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premium vs regular
In my relatively unscientific comparisons I have found that I am most satisfied
with the mid-grade gasoline. I drive/maintain two cars: a '93 Honda Accord,
and a '91 200qw. There is definitely a noticeable performance difference in
both cars using 91 vs 89 or 87 octane. I did notice additional gains with 93
octane, but to me the cost/performance benefit wasn't there. Both cars are
stock. (Non-US readers note: The US uses motor octane or "anti-knock index"
Europe uses RON/ROZ (number = zahl) which reads a little higher)
Whether you need this performance difference depends on your driving style
(passing/merging/climbing etc). Normally, I do not have to drive as part of my
job so I do not see fuel as primarily an "expense".
When I was doing a lot of driving I tried the lower octane fuel to save some
money. What I noticed was a decrease in performance AND mileage. This was a
drop in 2-3 miles per gallon. I do not know if this was because my car was
running less efficiently or I was pushing the accelerator more often, for longer
to achieve the same performance. I didn't bother to calculate the drop in mpg
vs the cost in pennies/gallon. Did I save money and waste fuel, or just waste
fuel and break even? Dunno.
If you are trying to save money on gas and are still concerned about damaging
your engine you ought to try both for a month of typical driving and find out a
$/mile cost. Weigh in performance via your own scale.