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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 06-17-2005, 04:36 PM
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schley schley is offline
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Question Regular unleaded or Premium fuel?

I am getting delivery of my e90 in august and I'm pleased with the reports from all of you about the improved gas mileage being in the upper 20's to even 30 in some cases. This being my first BMW I was curious if you must use premium fuel? If you do or don't what would the results be on your performance and or vehicle? Thanks to all you experts)))))
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  #2  
Old 06-17-2005, 05:26 PM
autumnwalker autumnwalker is offline
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the manual and the gas cover both state unleaded premium with octane 91 and above to maintain the life of the engine. Anything below, and it says it will make a knocking noise in the engine. I'm not sure if it will damage the engine though.
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  #3  
Old 06-17-2005, 05:36 PM
CC 330i CC 330i is offline
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My feeling is that you will definitely lose some horsepower, and it maybe cause some engine problems over time if you continue to use regular unleaded. Your car will have to retard the ingnition to prevent detonation, but if you don't drive hard it probably won't be that noticeable. (Like on the freeway, for example).

All that being said, you really should use Premium because that is what the manual states. The compression ratio in our cars is pretty high so the car might have to retard ignition pretty severely with Regular, which could eventually cause problems.
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Old 06-17-2005, 05:38 PM
MitchFlorida MitchFlorida is offline
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If you are worried about the cost of premium fuel, you probably should have bought a Honda V6. Not very many V6 run on regular.
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  #5  
Old 06-17-2005, 08:04 PM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchFlorida
If you are worried about the cost of premium fuel, you probably should have bought a Honda V6. Not very many V6 run on regular.
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  #6  
Old 06-17-2005, 09:01 PM
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schley schley is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchFlorida
If you are worried about the cost of premium fuel, you probably should have bought a Honda V6. Not very many V6 run on regular.


wow Mitch I guess asking a question that might have to do with saving a few dollars irritates you. What is it tonight there are some really cocky responses. Could you please supplement me a tank of premium as I don't have two nickels to rub together in comparison to you. But maybe you are always a smart
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  #7  
Old 06-17-2005, 11:38 PM
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willpooted willpooted is offline
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While we're on the subject of gasoline, what brand do you recommend? I heard that all of the different gas brands use the same refineries. I'm in SoCal, so there's Chevron, Mobil, 76, and Shell (I may be forgetting some). Also, if there's "up to 10% ethanol" in the gasoline, is that a bad thing?
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  #8  
Old 06-18-2005, 12:42 AM
jetstream23 jetstream23 is offline
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91 Octane is the highest you can get here in AZ. I get it at Sam's Club and save about 4 cents per gallon over regular gas stations.
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  #9  
Old 06-18-2005, 12:46 AM
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I can't seem to find the thread, But I remember reading one a while back that convinced me that I was not wasting money buy using premium. I'll keep looking.
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  #10  
Old 06-18-2005, 01:48 AM
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well, it's not that much more to go for the premium... figure about 20 cents more per gallon... that's an extra 3.4 dollars for a 17-gallon tank... and then assuming you fill up weekly, that's only 176 bucks a year. IMO, i wouldn't even risk it...
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  #11  
Old 06-18-2005, 04:21 AM
pony_trekker pony_trekker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will-san
I can't seem to find the thread, But I remember reading one a while back that convinced me that I was not wasting money buy using premium. I'll keep looking.
I used to use premium in my 4 cyl Honda Accord, depending on prices. I figured out that for 4% more $ I got 6% better gas mileage or something like that.
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  #12  
Old 06-18-2005, 07:54 AM
nittany nittany is offline
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I remembered watching a 20/20 episode where they said that using premium fuel was wasting money. I remembered them using a Lexus RX300 as a test car. They said the increase in mileage is not that great nor is the power. I have also read this in other sources like Money magazine (July 2005) and Consumer Reports in which they state they are no longterm effects using a low grade. Granted these are not car enthusiast sources, but I am sure they did some research.
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  #13  
Old 06-18-2005, 08:29 AM
mikepinkerton mikepinkerton is offline
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Curious about the CR report. Do you have the date on that issue? I don't recall ever reading that in the last 4-5 years.

