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What fuel do you use?


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22 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   David Moore

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 03:56 AM

I'm sure this may have been discussed before (more so on the hybrid forums) but I just wanted to get some opinions on they type of fuel people were using.  Recently my wife bought a 2010 golf gti and i was just putting regular gas in it until she told me that it didn't seem to drive as quick as it used to when she first got it.  I did some research and other owners had echoed the same thing when they switched from premium to regular.  

 

I was always under the impression that the premium gas was for older high performance cars that might not have a knock sensor and couldn't adjust for the early combustion so there was a retardant of some sort added to the fuel.  

 

Anyway, I check the gti manual and it specifies at least 91 octane.  The pilot gas station that I was getting all my fuel at because they let me park my truck there has 91.  I have noticed a few other gas stations have 93.  I have started fueling at Racetrac because I get points for fuel purchases (unlike Pilot rewards which doesn't recognize fuel purchases).  

 

Getting back on track, when I had a rented Chevrolet Volt, the owner told me it only takes premium gas.  I then looked around the forums and some C-max hybrid owners claim they are getting better gas mileage when using premium fuel.  At current prices, I don't mind putting premium fuel in the car if it means I have to fill up less often.

 

Now I see that there's a blue pump at racetrac with has ethanol free fuel.  I asked someone at the gas station about it and they said it was for boats and smaller engines that don't have the same filtration as cars do.  However,  I see some people will only use "pure" fuel in their cars.  

 

Then there's the mid grade or 89 octane.  If I am to go by the fingermarks on the pump buttons, NOBODY uses mid grade.  









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#2 OFFLINE   ls973800

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 05:08 AM

There should be a sticker on the fuel door or in that general area that states what octane level the car needs.  I'm surprised you had to look it up in the manual.

 

There are many new cars are on the market which say "premium required" and others say "premium recommended".  The new 2016 Mazda CX-9 will run on 87 octane but only produce 227 horsepower from the 4 cylinder turbocharged engine.  Using 93 octane returns 250 horsepower.  This is how it was configured from the factory.  Of course, regardless of which fuel you use, you still get a very high 310 torque. 



#3 OFFLINE   fotomoto

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 05:08 AM

I had a volt that required premium.  It was my first car with that requirement and being so long between fill ups I'd forget and select regular unleaded (87) out of habit.   Doing so my gas mpg was only 31-33 mpg.

 

I read some advice to use at least 3 tanks of premium in the CMax to give the ECU time to recalibrate its fuel trim settings so I did that for the mpg contest.  I had great results (64mpg) but I can't say exactly how much was due to premium as I also pumped up the tires and changed my driving habits a lot.  

 

Bottom line, you'd need to determine if there is a mpg improvement and, if so, if it's cost effective (cents/mile).   I use regular unleaded and a couple of ounces of sta-bil fuel additive treatment (different from their storage product) since I'm averaging about 6 months per tank.


Edited by fotomoto, 07 July 2016 - 05:39 AM.


#4 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 07:40 AM

I use regular, usually premium is at least 20 cents more per gallon, sometimes even as much as 40 cents more these days.  If the car doesn't require it, don't waste your money on it.  I put premium in my wife's BMW for years because it required it, but you know what its not gow 240k miles and is 14 years old and for the last few years I have been putting regular in it, seems to work just the same I can still net 27 to 31mpg with it when I drive it, she's more 'wasteful' takes off with more of a jackrabbit so to speak and her mpg numbers are lower, 23-26mpg.

 

At the end of the day the car has a 16.5 gallon tank, filling up with premium vs regular would cost $5 more on average which is the cost of 2 more gallons.  Is it really worth it?  How much better is premium going to go that regular, I haven't tested the BMW on premium lately so I can't do the math for you.

 

-=>Raja.


Edited by rbort, 07 July 2016 - 07:41 AM.


