This handy infographic shows you the recommended fuel type for car models built in 2012 or newer. We hope this clears up any confusion you might have about what type of gas to put in your car. If your car isn't listed here, refer to your owner's manual or the inside of your gas cap for the recommended octane.
Which fuel grade is most popular today?
Out of the 300(ish) cars we studied from the model years 2012 and up, 53.79% take regular gasoline, while 44.09% require the top end premium. Only a few cars required midgrade fuel and those were cars equipped with the Chrysler 5.7L V8 like the Dodge Durango, Dodge Challenger and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
As expected, many luxury brands require premium gasoline across their entire model line. This includes BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Infiniti, Jaguar and the ultra-luxury brands like Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari. However, we were surprised to see a mix in the model lines of Cadillac, Lincoln, Land Rover and Lexus.
Land Rover actually recommends regular fuel for the LR2 which probably is good when you're roving land in a country that doesn't have higher fuel grades. The vast majority of turbo or supercharged motors have to run premium gasoline as they are more susceptible to engine knock.
Do I have to use recommended fuel?
You can often get away with using the wrong fuel grade, but that doesn't mean you should. Most cars these days can operate on either fuel grade because ignition systems can adjust to compensate for the lower-or-higher octane levels. Nonetheless, you'll be paying for it with poorer fuel efficiency, lower engine performance and/or engine repairs.
For further evidence, we turn to Thoushalthoonthyrallyetyres.
"The engine has higher compression ratios than cars that use 'regular', and also derives its power through a more advanced ignition timing. The higher the octane rating, the more the engine can advance timing. Running lower octane gas in your car will lower both your power output and gas mileage, enough that it will likely cost you about the same as running 93 in it."
At the current national average gas price, the difference between regular gasoline and premium gasoline is about .37 cents. That means to fill up a 15 gallon tank you'll be spending an extra $5.55. That's not exactly breaking the bank, but it is enough to buy you that grande skinny chai tea latte every week. You decide what's more important.
Mojo Motors is a website where shoppers Follow cars to get alerts when dealers drop prices.