-Mike
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  #14  
Old 06-18-2005, 08:38 AM
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Maximus57 Maximus57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schley
I am getting delivery of my e90 in august and I'm pleased with the reports from all of you about the improved gas mileage being in the upper 20's to even 30 in some cases. This being my first BMW I was curious if you must use premium fuel? If you do or don't what would the results be on your performance and or vehicle? Thanks to all you experts)))))
I was running regular in my RSX, had no problems (50K No knock or ping). I just ran two tanks of medium grade and actually increased my gas mileage by 3 mpg. My manual states I should run midgrade anyway. Hope that helps. Some people just like to save a few $$. It's all good.
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  #15  
Old 06-18-2005, 08:46 AM
aloyouis aloyouis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schley
I am getting delivery of my e90 in august and I'm pleased with the reports from all of you about the improved gas mileage being in the upper 20's to even 30 in some cases. This being my first BMW I was curious if you must use premium fuel? If you do or don't what would the results be on your performance and or vehicle? Thanks to all you experts)))))
The manual sates that you should run premium.

Yes there IS a difference between the better name brand fuels and the cheaper "local" comapanies in terms of the additive packages they use.

Great example. My wife took the 06 e90 out a week ago and stopped for gas. She didn't tell me she did this. I noticed the nest time I drove it. Called her and sure enough, she used regular gas....not premium. I could tell right away. The car was sluggish and the motor seemed noisier. There was NO doubt about the need for premium fuel......
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  #16  
Old 06-18-2005, 08:50 AM
hades281 hades281 is offline
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In theory, it is true that in most cases, premium fuel *should* be a waste of money.

The only real difference between premium fuel and regular fuel is the octane, which is merely the fuel's resistance to combustion. It has nothing to do with the energy in the fuel. For optimum power, the fuel in the cylinders must reach critical combustion pressure near the very end of the compression stroke, where its ignition by the spark plug will create the most powerful blast.

In lower performance engines that do not require premium, both the regular-grade and premium fuels will not reach this critical pressure until the the end of the compression stroke as required -- which means you dont need Premium at all. However in BMW and other high-performance engines, cylinder pressures are greater. Regular grade fuel cannot resist combusting on it's own before the piston reaches the top and will ignite prematurely, which can cause engine knock and eventually damage. Thankfully, modern engines have knock sensors, which notifies the computer of this condition and makes adjustments such as retarding the timing. This results in diminished engine power.

Did I lose anyone?? I'm pretty tired, i hope that made sense
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  #17  
Old 06-18-2005, 08:50 AM
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  #18  
Old 06-18-2005, 09:06 AM
jcl10 jcl10 is offline
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The manual states to use premium because the engine was designed for it. So, if you don't want to have to think about it, go ahead and use premium.

The following experiences relate to 3 current BMWs, and previous cars as well, but none of them with Valvetronic, so YMMV.

I regularly use mid grade (89), and have done so for years, in all my BMWs. On regular (87 pump octane) I can notice a performance degradation. Haven't checked the mileage, but I suspect it would be reduced somewhat. Car runs OK on 87, no engine damage is at all likely since the computer maps the ignition to the on-set of predetonation, but I can tell the difference. When I was stuck in a remote area once or twice, I have used a tank of 87, no big deal.

On 89, I have no noticeable performance degradation, and testing fuel consumption over 4-5 tanks on each fuel grade shows no difference at all with 89 or 91, using the fuel that I buy locally. I tested with filling the tank and calculating, not just using the OBC, which reads 4-5% high in my case, on 2 of my current vehicles.

Here in BC, the difference from midgrade to premium is .06/litre. On the X, at 80 litres/week, that is $5/week, $250/year. Somewhat less on the other vehicles, so for me I figure it is probably $500/year for the fleet. No, not a big deal (especially since they are CDN dollars). But would you bend over and pick up that bill if you spotted it laying on the ground?

