How To Improve Your Gas Mileage
What are some ways to avoid dropping twelve grand on a car you might not want to be caught dead in? Well, start by improving your own gas mileage! Try the following steps to improve your gas mileage, in your old car or your new one:
- Increase your car’s tire pressure
- Get your alignment checked
- Don’t buy heavily treaded tires
- If you do buy new tires, splurge and get the metal valve stems
- Change your air filter
- Get a high performance air filter
- Reduce wind resistance
- Reduce weight in your vehicle
- Drive less aggressively
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How Old Is Too Old For Gas
Degradation occurs from the get-go but most gas stays fresh for a month or two without issue. However, gas that is more than two month old is generally OK to use with only minor decreases in performance. Gas that is older than a year can cause issues, like engine knocking, sputtering and clogged injectors. Bad gas can be drained from the tank to prevent damage to the engine. One caveat to keep in mind is that there is no way of knowing how old the gas is when you first pump it into the car.
Can I Use Diesel For My Car
Diesel fuel has a much lower octane rating of 25 to 30. If your car manufacturer doesnt recommend diesel, you shouldnt fill up your car with it, even if it costs less than regular gas.
Diesel can cause damage to your vehicles engine because of the lower compression and octane level. You dont want to get stuck with costly and unneeded car repairs.
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What Kind Of Gas Does My Car Take
Will premium gasoline make your car run better? Can regular gasoline damage your engine? Does midgrade give you better gas mileage? Motorists often ask these questions and unfortunately, often come up with the wrong answers. Were here to help you decide what kind of fuel to put in your car.
How do I know what fuel my car takes?
Youll find the minimum octane rating in the owners manual, and cars that require premium fuel will usually say so on or near the gas cap and sometimes even by the fuel gauge. If your car specifies premium fuel, use the good stuff. Otherwise, theres no reason to buy anything but the lowest-priced regular fuel at the pump.
What octane gas should I use?
You should use whatever octane level is required for your car specified by the owners manual. Generally, regular fuel is 87 octane, premium is 91 or 93, and midgrade is somewhere in the middle; often 89.
To understand what octane means, we first have to look at the concept of preignition. Engines compress a mixture of air and fuel and ignite them with a spark. Under certain conditions, the fuel-air mixture can ignite early, which makes a knocking sound not unlike a coffee percolator this is called preignition. Nowadays, most cars have knock sensors that prevent preignition, so youll rarely hear it.
Does my car need premium fuel?
Why do some cars need high-octane fuel?
When can I use regular gas?
Can I choose what kind of fuel I use?
What if my car says RON 95 or RON 98?
What Makes Up Gasoline
According to the Energy Information Administration, gasoline is a fuel made from crude oil and other petroleum liquids. Gasoline is mainly used as an engine fuel in vehicles. Petroleum refineries and blending facilities produce motor gasoline for sale at retail gasoline fueling stations.
The gasoline youre used to is actually unfinished gasoline combined with additional liquids such as ethanol. Its these different blends that determine the different types of gas that are typically listed by grade at the gas pump.
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What Kind Of Gas Should You Be Using
Fuel efficiency is a hot topic in the automotive world. Car buyers want the best long-term deal for fuel costs, while owners want to cut costs on what they already have. Thats why many drivers are asking if premium gas is really worth the extra cost. Should you buy a new Toyota at your local Toyota dealership that uses premium or not? The answer isnt always clear.
How Gas Grades Work
Now that you understand the different fuel sources, let’s explore the different fuel grades. But first you need to understand why these different grades exist.
As you look at the different gas grades at the gas station, you’ll notice that each grade has a number. This number is the octane rating, which measures how resistant the gasoline is to pre-ignition. When your gas ignites prematurely, you’ll hear a rattling or knocking sound. This usually means you have used a lower octane rated gasoline than is recommended for your car. The higher the octane rating, the more resistant the gas is to pre-ignition. Most cars are designed to combat the effects of pre-ignition.
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Smarter Engines Protect Themselves
If you’re still in doubt about switching to a lower-octane fuel, here’s a more in-depth explanation of why the change is unlikely to hurt your car:
First of all, premium gas has a higher octane rating, an important factor in helping prevent engine knock or “pinging.” Depending on where you live, this premium-grade fuel could be 90 octane, 91 octane, or even 94 octane.
That’s one reason premium costs more. To increase the octane rating and reduce knock, refineries use a more elaborate process that blends an expensive substance called alkylate into the fuel.
