Memorial Day weekend signals the start of the summer driving season. Of course that means that you will be driving more and buying more gas. There are different choices when you roll up to the pump. What do they all mean?
First let’s talk about octane ratings because this is where people can save some money. Every type of gas has a different octane rating, like 87, 89 and 91. The 91 octane (or premium gas) is the most expensive and you should not buy it unless you absolutely have to.
So how do you know if you need to use premium gas? Look in your owner’s manual. It will tell you what type of gas your car requires and unless it says that you have to use premium gas in your vehicle, don’t use it. High octane premium gas is designed to be used with performance engines. Using it in an ordinary vehicle that is designed to run on regular gas is not going to give that vehicle more power, so don’t waste your money.
Eighty-seven octane regular gas is by far the most common type used out on the road. Most engines are not high performance engines and they can run on a lower octane gas, which is usually much less expensive. Again, check your owner’s manual to find out what octane gas you need to buy.
Ethanol fuel blends get really confusing because there are different mixtures, but it’s really not that complicated. If you buy E10 fuel, you are getting 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol. E10 is okay to use in many types of vehicles because it is almost entirely made up of regular gasoline.
But if you are buying E85 fuel, you are getting 85 percent ethanol and only 15 percent gasoline. Not all vehicles on the road can use E85 fuel, so don’t ever put this in your tank unless your vehicle is designed to run on E85. These types of vehicles are usually called “flex fuel vehicles."
Making good decisions at the pump can save you some gas money, but there are also other steps you can take to reduce the amount of gas that you use. Things such as combining trips, not letting your car idle too long if possible and driving less aggressively will all add up to some big savings.