium truly benefiting my car? After talking with automotive experts and AAA Texas, spending extra money at the pump may not help you out on the road.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Top-tier gasoline: Pumping regular gas doesn’t mean you’re compromising on quality.

“There is a mandated minimum amount of detergents that must be in fuel, so gasoline that meets top-tier standards exceeds that standard,” according to Josh Zuber with AAA Texas.

The TripTik web site is where you can see if a station is participating in AAA’s TOP TIER fuel program. AAA researched and tested top-tier gasoline vs. non-top tier gasoline and the TripTik website lists the gas stations that are participating in the program to help drivers make informed decisions.

  • Premium gas is not always worth the price: Contrary to popular belief, premium-grade fuel does not contain more power than regular.

“You’re not going to save your fuel, you’re not gonna have better performance, you’re not gonna have better mileage,” according to Moufid Rabieh, President/Owner of Elite Auto Expert.

Cars that are meant to run on regular do not need premium gas. There is no benefit to your vehicle’s engine if you pay for premium gas, but if your car requires premium fuel, you must select that grade.

Here’s why: the number at the pump is the amount of octane in the gas and 87 is regular, 89 is midgrade, and 93 is premium or high. All that number means is the amount of resistance to detonation, reducing the loud noise from engine knock, which sounds like a bunch of marbles if you pump the wrong kind of fuel, especially in high-performance vehicles. We’re talking about BMW’s, Mercedes, and cars with turbo-charged engines or high-compression engines, like in a Corvette. There is more heat and more pressure in these engines, so if you pump fuel with a lower octane level, you’ll ruin your engine.

Alex Revuelta with Elite Auto Experts says consider getting a fuel injector cleaning service done every 30,000 miles. It’ll cost you about $200 and will help keep your engine running smoothly!


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Traffic expert and What’s Driving Houston reporter, proud Latina, lover of animals, food and our beautiful planet.