Why Does My Luxury Car Require Premium Gas?

While luxury cars are a tempting purchase, you must first determine if you can afford a luxury car by researching the cost of ownership. Fuel is the most frequent cost associated with car ownership, making the type of gas your car requires an important consideration. If you have to trim your budget, could you buy less expensive gas if you own a luxury car? Do Luxury Cars require premium gas? Let’s discuss:

What’s the difference between regular, mid-grade, and premium gas?

Gas used to be made with lead, but according to Kelley Blue Book, once the health hazards of lead became evident, gasoline manufacturers stopped using lead. This means modern gas is always unleaded.

Where the difference lies in the level of octane. Regular gas contains the lowest level of octane, mid-grade contains a medium level, and premium gas contains the highest level. The level of octane in the gas impacts how the engine burns the gas when it runs.

Different types of gas were created as a result of the various types of engines; standard engines and high-performance engines. To start your engine, your car ignites small explosions in the engine’s cylinders using air and gas. The level of octane in the gas, and the degree of the engine’s performance impact how these explosions occur.

The higher level of octane in premium does not ignite the explosions in the car’s cylinders as quickly as regular gas. Luxury Cars require premium gas as a result of higher performance engines that need higher levels of octane.

How do you know if your car requires regular or premium gas?

The gas cap indicates what type of gas your car uses. This information may also be found in your car’s owner’s manual. If you do not have an owner’s manual for your car, check on the manufacturer’s website if there is a digital copy available for download or contact the service department of a dealership that sells your make of car for more information.

If your car has a standard engine, like a Toyota Camry, your car will run fine on regular gas.

If your car has a performance-oriented engine, like a Volkswagen GTI or a Dodge Challenger, or if you have a luxury brand car, like a BMW or a Mercedes, the engine needs premium gas to run at it’s best.

Edmunds compiled lists for reference; check to see if your car is required or recommended to use premium gas. Upon inspection of this list, you will find that most Luxury Cars require premium gas.

What happens if you use regular in a car that requires premium gas?

A luxury or performance car using regular gas will cause wear on the engine in most cases.

Some people state that modern cars have technology to adapt the engine’s performance to run well on either type of gas, even if the manufacturer states that the car should run on premium gas.

However, if the engine is forced to function differently long term than how it was originally designed to, logic dictates that the engine will have to work harder to compensate for that deviation. According to Auto Trader, most cars that require premium gas will exhibit a knocking or pinging noise in the engine as a result of the adjustments it must make to run on regular gas.

According to Edmunds, older models of cars must use the type of gas recommended by the manufacturer, as their engines will be more impacted by the knocking that will be caused by compensating for the lower level of octane.

Cars require proper care to be on the road for years to come. The harder an engine works and the more miles a car is driven means that the car will require more maintenance.

As such, you could expect to pay more in maintenance and repairs than you would save using regular gas instead of premium gas.

Can you alternate between regular and premium to save on money? What would happen if you did?

If you are considering alternating between regular and premium, do trial runs and take notes to see if you notice a difference. Be sure to run your car on each for at least two refills, as initially the tank will be mixed with both regular and premium, which will impact the results of your study.

If you are a car enthusiast you are probably driving a car with a performance engine. You will likely notice a decrease in power when you accelerate when your car is running on regular fuel. However, those who are not fast drivers may not notice this difference.

Another difference you may notice when running your car on regular instead of premium is a decrease in fuel efficiency. Cars designed to use premium gas generally offer 2.7% better fuel efficiency when they exclusively use premium gas according to CNN.

Should you decide to alternate between regular and premium fuel, consider the impact this will have on the environment. Premium fuel may cause engines to decrease emissions and exhaust output.

Alternatively, you could compromise and use mid-grade gas to save some money while reducing the amount of effort your engine must make to compensate for running on lower levels of octane.

However, there will be times when your car should exclusively use premium gas. Luxury Cars require premium gas if they will be working harder than usual, such as towing trailers or being driven long distances. If you will be taking a road trip or towing a horse trailer, keep premium in the tank for one refill before your car will be performing the heavy-duty job, and only fill the tank with premium while the engine is working extra hard. According to CNN, engines are most susceptible to damage from using regular gas when they are exerting extra effort.

Lastly, be sure to carefully review your car’s warranty, as in some cases, using regular gas when a car requires premium gas will void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Can you use diesel fuel in a luxury car?

Diesel fuel prices fluctuate frequently, so when you see the less expensive price per gallon for diesel, you might wonder if your car could run on it.

If your luxury car has a gas engine, the answer is absolutely not. Diesel and gas engines run differently; if you put diesel fuel into a gas engine, or gas into a diesel engine, the engine will be severely damaged. Using the wrong type of fuel will result in costly repairs.

If you inadvertently put diesel into your gas engine, or gas into your diesel engine, do NOT start your car. If you start the car, the damage will be done; the incorrect fuel will go into your engine and repairs will not be optional. You will need to arrange for the car to be towed to a trusted mechanic to have the incorrect fuel removed from your car’s engine.

Closing Considerations

Luxury Cars require premium gas to function at higher fuel efficiency and to maximize their speed and performance. While you could use regular gas in a luxury car, using it long term will cause your engine to experience extra wear and could potentially void your warranty. You should always select the type of gas recommended by the car’s manufacturer to extend the life of your engine and your car’s performance.