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Old 06-23-2015, 09:04 AM   #1
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Which gas to use

Hi everyone, my wife and I are getting ready to leave on our vacation soon. My wife asked me if we were going to use premium gas while towing? I never thought about that. Has anyone here seen a difference while towing using premium? I don't believe I'm going to get better gas mileage, but what about better performance from the tow vehicle. We have a 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 4X4 with the Z71 tow package.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:23 AM   #2
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Modern engines have a knock sensor and will retard engine timing in response to spark knock...however this also reduces engine power.

If it were me I would use premium 93 octane fuel to get maximum power out of my tow vehicle engine under load.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:40 AM   #3
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Unless you try it with both grades of gas, you will not know if the premium gas is worth the expense. You may be satisfied with the slightly less power of regular gas.

I tried mid grade, in a few tank fills and didn't notice any change. Back to regular.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:48 AM   #4
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Manufacturers have extensive engineering dept. and have designed their vehicles to run best on a specific grade of fuel. If it ran better with different grades it would be stated in your owners manual. IMHO a waste of money to buy mid or premium grade fuel.
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:53 AM   #5
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No, the government told them to make them run on regular
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Old 06-23-2015, 09:56 AM   #6
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A question i have pondered myself, my new to me 2013 dodge Hemi manual says best to use 89 octane but 87 is ok, tried the 89 for one tank {not towing } could not find any difference.
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:05 AM   #7
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No, the government told them to make them run on regular
No, their are premium cars that the manufacturer states require premium fuel. High performance GM engines for example.
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Old 06-23-2015, 10:40 AM   #8
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Just to complicate it a bit, my toad car is a Smart for two, 1 L Mercedes engine, 3 cylinders and it requires premium gas... but it makes over 40 MPG and can run up to 85 MPH !
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Old 06-23-2015, 11:06 AM   #9
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Time for me to weigh in.

I personally have done extensive testing on my own vehicles over the years and find I get more miles per gallon from 93 than 89 or the mid grade. So much so it actually costs less for me to use 93 than 89 as the 93 burns much longer with more power and also leaves less deposits keeping my engine running longer.

You guys can do the math on your own cars but I never use less than 93 unless I have no choice.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:21 PM   #10
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I know you will get better mileage from some premiums. For example, the premium gas at many Shell stations contains no ethanol. That for sure makes a noticeable difference. It's all I use in the small engines around our place.
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Old 06-23-2015, 12:47 PM   #11
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Octane ratings are the gasoline resistance to predetonation in high compression motors. In diesel motors there is no spark plugs, the high compression of the air in the cylinders creates the heat to ignite the fuel. Same with high performance motors. They need higher octane fuels to keep from igniting before the spark plugs fire at proper timing. It is a misconception that higher octane fuels make more power. The engines that need high octane fuels make more power. Standard motors need regular or midgrade or occasionally premium because of the additional cleaners and additives put in them, that cleans the injectors and intake system, and like mentioned previously, sometimes the lack of power robbing methanol not in them.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:30 PM   #12
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I know you will get better mileage from some premiums. For example, the premium gas at many Shell stations contains no ethanol. That for sure makes a noticeable difference. It's all I use in the small engines around our place.
Gasoline produces 116,090 btu's per gallon. Ethanol produces 76,000 btu's per gallon. A gallon of fuel containing 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol produces 112,081 btu's. A gallon of the gasoline/ethanol mix produces 96% of the btu's produced by a gallon of pure gasoline, so I would expect in the range of 3% to 4% better mileage with non ethanol gasoline.


The non ethanol gas has the side benefit of not destroying fuel lines on small engines. I have a couple dozen pieces of small engine equipment. The ethanol/gas mix was so hard on fuel lines I was buying it by the 50' spool. I changed to non-ethanol gas for this equipment about 4 years ago. Since then I haven't had to replace a single fuel line.
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Old 06-23-2015, 01:55 PM   #13
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Something to watch out go if you will be on the west. In some states they sell 86 octane as regular gas and 88 octane is the next step up for 10-20 cents more power gallon. I use 88 in my motorhome even though it's more costly.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:40 PM   #14
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I will sum this up.
Ethanol is bad.
Octane make gas LESS volatile so it can withstand higher compression ratio engines.

You want to run the least octane for your engine's specs. There is no benefit of running premium in a rugular car designed for 86 octane. But there is benefit if the car has the performance to use all the octane via more compression/heat. Otherwise the engine can and will run in a retarded state on regular. But it will not make its advertised power or economy.
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