What's the benefit of higher octane?
Higher octane fuel has only one beneficial feature - it allows an engine to run at higher temperatures with more advanced ignition timing under higher levels of compression witout detonating / knocking. Higher octane fuel does NOT have more potential energy and will not make an engine perform better unless that engine is knocking. On modern engines with knock sensors, higher octane fuel may make the engine run better if the knock sensors are retarding the ignition timing, which hinders performance. High octane fuel does not burn cleaner, it does not clean your engine, it does not increase horsepower or torque (unless you are experiencing knock), it does not smell better, it does not increase fuel economy (unless you are experiencing knock) and is not better for the environment. If you buy higher octane fuels for any of the above reasons, STOP!
When should I switch to a higher octane fuel?
First off, never run lower octane fuel than is recommended by the vehicle's manufacturer. If the vehicle manufacturer recommends 89 octane gasoline, this means that the engine has been tuned to perform optimally without detonation on 89 octane fuel. Once you've done some modifications to your engine, the manufacturer's recommended gasoline may no longer suffice. Obviously, if you can hear detonation inside your engine in the form of pinging or "knocking", try a higher octane fuel. You will also need to run a premium grade fuel (91+ octane) if you have a supercharger, turbocharger, or if you have an ignition programmer that advances your ignition timing.
Why is higher octane fuel more expensive?
Higher octane fuels are more expensive because they must go through more refining steps that increases the octane rating. These additional steps do not make the fuel better in any other way.
we all have a misguided sense of knowledge from listening to others... ^^so here's the facts... but we really shouldnt be running 87 in out cars...
I was right about the cars being tuned for a certain octane tho, and since our cars have had vvt and now alot more cars have it (cuz the tech has been around and is cheaper) these engines including some civics need a higher octane...
Last edited by 7Rage; 01-19-2013 at 12:52 AM.