Is putting high octane gas into your car the equivalent of eating filet mignon instead of ground chuck? We reveal the facts. Plus, check out the preview of our experiment to determine which car is really better for the environment, a hybrid or high mileage combustion engine car.
HIGH OCTANE VS LOW OCTANE GAS
Salami, like gasoline, is available in different grades. If you pay a premium price for your salami, you get a high end premium product, rather than a gelatanized meat-tube of end trails and sinew mixed with the pig’s anus and balls.
Now, before we tell you whether or not high octane gasoline is really just regular gasoline with “pig anus and balls” — some background.
The common octane grades of 87, 89 and 94 do not represent grades of gasoline that are good, better and best, or in Starbucks lingo, grande, venti and uber-venti. In fact, a gasoline’s octane is simply a measure of the fuel’s resistance to knocking or pinging, which occurs inside the engine’s combustion chambers when the mixture of fuel and air — ignited by the spark plug — combusts uncontrollably.
Here’s what happens in your car’s engine. When the spark plug is discharged, it does not cause the entirety of the fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber to ignite all at once. A small pocket of air and gas near the plug ignite first. The resulting flame then spreads out to ignite the rest of the fuel mixture.
HOWEVER: if the remaining mixture of fuel and air — because it’s under intense pressure — ignites spontaneously, before it’s lit by the flame, you get a “knocking” or “pinging” sound. And, depending on you car’s engine, this premature combustion can degrade the car’s performance as much as 10%, increasing emissions and reducing MPGs.
Incidentally, “Premature Combustion” is also the name of a little seen Steven Segal porno.
SO: Simply put, a gasoline with a higher octane rating is just more resistant to the spontaneous combustion that can occur inside the fuel chamber. Oh, higher octane fuel also isn’t forced to pay for shipping and handling when it orders kitchen gadgets from TV.
Are you still with me?
NOW, HERE”S THE THING: Only a very small number of engines – mostly race cars and a few high end sports cars — are built with the high tech sophistication and calibration to extract the higher power from the higher octane — MORE EXPENSIVE — gasoline.
LOWER OCTANE GAS.
Paying a premium for higher octane gas is NOT the equivalent of treating your car to filet mignon, or to continue our metaphor from earlier, high octane gas might as well be regular gas with a touch more pig balls and anus. It’s probably not going to hurt your engine — but it’s definitely not going to help it, either.
Want MORE Car info? Check out TvTs Hybrid vs Combustion Engine Challenge
To find out which engine type — a hybrid or combustion — engine really got better gas milage, we simultaneously drove 5 cars — 2 Priuses, a Honda Accord (hybrid), The Chevy Aveo and the Smart Car — 40mph for 40 miles – and then we calibrated the the amount of fuel used and each car’s mpgs.
The results will shock you.
***NOTE: This is an experiment you could NEVER see on conventional cable or broadcast TV.***
The companies that make the Prius, Civic, Aveo and Smart Car would NEVER allow this experiment to take place on a channel they have supported with millions in advertising dollars. And the channels would never do this type of experiment, for fear of alienating their biggest ad buyers.
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