#5 OFFLINE   jzchen

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 09:15 AM

I told my wife to use 89 in hers just to provide a little knock protection.  My parents and I always use 91.  (87 is the other grade available here in CA that I know of.)  Some manuals say the vehicle will perform better on higher octane.  Some, I think I recall seeing in the C-MAX manual, say it does not matter.  The BMWs in the household get premium, aka 91, from Top Tier stations.  I used 91 from non-Top Tier stations at first, and had developed a cold starting issue.  Never again once I switched.  (And one has been left for a year or a little more without starting.)



#6 OFFLINE   cwstnsko

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Posted 07 July 2016 - 10:22 AM

If I'm driving where it is available, my 1st choice is 87 ethanol free. From what I can gather from the manual, this is what the car is designed to run on. Ethanol free has 2 benefits, it has more energy per gallon than E10, and in theory it will be less prone to degradation, which seems important when a tank of gas lasts for 3-4 months.

My second choice is a higher octane ethanol free.  It is more widely available, and I value the stability over time, more than the few dollars extra.  If there's a bump in performance or mileage because of it, that's a bonus.

If I am on a road trip and filling up on a daily basis, I don't worry as much about finding ethanol free, I only go out my way to find it on the last fill-up before returning to my daily local driving routine.



#7 OFFLINE   Levi Smith

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 03:18 AM

Yeah, there's one station I go to that has ethanol free premium gas and I was thinking of using it just for the mpg gains of getting rid of the ethanol.  That is until I saw the price which was like $3 instead of $2/gallon.  Never going to make up that sort of difference.



#8 OFFLINE   David Moore

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 05:28 AM

Raja as usual is the voice of common sense on the boards! I think I will switch back to the 87 regular but not before running a third tank of premium through the car to see if it makes a difference. Its a tricky one to work out because some weeks I don't charge at all and other weeks I could charge four or five times. On average I'm filling up twice a month. I'm finding that after driving my wife's gti that I'm being a bit heavier on the right foot at take offs on my own car. I think my efficiency leaves are suffering as a result!

#9 OFFLINE   David Moore

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 05:28 AM

Raja as usual is the voice of common sense on the boards! I think I will switch back to the 87 regular but not before running a third tank of premium through the car to see if it makes a difference. Its a tricky one to work out because some weeks I don't charge at all and other weeks I could charge four or five times. On average I'm filling up twice a month. I'm finding that after driving my wife's gti that I'm being a bit heavier on the right foot at take offs on my own car. I think my efficiency leaves are suffering as a result!

#10 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 06:02 AM

David, out of curiosity I'd love to see what difference if any you can see between super and regular.  Try to be fair and do the test of the same route, drive the same speed and the same weight of your foot on accelerations.  Then once you have a MPG figure for super and later for regulator we can do some math and see the gains if any.

 

-=>Raja.



#11 OFFLINE   cwstnsko

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 06:32 AM

Excluding any road trips I take, I only buy gas about 3 times a year, so the $5-$10 extra I might spend on a tank of ethanol-free gas seems like cheap insurance to protect from problems related to aging ethanol blended fuel.  E10 gasoline is widely reported as having a shelf life potentially as short as 3 months under ideal storage conditions.

This webpage has some interesting information on ethanol in fuel, without being too one-sided: http://www.agcoauto....2_articleid/296

One thing to note is that all EPA estimates of fuel economy are base on ethanol free gas.  If using E10, you should not expect your car to achieve the EPA rated mileage, but most of us are well aware that the style of driving likely has a greater effect on MPG than the choice of fuel.


Edited by cwstnsko, 08 July 2016 - 07:42 AM.

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#12 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 06:43 AM

3 months is too short, I think it lasts alot longer than that.  While older gas turns from clear to yellow, and eventually deeper yellowish orange, it still works even in that state though if left in carbs it could cause some issues.   My neighbor on a couple of occasions gave me some old gas that was very old (like orange in color), and I've put some of it in my lawn mower and it still works.  I'm burning it off and what I do is put some of that into the tank, run the tank dry, and then put fresh gas in for the last run before the mower gets shut down until the next mowing so only fresh gas stays in the carb.

