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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
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  #1  
Old 05-01-2013, 01:27 AM
Aaron1021 Aaron1021 is offline
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Fuel brand and octane

I'm curious as to what brand and octane of fuel you all use.

Personally, I use QuickTrip or Shell. Most of the time I will use 93 octane, but for road trips, I'll fill up on 87. I think filling up on 93 might be a waste because I never push the X3. Any of you willing to admit being a longterm 87 user? Any ill effects?
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2013, 05:39 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Fuel brand and octane

My 09 has used chevron 87 almost exclusively since new. I am at almost 113k and have had no issues.


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Last edited by x3brian; 05-01-2013 at 08:09 AM.
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2013, 12:30 PM
jdauria jdauria is offline
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91+ only here
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  #4  
Old 05-01-2013, 02:23 PM
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Chevron 87

Chevron 87
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  #5  
Old 05-01-2013, 04:48 PM
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93 only, i try to get shell or sunoco, but i admit i go for what's cheapest around on the 93. I've read Shell will burn cleanest.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2013, 05:12 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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Most fuel comes from the same tank farms, as you'll see a dozen different brands of fuel trucks all filling up from the same tank. Noticeable "issues" between fuel brands have more to do with the upkeep of the underground storage tanks the fuel is kept in than the brand of fuel. While the computer can adjust for knock and ping from lower octane fuel, the decrease in power and fuel economy just isn't worth it. Also, an engine knocks and pings long before you can actually hear it.
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2013, 06:31 PM
328 M Sport 328 M Sport is offline
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93 4 Me

Folks, we are only talking a couple bucks more a tank; 87 octane, really? Best to follow BMW recommendations of 91 octane or higher. Chevy, Ford & Chrysler make lots of cheap gas crap cars to choose from. Maybe its time to step down and trade the BMW and save a couple bucks. 93 always for me. I do shop for best price, but not worried about brand.
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2013, 06:36 PM
Ex-One Ex-One is offline
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Fuel brand and octane

V Power is the best you can buy nationally.


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  #9  
Old 05-01-2013, 08:14 PM
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Midgrade if putting around town, premium if expecting heavier loads or higher revs or highway. Ethanol-free if possible. Never regular, even if the engine can run on it (91 RON/87 AKI minimum).

Quality of the fuel is more important than octane, so I try to stick to the more reputable brands most of the time, although I will admit I have had my fair share of subpar fuel from every major brand out there (Shell, BP, Exxon, you name it) on rare occasion.
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  #10  
Old 05-01-2013, 11:09 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzNMpower32 View Post
.... Never regular, even if the engine can run on it (91 RON/87 AKI minimum).
The different ways of representing octane around the world get confusing in these discussions.

It is significant that in most of Europe two grades of petrol are generally available - 95 RON and 98 RON.

They call them Super and Super Plus, and they correspond respectively to 90/91 AKI and 93/94 AKI in Canada and the U.S.

92 or 93 RON used to be widely available (called 2-Star in G.B.) but was phased out because of low sales when hot hatches became the thing.

Europe never refers to the basic grade as 'Regular', but in any case it's now equivalent to our Premium or just below it.

Some countries like Italy just have one grade (95) while others have a level above Super Plus at 100 RON.
Parts of Russia have much lower octane - something in the 80 to 85 RON range.

Although the U.S. may be BMW's largest market, I would think they design their engines to run optimally on the octanes most widely available in Europe (95 and 98 RON).

Their recommendation for 91 AKI minimum should be considered in this context.
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  #11  
Old 05-02-2013, 03:33 AM
bdunn bdunn is offline
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Have only used premium fuel since purchasing my X3. Currently at 144,000 miles and just replaced spark plugs last week.
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  #12  
Old 05-02-2013, 10:18 AM
spokelizard spokelizard is online now
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I never use less than 91 premium. In the Bay Area where I live that's the highest premium available. Generally Chevron, Union 76, or Shell.

In addition I generally mix in 100 octane Sunoco racing fuel in a 1:2 ratio, the goal being a blended octane of 94. I think it makes a difference in performance due to the valve train adjusting to the higher octane, my indie mechanic agrees, but I've posted on this before and I know some people think I'm just wasting money. Speaking of money, the blended gas costs me about $1 more per gallon than the premium price.
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  #13  
Old 05-02-2013, 10:46 AM
SonicBoom SonicBoom is offline
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Always 91+

Some goes for my Maxima, which actually will tolerate 87, but 91+ is recommended.


Like somebody said, it only a couple of bucks per tank. I spend more than that on soda in a day, so I'm not to concerned about my once-a-week fill up.
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  #14  
Old 05-02-2013, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
The different ways of representing octane around the world get confusing in these discussions.

It is significant that in most of Europe two grades of petrol are generally available - 95 RON and 98 RON.

They call them Super and Super Plus, and they correspond respectively to 90/91 AKI and 93/94 AKI in Canada and the U.S.

92 or 93 RON used to be widely available (called 2-Star in G.B.) but was phased out because of low sales when hot hatches became the thing.

Europe never refers to the basic grade as 'Regular', but in any case it's now equivalent to our Premium or just below it.

Some countries like Italy just have one grade (95) while others have a level above Super Plus at 100 RON.
Parts of Russia have much lower octane - something in the 80 to 85 RON range.

Although the U.S. may be BMW's largest market, I would think they design their engines to run optimally on the octanes most widely available in Europe (95 and 98 RON).

Their recommendation for 91 AKI minimum should be considered in this context.
For those who don't understand German, here's the jist:

98 RON for optimum performance and efficiency. 95 RON is also permissable. Minimum is 91 RON. That translates to 93, 90-91 (ish), and 87 AKI, respectively.

