Premium vs. Regular Gas

Person gasing car

If you’re like many drivers, at some point you’ve likely pulled up to the Atlanta gas pump, taken a look at your options and prices, and wondered about the difference between premium and regular gas. While both are derived from crude oil and can obviously be used to power your vehicle, there are some important distinctions between premium vs. regular gas. In this guide, our service team at RBM of Alpharetta breaks down the differences.



What is Premium Gas?

Octane level is one of the biggest differences to be aware of when it comes to premium vs. regular gas. Premium gasoline is required to have an octane level of 90 or above, with 91 and 93 being common octane levels for premium gas. So, what does this mean exactly? Octane levels rate how well a gasoline combats fuel combustion. Higher octane levels help your engine run cleaner, resulting in fewer harmful emissions. Also, certain types of high-performance engines may require premium gas to operate at peak efficiency.

What is Regular Gas?

Most drivers in Cumming, Johns Creek, and beyond fill their vehicles with regular unleaded gas. Because it does not contain lead, this gasoline is better for both human health and the environment. With an octane rating of 87, regular unleaded gas is slightly less stable than premium gasoline.

What’s the Difference Between Premium and Regular Gas?

It can be tempting to think that “gas is gas” and go with the cheapest option. But keep the differences between premium vs. regular gas in mind the next time you’re fueling up, and you will be sure to choose the one that’s best suited to your vehicle and budget.

As discussed above, a gas with higher octane levels, like premium gasoline, is more stable. There is less risk of pre-ignition, also known as engine knocking, which can harm your engine.

If you know your engine has a lower compression ratio, regular unleaded is usually the most appropriate fuel choice. For engines with high compression ratios, premium gasoline is recommended.

And we can’t cover premium vs. regular gas without talking about price. Premium gasoline is priced considerably higher than regular unleaded, often up to 40 cents more per gallon.

How Do I Decide Between Premium vs. Regular Gas?

Here are a few facts and tips to help you choose which fuel option is right for your vehicle, driving needs, and budget:

  • Premium gas won’t enhance the performance or expand the lifespan of your vehicle unless your vehicle specifically requires it.
  • If your vehicle does require premium gas, regular gas is often perfectly safe to use. However, if you hear the engine knocking, switch to premium.
  • Does your engine have a turbocharger? If so, check your owner’s manual for fuel recommendations. Most vehicles with turbochargers require premium gas.

Contact the RBM of Alpharetta Service Center for More Information

For more information about premium vs. regular gas or for answers to your questions about the differences between these two fuel types, contact us today. We’re here to give you the information you need to properly care for your vehicle. And when you need maintenance and repairs, we can help–just schedule your service visit online. We look forward to keeping your vehicle in optimal condition for all your Alpharetta drives!


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345 McFarland Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30004
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