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Old 05-24-2022, 12:06 PM   #1
Pineywoods
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Default Regular vs Premium Unleaded?

With regular unleaded over $4 per gallon, it made me wonder why anyone would buy premium right now. I understand some vehicles require it as my daughter has one but other than in those cases, what advantages are there? I would think that the demand for premium fuel would be extremely low right now.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:12 PM   #2
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With regular unleaded over $4 per gallon, it made me wonder why anyone would buy premium right now. I understand some vehicles require it as my daughter has one but other than in those cases, what advantages are there? I would think that the demand for premium fuel would be extremely low right now.
I run ethanol free in my Tacoma. It cost more than the 10% ethanol but I get better mileage with it.

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Old 05-24-2022, 12:20 PM   #3
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No need unless you are looking for better fuel economy and more performance. Today's modern engine control systems will learn as you burn. Using lower octane fuel the EMS will learn how much timing to retard and how much to adjust the duty cycle of the injectors so as to not harm the motor or burn a hole in a piston. At first there may be some knock or detonation but the knock sensors will soon have that under control. After the first tank of fuel you can motor on. Maybe not as fast and not as good of fuel economy but you can get by. Just be sure to go easy on the throttle if you run regular in a motor requiring premium fuel.
My Cheby High Country 6.2L calls for premium but I run regular now. Gas mileage is down 2 mpg but motor is not hurting for power with regular driving.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:21 PM   #4
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I run ethanol free in my Tacoma. It cost more than a than the 10% ethanol but I get better mileage with it.
That's what I was wondering. I figured maybe it helped fuel mileage enough to make up for the cost difference. Otherwise I don't see why anyone would buy it.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:25 PM   #5
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No need unless you are looking for better fuel economy and more performance. Today's modern engine control systems will learn as you burn. Using lower octane fuel the EMS will learn how much timing to retard and how much to adjust the duty cycle of the injectors so as to not harm the motor or burn a hole in a piston. At first there may be some knock or detonation but the knock sensors will soon have that under control. After the first tank of fuel you can motor on. Maybe not as fast and not as good of fuel economy but you can get by. Just be sure to go easy on the throttle if you run regular in a motor requiring premium fuel.
My Cheby High Country 6.2L calls for premium but I run regular now. Gas mileage is down 2 mpg but motor is not hurting for power with regular driving.
I have the 6.2 as well, but I fill up with premium
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:28 PM   #6
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My boat motor is the only thing that sees anything other than regular.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by muzzlebrake View Post
No need unless you are looking for better fuel economy and more performance. Today's modern engine control systems will learn as you burn. Using lower octane fuel the EMS will learn how much timing to retard and how much to adjust the duty cycle of the injectors so as to not harm the motor or burn a hole in a piston. At first there may be some knock or detonation but the knock sensors will soon have that under control. After the first tank of fuel you can motor on. Maybe not as fast and not as good of fuel economy but you can get by. Just be sure to go easy on the throttle if you run regular in a motor requiring premium fuel.
My Cheby High Country 6.2L calls for premium but I run regular now. Gas mileage is down 2 mpg but motor is not hurting for power with regular driving.
So 2mpg lesser gas mileage is all you have noticed with no power loss? If that's the case, I can't imagine the extra cost being worth it until costs go down.
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Old 05-24-2022, 12:51 PM   #8
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This has been debated time after time. There isn't or shouldn't be any mpg difference between the them. If there is then something funky is going on. I've tested this thoroughly myself and have found no significant difference in my mpg since 2016. There can be benefits of using the premium over regular but it all depends. Gas companies claim the premiums have more additives in it but don't say how much specifically or what kinds. We just have to assume it's better with whatever blend they choose. You would probably be better off buying regular and running some Marvels Mystery Oil through the tank every few fillups.

I'm only taking into consideration vehicles that do not require it.

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Old 05-24-2022, 12:53 PM   #9
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Default Regular vs Premium Unleaded?

It takes a LOT more than 2mpg gain or loss to offset the cost difference in gas cost.

I did an analysis when we bought my wifeís car on gave vs hybrid and with a 6-8mpg difference it would take over 6 years to make up the difference in cost.


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Old 05-24-2022, 12:58 PM   #10
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My Yukon Denali 6.2 is recommended Premium. It is an 09, I would venture previous owners didn't run it, I did a bit when we had the prebrandon gas prices and noticed no difference besides extra $.