When I'm just commuting mostly to/from work and not really exceeding 3000rpm or half-throttle, I personally am okay with midgrade but everyone's free to do as they wish. I also start-stop my engine at long stoplights when appropriate to conserve fuel and reduce emissions (I'm a fan of auto start-stop technology) and regularly monitor the instant fuel consumption.....but that's just me.
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2013, 07:15 AM
simsima325 simsima325 is offline
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Long highway trip is exactly the WRONG time to throw in 87... sustained high RPMs with 87 on these motors is not a good idea for longevity.
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  #16  
Old 05-03-2013, 08:05 AM
SonicBoom SonicBoom is offline
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I think there is a thread from the past couple days showing a correlation with using low octane fuel and blown head gaskets?
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  #17  
Old 05-03-2013, 09:07 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Fuel brand and octane

Since I have been doing it with no ill harm for 113k miles....I will volunteer to be the guinea pig .

I see no potential for any issues in an extremely well maintained hwy commuter except for slight loss of acceleration performance which add no real benefit while cruising 2 hours a day at sustained 70 mph on the hwy.

I will keep update on the mileage thread. I have no fear that I will have a blown head gasket or shortened longevity due to this. If I end up being wrong you can all make fun if me at will.

As a side note years ago I ran a controlled test on my commute to compare premium vs regular chevron for 2 weeks each to the n52 motor. I was able to control tire pressure, driving style, weather (hey Spring in California is predictable) and commute habits. I filled up at same pump daily and logged everything in a spreadsheet.

At the end of a month I saw no gain in mpg or performance to justify the usage of premium. I'm sure if I attached it to a dyno different results would have been seen, but they were negligible with my driving style and commute patterns.


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Last edited by x3brian; 05-03-2013 at 09:58 AM.
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  #18  
Old 05-03-2013, 10:11 AM
Supercourse Supercourse is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x3brian View Post
At the end of a month I saw no gain in mpg or performance to justify the usage of premium. I'm sure if I attached it to a dyno different results would have been seen, but they were negligible with my driving style and commute patterns.
In the spirit of having a good discussion, I'll suggest that it can take quite a time or accumulation of miles for the ECU to adapt to the different octane.

Whether it's of the order of a week or so I don't know.

And I think we can all agree that while you may or may not subjectively feel a difference in performance that is also not conclusive.

Sometimes an experiment just turns out in the way you have already expected it to turn out.
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  #19  
Old 05-03-2013, 10:53 AM
x3brian x3brian is offline
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Fuel brand and octane

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
In the spirit of having a good discussion, I'll suggest that it can take quite a time or accumulation of miles for the ECU to adapt to the different octane.

Whether it's of the order of a week or so I don't know.

And I think we can all agree that while you may or may not subjectively feel a difference in performance that is also not conclusive.

Sometimes an experiment just turns out in the way you have already expected it to turn out.
Absolutely! Quite frankly that was the biggest flaw in my test because the performance aspect was 100% subjective. I solely based success on cost justification of premium with improved mpg with the theory that the engine burned fuel more efficiently. To clarify, I did see an overall higher mpg with premium but it averaged to .2 mpg vs regular.

As a side note the test was conducted on my 128i vert. I have done similar comparisons on my x3 but not nearly as controlled as that was.


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  #20  
Old 05-03-2013, 12:54 PM
Aaron1021 Aaron1021 is offline
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Originally Posted by simsima325 View Post
Long highway trip is exactly the WRONG time to throw in 87... sustained high RPMs with 87 on these motors is not a good idea for longevity.
I don't consider 3000 rpm "sustained high rpms."
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  #21  
Old 05-03-2013, 04:29 PM
camaroguy camaroguy is offline
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Like someone else mentioned, I really don't get why someone would spend $45k+ on a high end vehicle, then turn around and put low octane fuel (which the manufacture does not recommend, they say it can be compensated for, but this is far from a recommendation) in order to save less money per tank than they spend on coffee per day.

They don't recommend higher octane for the benefit of the oil company, they recommend it because that's what the car was designed to run on.
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  #22  
Old 05-05-2013, 05:13 PM
dukedkt442 dukedkt442 is offline
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I get 2-3 mpg better on Hess fuel than for Cumberland Farms. Since the fuel trucks for both stations fill up from the same tank, thereby making the fuel the same, that leaves me to assume that the Cumby's is passing 87 off as 93, and hence the difference in fuel economy. If the vehicle calls for a certain grade fuel, it should be used. On a vehicle calling for 87, premium serves no purpose; both my '84 GMC and '97 Jetta actually get worse mpg when using premium. I tend to think that the engineers in Munich know more about what fuel their engines were designed to run than the people who buy them.

Last edited by dukedkt442; 05-05-2013 at 05:16 PM.
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  #23  
Old 05-10-2013, 03:08 PM
PSUEng PSUEng is offline
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I'm fortunate to have Shell 93 ethanol free--that's what I use. I'll buy ethanol free 93/92 no matter the brand if I have that choice--otherwise, it's Shell 93 or Mobil. Chevron is no longer on the East coast. I run a bottle of Techron every 5k or so. Usually by one get one at the auto stores every other month or so.
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  #24  
Old 09-27-2014, 07:17 AM
Stepndown Stepndown is offline
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fuel brand and octane

I noticed that my fan runs loud and fast when I put low octane in. The moment I filled up on 93, the fan went back to normal. I put 87 in and it started again. back to 93, it stops. I cannot explain it, unless the engine runs hotter or confuses the computer on low octane.
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  #25  
Old 09-27-2014, 05:55 PM
joylove joylove is offline
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I like the best fuel I can find. The MPG goes up and so does the performance.

As for the cost delta, it's equivalent to one large Starbucks Frappuccino or one necessary journey per tank, and I don't nickel-and-dme myself over those things either.
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