What is engine knock? After vaporized fuel mixes with air and fills the combustion chamber, rising pistons compress it. The spark plug then fires, initiating the combustion process. But combustion doesn’t happen instantaneously. It takes some time for the flame kernel to develop, grow and then burn the entire contents of the fuel-air mixture in the cylinders. There’s a critical period in the middle of this process when the mixture in the unburned region is being heated by the neighboring burned gas while being compressed by the rising piston.
This one-two punch can cause the mixture in the unburned region to self-combust rapidly in an uncontrolled fashion. That’s the knock, which hurts power and can damage the engine. Simply put, high-octane gasoline can be compressed and heated to a greater degree without self-igniting. That’s why high-performance engines use premium fuel.
If Your Car Only Recommends Premium The Choice Is Yours
With certain vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Mazda MX-5 Miata, automakers recommend premium gas but dont require it. Research by AAA found that these vehicles saw a slight increase in performance and fuel economy using premium gas. For those who drive a luxury or performance vehicle, premium gas can help emphasize your vehicles intended characteristics.;
But if your owners manual says premium fuel recommended, you can safely run on regular. Depending on what and how you drive, commuters looking to get from Point A to Point B may not notice the difference or care. At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preference. Your car, your rules.
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How Long Does It Take For Gas To Go Bad
The gas in your car has a shelf life of several months. But theres no way for you to know how old the gas in your car actually is. When did it leave the refinery? How long was it stored after it was refined? How long was it at the gas station before you purchased it?
The best course of action here is to use up the fuel in your tank by driving your car regularly. If you are storing extra gas in a gas can, these rules apply to that as well use it as soon as possible, because it wont last forever.;
Why Do Some Manufacturers Require Or Recommend The Use Of Higher Octane Gasoline
Higher octane fuels are often required or recommended for engines that use a higher compression ratio and/or use supercharging or turbocharging to force more air into the engine. Increasing pressure in the cylinder allows an engine to extract more mechanical energy from a given air/fuel mixture but requires higher octane fuel to keep the mixture from pre-detonating. In these engines, high octane fuel will improve performance and fuel economy.
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Is Premium Gas Better For Your Vehicle
If your car does not recommend premium, you arent doing your vehicle any favors by getting it. Some vehicles specify premium gas. Engineers at auto manufacturers prescribe premium gas because certain kinds of engines operate optimally with higher-octane fuel. If your owners manual doesnt call for premium gas, your vehicle doesnt need it.
How Does Regular Car Maintenance Keep Your Vehicle In Good Health
Keeping up with regular maintenance like oil changes, having the proper tires, and being aware of any issues can help keep your car in good health. An easy way to keep your car running in tip-top shape for longer is to drive less.
Low-mileage drivers put less wear and tear on their cars. Driving less frequently generally means youll need to maintain your car less frequently, too.Switching to pay-how-you-drive auto insurance could be a good idea if you dont drive much. Metromiles pay-per-mile insurance policies focus on the miles you drive, so people who dont fill up often could also pay less for car insurance.
The table below shows the average annual car insurance savings enjoyed by new Metromile customers:
If its an option, taking public transportation could also help you save money at the gas station.
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What Should I Do If I Put E85 In My Car
If you dont have a flex-fuel vehicle and you put E85 in your car, you dont need to panic. If you dont have a full tank of gas, you should top it off with regular gasoline as soon as possible. This will help to dilute the ethanol content and get your fuel back to a heavier gasoline mixture.
The more often you top off your fuel with the right mixture, the quicker this light will turn off. Until you burn through the E85, we recommend that you top off your fuel regularly to dilute the E85 as soon as possible.
The less time you have your engine running with the wrong ethanol mixture, the better. But, as long as you dont consistently put E85 into your gas tank, you should be OK from any long-term damage.
So, dont go rushing to the mechanic, telling them that they need to drain your fuel tank. While they might try and rip you off and do it, most mechanics will send you on your way and tell you everything will be fine, and not to do it again!
High Altitudes And Lower Octane Gas
If you’re driving in the mountains, you’ll often find gas stations with lower-octane gasoline, for example, “85 octane regular” instead of “87 octane regular.” This is because the air density is lower at high altitudes, which affects how the fuel burns in the engine.
Choose your gas according to how long you’ll be staying. If you’re spending the week, it’s safe to tank up on the fuel that corresponds to what you normally use, such as regular or premium. If you’re just passing through, plan for lower altitudes and go by the numbers on the pump. If your car requires 87, then use 87 or higher. If your car requires premium, buy just enough gasoline to get you back down to lower altitudes, then tank up on 91 or 93 octane;once you’ve reached your typical altitude.
