Can You Mix Premium And Regular Gas? [What Happens]

When you get to a gas station, you will see the pumps having different numbers, including 87, 89, 91, and 93. All the numbers mean regular, plus, premium, and super types of gas.

The numbers are simply the octane ratings. So, can you mix different gas types? And what would happen if you did that?

Mixing premium and regular gas will not likely harm the engine; however, if it is a car meant for premium gas, then it would suffer some changes in performance.

So, it is better to stick to what the manufacturer recommends for the car’s best performance.

What is Octane Rating?

The octane rating is what differentiates how gas is classified. That is why you would see the different numbers of fuel pumps.

Octane rating is simply the measure of how the fuel type’s ability to prevent the pre-ignition of the fuel and air mixture in the engine.

Engines are designed to fire at a specific time, so when this timing is not followed, you will end up with performance issues.

An example is when the engine fires too early, it can end up with knocking or pinging sounds.

Sometimes the engine can also develop other problems, including damage to the cylinder linings, pistons, and potentially the whole engine.

Premium gas is made to resist pre-ignition in high-performance engines with compression ratios and turbochargers.

Well, typical engines can use regular gas. However, where premium gas is needed, regular gas might lead to pre-ignition, which is not good for high-performance engines.

Here is a video explaining more about octane rating

Should You Use Premium or Regular Gas?

Choosing between using premium and regular gas depends on what the manufacturer recommends.

Most cars we use daily for commuting and travel would run fine with regular gas. However, high-performance engines will have several features that need the use of premium gas to keep them in good condition.

One of the biggest differences is that an engine meant to run on premium gas has a higher compression or would have a turbocharge to ensure there is proper combustion.

You can also face the same situation with trucks. These heavy-duty vehicles require the right fuel to maximize efficiency and performance.

So, what happens when you use regular fuel in a high-performance car?

Most modern vehicles have a smart ECU that would detect the fuel octane rating. When this happens, the ECU will adjust the overall performance, including horsepower and fuel economy.

You should generally see a decline in performance.

Also, there is the potential of damaging the engine because of pre-ignition. The pre-ignition can easily lead to several other issues later.

How to Know Which Fuel to Use

Sometimes, it is hard to know whether to use premium gas or regular gas. Luckily, the car manufacturer will point it out so that you can decide better.

You can look at the fuel door or the owner’s manual. In the case where the vehicle needs premium gasoline, you can get a sticker on the fuel door with the writing “premium unleaded fuel only” with the minimum octane rating you should use.

If the car is rated for premium gas, it does not hurt to spend that extra money to fill it with premium gas. At least now, the engine will run optimally, giving you the power and efficiency you want. Also, pre-ignition will not occur.

Sometimes the manufacturer only recommends it rather than putting it in writing. When the manufacturer does this, it means it is a suggestion.

So, you can use the premium gas to see how it would affect the car’s performance. If there is no premium gas, regular gas should do just fine.

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If the manufacturer does not advise on which one to use, we advise not to focus so much on the premium gas. This is because it would not affect the car’s performance.

The best part is that regular gas today is cleaner than before. This is because gas stations use EPA-mandated additives to keep the engine running smoothly.

Is Using Premium Gas Better

By now, you might have already felt like premium gas is better for your car since it is more expensive and is marketed as a high-end product.

The high octane rating and the fancy naming given by gas stations would make it seem like something you should buy more often. However, should you do it?

The truth is that regular gas can be a safe bet only for an engine that needs it. Those with regular engines generally do not need to use premium gas.

The reason not to focus so much on premium gas is all grades of fuel come with EPA additives. These additives make the fuel cleaner and safer for the car. They will also prevent the build-up or deposits and sometimes remove the older deposits.

Top Tier Gas Standard

Since the additives are important, major auto companies came together to set up the Top Tier Gas standard. You might have thought it is just regular and premium, but there are more.

In this standard, the gasoline gets specific additives to ensure the gasoline works well based on the engine type.

The standard was developed in 2004 and has evolved with time to ensure the detergent additives can provide better protection against carbon buildup and deposits that would be on the intake valves.

These deposits may lead to acceleration hesitation, rough idle, reduced fuel economy, and knocking or pinging if left for a long time.

