When is Premium Gas Worth it?

March 18th, 2019 by

When is Premium Gas Worth it?

When it comes to our cars, we want to take measures to ensure they run well but no one wants to waste money either. Because of this, it can seem an easy choice to pick cheaper gas as it is not something we see or experience directly. But, is premium gas worth it? All signs point to “maybe.” It turns out the answer, is slightly more complicated than yes or no, so we break down when premium gas is worth it and when you should save a few bucks without doing your car any harm.

What makes premium gas premium?

A gasoline’s grade is determined by its octane rating – this rating indicates how much compression the fuel can take before igniting. The importance of this is that an engine also has an octane rating and this rating lets you know the least octane the engine can run on and not “ping.”

Ping, the sound an engine makes when the improper fuel is used, occurs because the fuel is igniting or com-busting too soon for the engine. While this is not a scenario of fast damage, continued use of improper fuel and the existence of ping can cause significant harm to the engine over time.

Determining if You Need Premium Gas

In general, the gas grade you should use is the one that is indicated by your engine’s octane rating. This rating has been determined with several important factors and is the level that will help your engine run its best for longer. All indications point to higher octane gasolines not being worth it unless your car is specifically designed for them – namely high performance engines.

However, intense driving conditions such as towing, extreme weather and driving up a steep incline may be benefited by higher octane gasoline. The amount of advantage may not be that great though and should only be considered if your vehicle will be experiencing extreme conditions regularly.

The more important factor in determining if you need higher octane fuel, other than your engine’s rating, is the age of your car. As a car gets to around the 5-year mark, its engine is likely to not run quite as well due to higher levels of carbon becoming trapped inside. This carbon means your engine will com-bust more quickly and require a fuel that has a higher-octane level to avoid ping.


In short, older cars (more than 5 years typically), and high performance vehicles are the ones that will benefit most from high octane fuels. Newer cars and engines with lower octane ratings will not be affected greatly when non-premium gas is used.

Choosing a Car Based on Gas Needs

Switching to a car with lower octane gas needs could result in significant savings. If you have an older car prone to ping, it may be a good time to trade it in as opposed to sinking more money into its care. At Lebanon Chrysler Dodge we have a wide range of new and pre-owned vehicles to meet your gas and mileage needs. Come in or call today!