Hooniverse Asks- What's Your Octane?

Everybody likes the Rolling Stones. But when your engine starts singing Can’t You Hear Me Knocking? it may be time to switch up your grade of gas. With prices climbing a good ten to twenty cents per gallon when doing so, that can really add up to emptying your bank account while filling your tank. So what grade of gas makes the grade for you? Now, you diesel owners out there will just have to sit on your hands today, this is for the folks living on Gasoline Alley. I, like most of you, have nothing but gas-burners, and one of my rules of thumb is to never have a daily driver that uses anything more dear than regular. Sure, the fun cars need premium, but for cruising the Junior High doing errands or slogging to and from work I want something that burns the cheap stuff. That cheap stuff here in So Cal is 87 Octane, and there’s typically two upgrades from that – 89 and 91. Some 76 stations used to carry 100 race gas, but I haven’t seen that outside of a track for a while- not that I was looking. Elsewhere in the country, notably in high-elevation regions, regular can mean less than 87, owing to the difference in fuel/air the thinner atmosphere causes. Now, as we all know, the higher the Octane, the more knock resistant the gas. But some people think that the more expensive stuff also makes more power, like it has more BTUs in it or something. Of course, that’s not really the case, but that’s what I’ve heard people say. Some manufacturers require premium fuel in certain of their cars due to a high compression ratio or ECU settings. Others specifically say in the owner’s manual that anything higher than regular is of no value and might actually damage the engine. These days the electronic engine controls typically mean that even if 91 is mandated, you can do a tank of regular in a pinch without much issue, although there was that Caddy that was killed by regular a month or so ago. So what does your car maker recommend for your steed? If it’s anything more than 87, do you always abide as the Dude says you should? Also what’s the minimum octane in your area, are you getting all your Stones-answering RON? What’s your Octane of choice? Image sources: [Lion’s Gate Publicity, Wikipedia]

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