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Top automakers such as Audi, Toyota, BMW, Honda, Mercedes Benz, and more have supported the implementation of Top Tier gas. The aim is to ensure their engines can maintain performance and emissions kept to a minimum as much as possible.

An extensive study done in 2016 by AAA found that Top Tier gas had a good effect on the performance of cars. Also, more people would spend more to get this type of gas.

So, where would you get the top-tier gas? Some of the retailers for this gas include;

  • Aloha Petroleum
  • Acro
  • Harmons Fuel Stop
  • Ohana Fuels
  • Win-Win
  • Express Mart etc.
YouTube video

Premium Gas Differences

You might have noticed that premium gas does not always have the same number in different states. However, the gas will either be 91 or 93. If you are unsure which to choose, just fill up with any as they both qualify as premium fuel.

Also, different fuel manufacturers can have premium gas variations and use unique names to make their fuel stand out.

A good example is Shell calls its premium fuel V-Power NiTRO+. Shell claims that such gas has protection against friction, wear, corrosion, and gunk. Other companies, such as ExxonMobile, call their premium gas Synergy Supreme+.

What Kind of Cars Need Premium Gas

Many cars would be using regular gas unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise. So, if the exact gas type is not indicated, you should consider using regular gas.

However, which cars should use premium gas? Below is a quick table to help you see which mainstream vehicles take premium gas.

Make Engine
Chevrolet Camaro 2.0-liter turbo, 6.2-liter supercharged v8
Chevrolet Malibu 2.0-liter turbo four
Dodge Challenger 6.2-liter supercharged V8
GMC Sierra 6.2-liter V8
Kia Stinger 2.5-liter turbo four
Nissan Armada 5.6-liter V8
Subaru BRZ 2.4-liter turbo four

The list above is not conclusive. You can always research the type of car to know which type of gas to use.

Will Premium Gas Clean the Engine?

The chances are you might have heard someone recommending the use of premium gas because it may help with cleaning the engine. Is it this even possible?

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No. Premium gas will not be the secret sauce you need for cleaning the engine, especially the injectors. The use of premium gas is totally different from what you have heard before.

The issue of carbon deposits can happen because you have been using low-quality fuel types, which can happen with all fuel types over time. So, make sure there are proper maintenance checks if you want to keep the engine internals clean.

You can consider using some fuel additives meant to clean the engine. However, be careful as not all of them do a good job. Some are just gimmicks and might not help. The best way sometimes is to have the engine professionally serviced.

Important Fuel Safety Tips to Know

The next time you go to fuel either regular or premium gas, there are a few things you should generally do. Here are a few safety tips to know;

  • Make sure to refer to the operating manual to see any special instructions to follow before refueling the car
  • You should identify and know how to operate the fuel cut-offs properly
  • We recommend you remove any twists or loops that might be on the delivery hose. The kinks can make the hose fail to deliver the fuel leading to a few dangers.
  • Avoid over-filling the tank so that you do not end up with spills on the body of the car
  • Make sure to reinstall the fuel cap as recommended to keep the fuel from spilling and also trapping air. Sometimes this could trigger a check engine light.

Conclusion: Which Fuel is Best for My Car?

In the long term, it is important to stick to the right type of gasoline that the manufacturer recommends. This means that your engine can run cleaner and stronger.

Many people also have the best fuel when using the recommended gas type. Such an engine would also have the best performance for many years to come.

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We recommend you always take the manufacturer’s recommendations seriously on fuel use. Check the fuel door label or owner’s manual to understand which fuel you should be using.


Is the type of gas you use affect the car’s health?

Yes. If you want to keep the car’s engine in good shape, then it is best to invest a lot in the right fuel type. Also, you do not always have to use premium fuel in case you have a normal engine.

Will premium gas give you better gas mileage?

You should not expect gas mileage to improve a lot because of using premium gas. The biggest benefit would be noticed in how the engine runs. This is also only based on engines meant to run premium gas.

Does my car need premium gas?

You should find out about this information on the car’s fuel door. This helps you know if the car uses premium or regular gas.

Should you mix premium and regular gas?

If it is a vehicle meant to use premium gas, then you should not mix. Regular cars use both premium and regular gas without a lot of differences.

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