 

I don't think you really have to worry about regular E10 gas being in your car for longer than 3 months, I have in my own Cmax left it there from October Columbus day until mid March (didn't use the engine one year for that long of a period) and no issues.  I'm sure there are others here who have gone longer, and Ford let's you go 18 months without adding gas so that's their limit on "old gas".

 

In your document, looks like they say you lose about  3.3% miles with E10, so if the Cmax with E10 can go 45mpg at 65mph (example from mine), then with ethanol free gas it could go about 46.5 miles on a gallon.  

 

Cost of operation:

 

14 gallons x 45 miles = 630 miles range for regular

14 gallons x 46.5 miles = 651 miles range for E10 free gas.

 

According to Levi, if E10 free is $3 a gallon, then cost to fillup is $42

Here locally I can get gas for $2.15 a gallon, so that cost is $30.1

 

The difference is $11.90 for an extra 21 miles range.  Or 4.78 cents per mile vs 6.45 cents per mile E10 free, or extra 1.67 cents per mile.

 

-=>Raja.


Edited by rbort, 08 July 2016 - 06:57 AM.


#13 OFFLINE   cwstnsko

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:15 AM

After looking at a bigger sample, it does appear that 3 months is towards the lower end of the estimates for shelf life, but it's still the most common estimate that comes up in a search. Unfortunately most of the sites that come up also appear to have something to sell, and that likely biases their postings :-|  I softened the language in my post above.

 

The $3 per gallon gas that Levi referenced is not only ethanol free, it is also premium, which exaggerates the price difference relative to 87 octane E10.  The price premium for Ethanol free used to be only about 5%, but it has been rising as ethanol free gas becomes harder to find. I don't think the MPG difference has ever justified the price difference, but many people still prefer it for the added performance and/or efficiency

 

I buy most of my gas on my way back from road trips to the US, where I can get ethanol free 87 octane for a reasonable price differential.  It's still way cheaper than buying gas in Canada, even with the exchange rate.  The only time I have ever spent the money for Ethanol free Premium is the one tank I bought in Winnipeg in the middle of winter. Since I don't generally take the car on road trips in the winter, that gas was in the car for at least 4 months.  In my mind, the cost of that tank of gas gets spread over many more miles since 95% of my driving is electric :-)



#14 OFFLINE   Levi Smith

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 08:22 AM

The $3 per gallon gas that Levi referenced is not only ethanol free, it is also premium, which exaggerates the price difference relative to 87 octane E10.  The price premium for Ethanol free used to be only about 5%, but it has been rising as ethanol free gas becomes harder to find. I don't think the MPG difference has ever justified the price difference, but many people still prefer it for the added performance and/or efficiency

 

 

It all depends on your region I guess.  I was trying to describe the opposite...  This gas station is actually offering an option for ethanol free gas.  It's been YEARS since I've seen ANY place around here offering ethanol free gas.  So, maybe in your region the option is going away but perhaps this single gas station is a sign that there will be more options around my neck of the woods.



#15 OFFLINE   RubyMax

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Posted 08 July 2016 - 01:27 PM

Saw this today.  Maybe better fuel, not higher octane is the answer.

 

http://www.cnet.com/...cording-to-aaa/



#16 OFFLINE   P=E/t

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 08:56 AM

At least 3 additives to gasoline are effective in reducing engine knock:
-Octanes (specific long-chain hydrocarbons)
-Tetra-ethyl lead
-Ethanol

In the 1920s, automakers were increasing the compression ratios of gas engines with goals of both power and efficiency. Trouble was, as compression ratios went up, knocking occurred.

Thomas Midgely, working for GM, was tasked by Kettering to solve this knocking. Midgely found that engines that ran on ethanol didn't knock at all. Problem with that was--less energy per gallon, bigger fuel tank needed, and no ethanol infrastructure at that time.

Then he found that adding 20% or even 10% ethanol to gasoline stopped the knocking. Problem with that was--it wasn't something that could be patented and make gobs of money for GM and Standard Oil

So, damn him, Midgely kept going. He basically put random additives into a one-cylinder engine on a test bench, until he found that tetra-ethyl lead stopped engine knocking extremely well.

