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Re: gas/octane & 2.8 v6

In a message dated 96-08-27 17:04:37 EDT, jpretti@mariners.com (Jerry Pretti)

<< has anyone tried using nonpremium gas in a 2.8 v6 (e.g., a4) in the u.s.?
 the owners manual says something along the lines of 'use premium, but if you
 can't find any, regular will work with a slight decrease in performance, but
 switch back to premium when you find it'.  
 if anyone has tried lower octane, were there any noticeable differences
 (especially for long distance, boring, freeway driving)?  >>

The following is the blatant, contrarian personal opinion of a dedicated
Sunoco 190 abuser (86 octane and probably optimistic at that), backed up by
50,000 miles of driving in several V6 Audis.  Caveat: applies to the regular
drivers among us, not the boy racers.

The engine will come to no seroius harm* if you run it on the cheapest,
lowest octane stuff you can find.  The knock sensors will prevent detonation.
 You will notice some deterioration in performance at the top end and far up
in the rpm range under heavy load.  You might even feel a very slight
unevenness in very hard running as the knock sensors dial back the timing,
then try to advance it, dial it back again, try to advance again...

If you continuously flog the car, take it out on a race track, tow a really
heavy trailor, or if you demand to know that the last dozen horses are
available at your beck and call, then you might want to consider premium
during that kind of usage.  For extended highway cruising, premium is a waste
of money.  For driving around town, premium is a waste of money.  For most
people, in most cars, premium is a waste of money.  In the U.S. it simply
isn't possible to run the car long enough, hard enough to need premium.

* The asterisk.  There used to be an important reason to consider premium.
Several years ago, most oil companies packaged their best detergents and
additives only in their premium gas. These additives and detergents were
designed to prevent intake and combustion chamber deposits.  This restrictive
practice is, for the most part, a thing of the past.  Today, most gasoline
has sufficient additives and detergents to prevent deposit build-up.  If you
have a deep-rooted fear of deposit build-up, an occasional tank of premium,
or the use of a quality gas additive, will make you sleep easier.

In summary, if you are like 90+% of American drivers, premium is close to
being a placebo for the masses.  It will gain your Audi V6 a few ponies at
the top end (which you probably use so seldom as to be academic).  It won't
buy you much else unless you have a really guilty conscience.  It will assure
the continued profitability of the oil companies.  Assess the way you
_really_ drive (and if you are the cynical type, how long you intend to keep
the car) and make your own choice.  And if you leased the car, well.....

Now, since this list seems to have lacked any real spice for a while, I await
an informed dialog.  Please, however, if you'd like to turn the flames in my
direction, first examine the specific facts and arguments I have presented.