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What Is Octane Rating
The octane rating on different grades of gasoline is a measurement of the fuels stability. Higher octane numbers mean greater stability. The greater stability indicates the gasolines resistance to preignition and the fuels ability to resist knocking or pinging during combustion. These sounds come from the air-fuel mixture detonating prematurely in the engine.
Internal combustion engines compress a mixture of air and fuel and ignite them with a spark. Under certain conditions, the fuel-air mixture can ignite early, creating a knocking sound in the engine. Newer cars have sensors that prevent preignition, so youll rarely hear knocks and pings unless you drive an older vehicle.
A gasolines octane rating averages two testing methods the research octane number under idle conditions, and the motor octane number under higher engine speed. You might have noticed this formula in smaller letters on the yellow buttons displayed on gas pumps /2.
The larger numbers on gas pump stickers indicate the octane rating of the different gasoline grades. Typically, gas stations sell gasoline with three octane levels.
Do I Need The Most Expensive Grade Of Gas
There are a lot of stories, legends, and myths about what kind of gas you should use in your car. You’ve probably heard the most common stories:
- if you use premium gas, you’ll get better mileage;
- your car will last longer if you use higher octane gas;
- the more expensive gas grades will give your car better performance.
In this article we’ll go into all these points and talk about what you should know, what is the best kind of gas to use, and when some of these stories might actually be true!
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What Is Flex Fuel
E85 is a fuel designed for flex-fuel vehicles. It is composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. E85 pumps are clearly labeled at gas stations and typically have yellow nozzles. Flex-fuel vehicles usually have a yellow fuel cap. Using gasoline of any octane level in a flex-fuel vehicle is OK. However, putting E85 in a car that isnt designed for it can be harmful.
Most insurance policies dont cover accidentally fueling up with the wrong gasoline type. However, some insurers offer riders that do cover the mishap. So check with your insurer and your policy. It is important to pay attention at the pump, avoid distraction, and know your cars requirements.
Q: What Is Top Tier Gas
A: Top Tier is a branding and marketing name and term used by select gas companies, but it does not necessarily indicate premium gas. Top Tier’s website says it is, “a fuel performance standard written by auto manufacturers to assist in keeping the engine cleaner, thus resulting in improved customer experience. Since auto companies are not able to dictate fuel regulations or fuel standards, the TOP TIER logo serves as an indication of a station where the fuel marketer is supportive and offers the vehicle manufacturers’ request for higher standards in fuel.;
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Beyond The Trip Cost Calculator: How To Save On Gas Money By Using Gasbuddy
Looking for the best deals and savings on gas around? Join the club and get a Pay with GasBuddy Fuel Saver Card and save even more. Sign up by linking your checking account to your GasBuddy card and save up to 25¢/gallon on every gallon of gas. Don’t waste any more time driving farther to try and save money. With the GasBuddy App and discount card, you can save on the cost of gas for your trip no matter where you go.
What Does The Octane Rating Mean
The octane rating on fuel is simply a measure of the fuels resistance to the premature detonation of the air/fuel mixture while the engine is running. Cars that use gas these days are powered by internal combustion engines. Without getting into the nitty-gritty here, this just means that fuel and air mix together and ignite inside the engine to give it power.;
If this mixture of fuel and air detonates too early, it can cause whats known as knocking, which is like a pinging or clunking sound from inside the engine that you dont ever want to hear. The higher the fuels octane rating, the higher its resistance to knocking.
The octane rating of the gas can be easily found right at the gas station when youre filling up. Ever notice those big numbers on the buttons that you push to select your fuel? Most of us just instinctively hit the one that says 87 out of habit. However, 87 is actually the octane rating of regular gas, which is what the vast majority of people use daily.
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How Do You Know If You Have Bad Gas
Not surprisingly, bad fuel will make your car run worse, if it runs at all. Here are the signs of bad gasoline in your tank:
- Your car wont start or starts hard
- The engine idles roughly, sputters or stalls
- You feel hesitation when accelerating or cruising at a steady speed
- You hear pinging sounds from the engine, especially when you accelerate
- Your check engine light comes on while any of this is happening
Is Old Gas In The Tank Bad For Your Car The Quick Answer
In almost every case, old gas is not an issue. Gas that sits does slowly go bad. However, gas that sits, even for a few months can be redeemed by topping off the tank with fresh gas. When the fresh gas mixes with the older gas, the motor will operate properly. John Ibbotson, chief mechanic at Consumer Reports, says that, The new gas will mix with whats already in your tank, and any variance in the octane will be adjusted for automatically by your cars engine computer. The adjustment will get the engine running back to normal.
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