An unholy triumvirate of GM, Standard Oil and DuPont then proceeded to manufacture tetra-ethyl lead under the disingenuous brand name 'Ethyl' and, in so doing, they poisoned their workers, they poisoned our cities (the lead from 70 years of use is still all over the ground in high-traffic areas) and in fact they poisoned us all.

http://knowledgenuts...tor-in-history/

With lead out if the picture since the 80s--thank heavens--we now have two choices to prevent knocking, high octane fuel and ethanol as an additive. Since ethanol is cheaper, leads to less benzene and other pollutants from the tailpipe, and since high octane content is mostly superfluous and a marketing ploy for our type of ICE, I'd just go with ethanol. Unless you're going for high range in the ICE, then the high octane plus higher energy content per gallon speaks to the high octane fuel.

There's one other thing though. The actual engine design itself, particularly that of the combustion chambers, also reduces knocking. That swine Midgely knew that too, even way back in the 1920s. And he ignored it in the interest of profit.

Anyway our CMax engines are unlikely to knock with any of today's available fuels, so don't worry about knocking. Use the fuel that best suits your needs and budget.

Rick

Edited by P=E/t, 11 July 2016 - 09:04 AM.

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#17 OFFLINE   P=E/t

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 09:12 AM

Good succinct history of leaded gas for those interested in its continuing effects--

https://www.thenatio...t-history-lead/

#18 OFFLINE   ptjones

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Posted 11 July 2016 - 04:06 PM

My experience has been that I gain 1-2 mpg with Premium depending on  Octane 91 vs 93 and another 1 mpg for Pure Gas. I tried NOS Octane Booster Racing Formula and gained 2-4 mpg. $10 at Walmart.   It was more cost effective when gas was $4 a gallon. So it costs me $3 more a fill up, but I like the extra mpg's and range. :smile2: 

http://fordcmaxhybri...43_17_52282.jpg  

 

Paul


Edited by ptjones, 11 July 2016 - 04:08 PM.


#19 OFFLINE   astrand1

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 04:48 PM

I told my wife to use 89 in hers just to provide a little knock protection. My parents and I always use 91. (87 is the other grade available here in CA that I know of.) Some manuals say the vehicle will perform better on higher octane. Some, I think I recall seeing in the C-MAX manual, say it does not matter. The BMWs in the household get premium, aka 91, from Top Tier stations. I used 91 from non-Top Tier stations at first, and had developed a cold starting issue. Never again once I switched. (And one has been left for a year or a little more without starting.)


Not to start a huge gas debate but you do realize that there are only a few refineries in the Los Angeles area for example. So no matter what station you buy from they all get their gas from the same places. It's just weather it comes in a plain truck or one that says "chevron" on it. That said they do add more additives at some stations. My rule of thumb is I could care less the brand of the fuel as the epa requires that the fuel meet certain minimum standards I look for the high volume stations as their going to be turning over the gas quicker so it's likely to be fresh. Usually my first choice is Costco.

#20 OFFLINE   jzchen

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 11:05 PM

Not to start a huge gas debate but you do realize that there are only a few refineries in the Los Angeles area for example. So no matter what station you buy from they all get their gas from the same places. It's just weather it comes in a plain truck or one that says "chevron" on it. That said they do add more additives at some stations. My rule of thumb is I could care less the brand of the fuel as the epa requires that the fuel meet certain minimum standards I look for the high volume stations as their going to be turning over the gas quicker so it's likely to be fresh. Usually my first choice is Costco.

 

I've read this info somewhere, so I'm not surprised to see someone say it.  I agree it is a good idea to go to a high volume station, and as far as I know Costco is a Top Tier station as well.  The nearest one is 7+ miles away, while Sam's Club is less than 3.  (It can take up to an hour to get to the nearest Costco on side streets in bad traffic, as that is the shortest route to it.)  Sam's is not on the Top Tier list...  (Not debating anything you've said.)










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