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Is Premium Fuel Worth the Added Expense?

With gas prices lower than they have been in years, you might be considering splurging on premium fuel for the first time. Here’s what you need to know before making the upgrade from regular gas.

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Considering upgrading from regular gas?

Considering upgrading from regular gas?

Sure, the price of Canadian gas is lower than it has been in years, but is now the time to make the switch from regular to premium fuel?
As with so many things in the automotive world, the answer is, “It depends.” Some vehicles, especially high-performance sports cars and classic cars, may benefit from premium fuel, which can enhance performance and engine longevity. Others will do just fine with regular. Here are a few things to consider before paying the added expense for premium at your next trip to the pump.

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1. Consult Your Owner's Manual

1. Consult Your Owner’s Manual

If you’re wondering if premium fuel is worth the extra cost, a good place to start is with your vehicle’s owner’s manual, which is something you should always keep on-hand in your car’s glove box. The owner’s manual should outline the fuel recommendations, including whether or not you need to use the premium blend.
If the owner’s manual specifies premium fuel only, that is what you should use. If the manual does not specify the type of fuel, you are probably fine using the cheapest gas you can find.

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2. Test Your Car on Premium Fuel

2. Test Your Car on Premium Fuel

If your owner’s manual does not specify premium fuel, you may want to do a bit of experimentation on your own. Fill your car up with premium fuel and see how it runs. If it runs markedly better on the premium fuel, you might want to stick with it. If not, you should be able to safely go back to regular blend and save the extra money.
You should also check your fuel economy with the various grades of fuel. If your car gets better mileage with the premium fuel, the extra cost may be justified. If the mileage stays the same or goes down with premium blend, it is probably best to stick to the regular grade.

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3. Ask Your Mechanic About Premium Fuel

3. Ask Your Mechanic About Premium Fuel

If you have a specialty vehicle or classic car, it’s a good idea to ask your mechanic what kind of fuel is best. Some classic cars were manufactured when gasoline routinely used a higher octane, and they may knock or run poorly on the lower octane fuel. Your mechanic should be able to give you some guidance and help you find the best blend for your car.

The same goes for sports cars and high-performance vehicles. These vehicles are often designed to run better on premium fuel, and your mechanic should be able to tell you if the extra cost is worthwhile. The gas you put in your car is important to its well-being, and you do not want to make a mistake in this critical area.

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