There is a lot of potential regional variation in actual pump octane (as compared to what it says on the pump). That is why you need to decide yourself, and not base your purchasing decision solely on what my local fuel quality is here in BC. BMW is safe by stating 91. You would be safe to use it. But if you try 89, and can't tell a difference in performance or mileage, there is no benefit to using 91, it is just spending more money. It may not be a lot of money, but it is still throwing money away IMO. Whether I can afford it is completely beside the point. Your peace of mind may be worth the difference. On a long trip, I tend to use 91 since I don't know the local suppliers.

If your engine is not experiencing pre-detonation on a particular fuel octane rating, a higher octane rating doesn't help. It doesn't have more energy per volume, it can't make more power, it is unlikely to have any significant difference in detergents (unless you are comparing cheap no-name 87 to big-name brand premium). If the engine doesn't experience pre-detonation (pinging), and thus the engine control computer doesn't retard the ignition timing, there is simply no difference. That is the point the various media reports have been making, that 'extra' octane doesn't help, and that many people buy premium because they think it is better for the car.

IMO, the best fuel is a name brand (any big name brand), from a large enough station that the inventory isn't old and stale, at the lowest octane that doesn't cause a performance degradation, and never purchased when the fuel station is receiving a delivery. The rest is marketing.

Just some tips picked up over years of working in the retail fuel business. Oh, and I like buying Chevron, but we all get to have a sentimental favourite.
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  #19  
Old 06-18-2005, 09:15 AM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nittany
I remembered watching a 20/20 episode where they said that using premium fuel was wasting money. I remembered them using a Lexus RX300 as a test car. They said the increase in mileage is not that great nor is the power. I have also read this in other sources like Money magazine (July 2005) and Consumer Reports in which they state they are no longterm effects using a low grade. Granted these are not car enthusiast sources, but I am sure they did some research.
in an engine running lower levels of compression, 87 is fine.
running 87 in a car designed for premium will cause the engine to retard timing to prevent detonation.... which not only cuts power, but also reduces efficiency.

you'll probably end spending more money with the loss in fuel economy than you save by using regular.

and if/when bmw releases the biturbo 335i, premium will be a must. bad things happen on my single turbo S60R (running close to 1.4 BAR of boost) if i put anything less than 93 octane in. boost gets pulled early, and its generally unhappy.
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  #20  
Old 06-18-2005, 09:18 AM
hades281 hades281 is offline
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I heard from somewhere I dont remember that using fuel with higher octane than necessary can cause more carbon buildup in the engine, but I dont see why. Is that true?
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  #21  
Old 06-18-2005, 09:31 AM
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LOL

I was going to post a ... But I figured it would be a waste of time.

IF (being the operative word here) you would have done a search using Octane... or something like that... you would have found that this topic has already been discussed a few thousand times. There are already some really great opinions available for you to read... and, should you have something to add, you could actually resurrect one of those threads to add your incredible insight.

Here's just one:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=97010
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Last edited by SpeedFreak!; 06-18-2005 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hades281
I heard from somewhere I dont remember that using fuel with higher octane than necessary can cause more carbon buildup in the engine, but I dont see why. Is that true?
no
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  #23  
Old 06-18-2005, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by operknockity
Here we go again

Only new members posting a response.

Why even ask, read the manual and use the recommended octane... sheeesshhh.
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  #24  
Old 06-18-2005, 10:20 AM
MitchFlorida MitchFlorida is offline
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You can also save a bunch of $$$ by using re-processed oil instad of new oil, when you do your oil changes.
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  #25  
Old 06-18-2005, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by MitchFlorida
You can also save a bunch of $$$ by using re-processed oil instad of new oil, when you do your oil changes.
You are sooo cruel.

I saw this 20/20 special... or maybe it was Dateline or something... they showed people savings thousands of dollars a year living out of trash cans behind New York City restaurants. Seriously... they had a nice apartment to go home to... they weren't homeless or anything... they simply refused to "shop" getting ALL of there food and clothing needs through the dumpster.
Sounds like a plan, man!
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