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

premium gas vs regular

While at the gas station refilling your tank, you may have found yourself wondering, “What’s the difference between premium and regular gasoline, and which is best for my car?” The service team at Holiday Automotive is here to help answer your questions. Below, we’ve compared premium vs. regular gas, so you can determine once and for all which is right for your new or used vehicle.


Premium Gasoline: What is it?

Regular gasoline and premium gasoline have a few similarities — one of which is the fact that both are made from crude oil and are combustible. They have different octane levels, however. Premium gasoline tends to have an octane level of 90 or higher. One of the benefits of premium gasoline is the fact that it helps keep your engine cleaner, resulting in fewer pollutants released into the air.

Regular Unleaded Gasoline: What is it?

Regular unleaded gasoline is the most commonly used type of fuel, and most vehicles on Wisconsin roads run well on it. Unlike gas that contains lead, regular unleaded is better for the environment and has an octane rating of 87. 

What’s the Difference Between Premium and Regular Gas? 

As noted above, premium and regular gas have some similarities, but there are a few reasons to consider one or the other: 

  • Octane Rating: When gasoline has a higher octane rating, there’s a lower chance of engine knocking (also known as pre-ignition), which can cause damage to your car.
  • Engine Compatibility: Because it has a lower octane rating, regular unleaded gas burns more quickly than premium gas. If your car’s engine has a lower compression ratio, regular unleaded gas is a better choice. The opposite is true premium gas.
  • Gas Prices: Premium gas is more expensive than regular and can cost as much 20-40 cents more per gallon. Of course, this can get pricey if you spend a lot of time behind the wheel. 

Premium vs. Regular Gas: What to Keep in Mind

Before you purchase premium or regular fuel, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Using premium gas won’t enhance the performance of your car if it’s not required. Check your owner’s manual or ask one of our knowledgeable technicians if you’re unsure which type of fuel is right for your car.
  • Typically, using regular gas for a vehicle that requires premium gas won’t damage the engine. However, if you hear knocking when using regular unleaded, switch to premium as soon as possible. 
  • If your car’s engine is turbocharged, it’s likely it’ll require premium gas.

Compare Premium vs. Regular Gas with Holiday Automotive

Do you have more questions about premium vs. regular gas and which is best for your car? Our team of experts services Cadillac, Ford, Mazda, Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC. Contact one of our service centers directly, and browse our current selection of service specials for opportunities to save on routine maintenance. While you’re here, check out our DIY guides, such as how to clean leather seats, for more car care tips!


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