I am sure somebody will come along and post how their fancy car exploded into flames the minute that 87 touched the tank.
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Old 05-24-2022, 01:03 PM   #11
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the main reason to use ethanol free gas is it will keep longer .. i use it in my mower .. people who use boats in the summer may use it before they put them up.. those kind of things .. as far as premium fuel goes ... some engines require them , high compression etc .. your gas cap location will usually list the minimum octane recommended by the manufacturer ...

you can go below that , but expect power loss and potential chattering of the valves especially under load.

if your car is designed for regular , putting premium won't do much , some newer vehicles may learn and advance timing and get you minimal power increase ... you can tell a difference in an ecoboost while towing heavy loads ... aside from that , it may just be placebo if you feel any difference at all ..

most vehicles won't gain enough mpg to go with higher grade fuels..

but if you run cheap gas all the time , injector cleaner once in a while is not a bad idea ... pretty much same additives as you get in premium fuels...
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Old 05-24-2022, 01:44 PM   #12
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Premium only in my car, and the truck is a diesel. If the MFG rates the car for a certain fuel, then there will be issues if something fails during the warranty period. Ford is notorious for fighting warranty claims, and I certainly would not risk it.

Yes all relatively new cars will compensate for regular. But I guess there is a reason engineers decide certain vehicles need premium vs regular.
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Old 05-24-2022, 01:49 PM   #13
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I run premium in my Harley. High compression so I got to.
Regular in my pickups.
Ethanol free in my four wheeler and all small engines.
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Old 05-24-2022, 01:58 PM   #14
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I had a TRX Launch edition truck with a 700 horse power engine with a super charger.
Regular gas was 4 miles per gallon less than regular.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:21 PM   #15
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What about adding an octane booster to regular fuel? One 15oz bottle is $8 and good for 25gal(full tank on most vehicles). Not sure on the cost savings of regular vs premium car an $8 bottle. But maybe saves some money?

Wonder if it would offer the same performance the manufacturer is looking for with premium fuel?
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:26 PM   #16
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I run 87 octane in the 2000 Civic. Tried the premium but got worse mileage with the premium than the 87. The truck also gets 87 octane.

The Camaro gets premium and the wife's car is supposed to, but she puts the cheap stuff in there. I put premium in the boat and ethanol free before putting it up for the winter months.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:26 PM   #17
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I had a Hyundai Equus. Bought of the Hyundai show room floor when it was Hyundai. That is the only vehicle that I have ever had that I could tell within a few miles when it did not have premium in it. V8 ran like a scaled ape. But would blow smoke and run like crap on anything but premium.

man I wish I never sold that one.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:35 PM   #18
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I had a TRX Launch edition truck with a 700 horse power engine with a super charger.
Regular gas was 4 miles per gallon less than regular.
not sure how that works ???
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:36 PM   #19
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The engineers that design these engines are way smarter than most of us. Run what is recommended and you'll be fine.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:37 PM   #20
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Y'all can put 87 in your high compression motors and rely on the knock sensors to keep from burning a hole in a piston but I'll just keep paying the extra money for the correct fuel.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:40 PM   #21
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i know on the ecoboost ford you have to run premium for a while for the computer to learn and adjust the fuel mapping accordingly... mixing 15 gallons of premium with 11 of regular may equate to mid grade overall ..

my new truck has 36 gallon tank ... i can't afford to fill it up with premium without getting a bank loan...
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineywoods View Post
So 2mpg lesser gas mileage is all you have noticed with no power loss? If that's the case, I can't imagine the extra cost being worth it until costs go down.
These Gubment motors 6.2ís require premium so thatís what I use! Higher octane and thatís manufacturers specs- specified for a reason !
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:52 PM   #23
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A high performance high compression engine benefits from premium, but not many folks grocery getters fall in that category. The only real "premium" gas is the ethanol free stuff anyway. You may see a slight mpg boost since there's no corn in it, but for a daily driver the per gallon cost would still outweigh the mpg savings.
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Old 05-24-2022, 02:56 PM   #24
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Premium fuel is higher octane which burns slower and allows the engine to run more advanced timing, usually around +5 deg, which equals more HP which equals better efficiency thus better fuel mileage when operating normally. You keep your foot in it all the time there won't be a difference in economy.
Now you may not feel a 5 deg timing retard but your time slip will show it

There are tuning methods that can be used, requires a dyno, that can make any of these fuels work better than factory maps and raise the engine's output 10-15% but that's another subject. All factory engine tunes leave horsepower on the table for longevity and warranty reasons and EPA CART regs.

When I was dyno tuning Harleys I used TTS Mastertune and could take a stock Harley TC 103 injected and pull another 10hp and 10tq from most engines with no other mods using 87 oct and boost the mileage from 35-40 mpg to as high as 52 mpg highway running speed limit which nobody does
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Old 05-24-2022, 03:01 PM   #25
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These Gubment motors 6.2’s require premium so that’s what I use! Higher octane and that’s manufacturers specs- specified for a reason !
True. My impression is that it's related to the DFM and VVT mechanisms where pre-ignition aka ping aka detonation is hard on all valve train components. They have enough trouble with this crap already. Therefore the engines survive better with slower cooler burning fuel.
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Old 05-24-2022, 03:06 PM   #26
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If the vehicle manufacturer recommends premium, I'll run premium. It never even crossed my mind to run premium in a vehicle that the manufacturer didn't recommend to do so. The cost difference is most definitely noticable.

Other than higher performance sports cars, I've found that a lot of vehicles that are recommended to run on premium have turbos. You know, the 4 or 6 cylinder turbo engines. Lots of foreign premium sedans and SUVs are designed this way. Heck, even Jeep pushes a 4 cylinder turbo in their wrangler line, for which premium is recommended. I'm sure Ford recommends premium with their ecoboast engines.

What does this mean to me? For starters, when looking at gas mileage on a vehicle, the requirement to use premium over regular should also be assessed. My wife's last vehicle was an Audi Q5. We replaced it with a Lexus RX 350. Other than added reliability of the Lexus brand, it was nice to find out that it came with a normally aspirated 6 cylinder engine with the recommendation of regular gas. Sure, not as fun or sporty, but paying almost a dollar less per gallon for regular is nice right now.
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Old 05-24-2022, 03:15 PM   #27
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I run regular in my Tundra, but my wife G-Wagon will only see Premium no matter what it costs.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:06 PM   #28
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Clearly so many have theories but have never run full spec analysis on fuels.

OP, to answer your question. The only advantage is octane or AKI. The boiling table is slightly different between 87-93 but not much, not every high octane component is heavier.

Gas is a mixture of many different components with different boiling points ie (butane, LSR, reformate, fcc cat gas, alkalyate, SCN ect).

Here is how we test for octane
Attachment 1090524

Last edited by jaime1982; 05-24-2022 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 05-24-2022, 04:13 PM   #29
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Clearly so many have theories but have never run full spec analysis on fuels.
Here is My analysis- when gas gets more expensive they will shut down their unleaded pumps and the only thing weíll be able to get is Premium anyway- it happens after every hurricane and happened in 08 and many times before that ! My truck will continue to drink premium.
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Old 05-24-2022, 09:02 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by imyomama View Post
i know on the ecoboost ford you have to run premium for a while for the computer to learn and adjust the fuel mapping accordingly... mixing 15 gallons of premium with 11 of regular may equate to mid grade overall ..

my new truck has 36 gallon tank ... i can't afford to fill it up with premium without getting a bank loan...
Iíve got the 3.5 eco and the 36 gallon tank. Wife picked me up from the airport the other day with 1/8 tank. $124 to fill it up. Gah. Iíve never run premium in itÖ maybe I should do a couple tanks and compare my gas mileage.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:18 AM   #31
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Tagged for after work reading
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:38 AM   #32
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My truck says 91 minimum in the owner's manual. So that is what it gets.

Wife's Tahoe says 87, so that's what it gets.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:45 AM   #33
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I run regular in my Tundra, but my wife G-Wagon will only see Premium no matter what it costs.




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Old 05-25-2022, 08:48 AM   #34
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I have a performance car that recommends 93. I only buy 1 tank about every month and a half because I only drive it on the weekends.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:51 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imyomama View Post
i know on the ecoboost ford you have to run premium for a while for the computer to learn and adjust the fuel mapping accordingly... mixing 15 gallons of premium with 11 of regular may equate to mid grade overall ..

my new truck has 36 gallon tank ... i can't afford to fill it up with premium without getting a bank loan...
Where did you get that info? I have one and never heard that. I have run 87 in it since I bought it.
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:04 AM   #36
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Where did you get that info? I have one and never heard that. I have run 87 in it since I bought it.
Our company pickups are ecoboost, we definitely donít run 93. They would ****. LOL
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:06 AM   #37
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I have a performance car that recommends 93. I only buy 1 tank about every month and a half because I only drive it on the weekends.
Our Lexus was a 12 compression ported engine that required higher octane to prevent auto-combustion. The fuel needs to be able to detonate at the correct compression ratio and timing. Every other vehicle we run regular.

I lol when people buy premium fuel for their lawn equipment because (its better)..
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:53 AM   #38
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There is a misconception that premium fuel does not have ethanol in it. Sorry but it does. The ONLY way to get ethanol free fuel is to buy it from a pump that states ethanol free. I’ve seen some independent tests that showed some premium actually has more than 10% ethanol in it. One test showed just over 20%!!!!


In SOME high compression engines, premium will give you better fuel economy but this is not across the board. Cam timing plays a HUGE roll in cylinder pressures as well as static compression. I had a 2006 Chevy Colorado with the 2.8L 4 banger with 10.0:1 compression that would get 3-4 mpg better with 93 octane, so that’s what I ran in it even though it would run fine on 87. I ran tests on my SRT4 (turbocharged 2.4L) and found it could run up to 7 psi of boost without any decrease in ignition timing. For cruising this was fine, but 7 psi was a LOT lower than the 19 psi it would run with 93 octane. With that car, it was a HUGE performance difference(around 100 hp).


In my wife’s car, a 2019 VW Atlas with a 2.0L turbo motor, it runs fine on 87 octane so that’s what we run in it, unless we are towing with it. That’s when it gets 93 octane.
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Old 05-25-2022, 09:59 AM   #39
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Quote:
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Our Lexus was a 12 compression ported engine that required higher octane to prevent auto-combustion. The fuel needs to be able to detonate at the correct compression ratio and timing. Every other vehicle we run regular.

I lol when people buy premium fuel for their lawn equipment because (its better)..
Does the premium fuel have less ethanol in it? I honestly don’t know. I appears it does contain ethanol.
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:02 AM   #40
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Does the premium fuel have less ethanol in it? I honestly donít know.
It used to when ethanol first started being added. Now pretty much all pump gas is 10% unless it's ethanol free.
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:11 AM   #41
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In the Yukon I have for sale in the TBH Classifieds I almost always ran premium and without question I noticed a performance boost. GMC suggests premium so that’s what I did. At Costco it is usually only a quarter or so more per gallon.
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Old 05-25-2022, 10:13 AM   #42
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Where did you get that info? I have one and never heard that. I have run 87 in it since I bought it.
What he is saying is it takes the ECU a few tanks to fully shift into 93 octane mode because it takes a while to work out all the 87 octane fuel. Not that 93 is required.
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Old 05-25-2022, 01:39 PM   #43
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What he is saying is it takes the ECU a few tanks to fully shift into 93 octane mode because it takes a while to work out all the 87 octane fuel. Not that 93 is required.

Thatís not how engine computers work. They react pretty much instantly to issues within the engine to prevent damage or optimize fuel economy.

We ainít dealing with points & condensers here.


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Old 05-25-2022, 01:46 PM   #44
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What he is saying is it takes the ECU a few tanks to fully shift into 93 octane mode because it takes a while to work out all the 87 octane fuel. Not that 93 is required.
The performance cars that I know that strongly suggest higher octane fuel have knock sensonrs in them so they can detect early detonation. When this happens and my understanding that is is pretty instantaneious is that it the computer adjusts the timing which reduces performance. Not sure if this is the case on the ecoboost or not.

On my dads 2019 Ecoboost I looked in the manual and it does recommend 91 I believe, it was forsure over 87. With that said it has ran on 87 its whole life but we havent seen if 91 equates to better performance or fuel economy.

This was several years back when fuel was cheaper but my brothers Titan got so much better mileasge with premium that it out ran the cost of the fuel so he always put premuim in it.
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Old 05-25-2022, 05:19 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Fordnandez View Post
The performance cars that I know that strongly suggest higher octane fuel have knock sensonrs in them so they can detect early detonation. When this happens and my understanding that is is pretty instantaneious is that it the computer adjusts the timing which reduces performance. Not sure if this is the case on the ecoboost or not.

On my dads 2019 Ecoboost I looked in the manual and it does recommend 91 I believe, it was forsure over 87. With that said it has ran on 87 its whole life but we havent seen if 91 equates to better performance or fuel economy.

This was several years back when fuel was cheaper but my brothers Titan got so much better mileasge with premium that it out ran the cost of the fuel so he always put premuim in it.


Yes, all of the ecoboost engines have knock sensors that will tell the computer if knock is detected. If knock is detected on those engines, not only will the timing be retarded, but the boost pressure will also be lowered. This goes for pretty much all factory turbocharged engines.


On my old SRT4 for example, with the factory computer controlling everything, if you ran 87 octane fuel then at the first sign of knock, ignition timing would be pulled back and the boost would lower from 13 psi down to 5 psi. After I played with it, I found the upper limit for 87 octane was 7 psi of boost, so the factory programming was conservative.
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Old 05-26-2022, 05:40 AM   #46
jaime1982
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Alot of work goes into fuel research.

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Old 05-26-2022, 08:19 AM   #47
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My experience with octane and engines comes from tuning them and programming the computer to run them. Not for a manufacturer though. It was all aftermarket. A challenge that I enjoyed was programming a stand alone ECU on a (at the time) 15 year old crammed and turbocharged engine to pass the tail pipe sniffer tests in D/FW. Get it right and it’s a LOT of fun!! Get it wrong and you have a very expensive paper weight.
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Old 05-26-2022, 10:19 AM   #48
Briar Friar
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We run regular in our 2013 Expedition and its been having a bit of lope/knock. Weve done all kinds of mechanics, inspections, fuel rail cleans, etc. I got a wild hair to run higher octane and the engine lope and knock have gone away.
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