Have you ever gone to get gas, looked at your options, and wondered: “Does it matter which type of gas I use?” Turns out, what gas you use (as well as the car you drive) can have an impact on your wallet and the environment.
If you want to cut back on costs, then let us tell you the difference between regular, plus, and premium gas and how you can save money by going green in your commute.
What’s the difference in the types of fuel?
What is the difference between regular, plus, and premium gas? The difference comes down to how much oxygen they contain within them. You want a certain amount of oxygen so that when your engine ignites, the gas doesn’t ignite as well.
If there isn’t enough, then the gas will prematurely combust. It will cause an audible “knocking” sound when this happens. So, in simple terms, more oxygen equals better.
Well, it does, at least by this definition. However, these days most cars drive fine off of unleaded regular gas. Unless your car has made frequent “knocking” or “pinging” sounds, there is no cost benefit to using premium. With that said:
When does the gas matter?
Some cars can only run off of plus or premium gas, and it is likely if you use regular gas for those cars you may not only ruin your engine but also ruin the gas efficiency of your car.
The common ones are larger vehicles like SUVs and vans, which will need plus or premium gas. But this can still vary depending on the vehicle. When in doubt, your best option is to consult the owner’s manual for your car.
Now, there are other ways to save money on your gas. The primary one would be to buy a fuel-efficient car. So let’s talk about that.
Fuel-Efficient Cars: Are they cheaper?
Maybe you have heard of hybrid cars or electric cars. You might be wondering: Are hybrids better than gasoline cars?
Less Gas, Less Money
Hybrid cars are a lot cheaper to drive. Since they use less gas, you save a significant amount of money on travel. Hybrids are also capable of switching from gas to electricity when driving slowly. Hybrids will do this when idling at a light and starting up, thus saving you on gas. So you end up with better long-term cost efficiency.
There are other downsides to hybrids, though. Hybrids are far more expensive than your average gasoline car. They also don’t have the same kind of engine power. Depending on your insurance, they can also cost more to insure.
Hybrids do have longer warranties, though. This will help maintain your car longer.
Plus, hybrids are the way of the future. As hybrids are becoming more popular, companies are starting to create and manufacture more of them. They are far better for the environment, which is a better incentive for companies to invest in making them.
All in all, you will want to do extensive research to see if a hybrid car would work best for you and your lifestyle.
Cars with the Best Fuel Economy
Hybrids are typically the best when reducing the amount you pay in gas, but they may not always be the most affordable option. If you can’t afford a hybrid car, then your next best bet is to look for a fuel-efficient one.
To start, saving on gas doesn’t do you much good unless your car has a good fuel economy. You want to check that the gas mileage is good when purchasing.
Here are some brands to look for when shopping:
These brands tend to design the most affordable and most cost-efficient cars. There are other brands like Tesla that would rank at the top of that list, but I would venture to guess that the average American who works 9-5 can’t afford one of those.
How to Get the Best Gas Mileage
There are also several ways that you can get more gas mileage from your car besides buying a new one.
Contrary to popular belief, using premium gas does not get you better gas mileage. Since most cars run just fine off of regular gas, buying premium is an unnecessary cost. If your user’s manual says your car can run off of regular gas, go for the cheaper option.
There are a few other tips to help your gas mileage. You can try to lighten your load on your trips and be sure to keep your car in good condition. These things will help you in the long run.
Insurance and Financial Benefits
In the past, insurance for cars – like hybrids – costs more. As time has gone on, and as hybrids have become more popular, their insurance rates have lowered to nearly the same cost as gasoline cars.
Also, many insurance companies offer eco-friendly discounts to those that drive eco-friendly cars.
There are also other kinds of fuel discounts some of your insurance companies may offer, like pay-as-you-drive insurance. Typically, you will be given a device by the insurance company that measures how far you travel daily. It then calculates your rate based on this information instead of a flat rate. This can be far more cost efficient if you drive less than the average driver.
Go Green or Go Home
The best way to save money; more than gas, more than buying a fuel-efficient car, is to try green commuting.
Ideally, you should try to cut back on how often you use your car to get around. Try options like buying a bicycle, commuting with others, or taking public transport. A great perk to putting less mileage on your car is paying less for your car insurance.
There are pros and cons to the cost of driving eco-friendly or using fuel-efficient cars, but the biggest benefit isn’t even about finances. Green commuting is a lot healthier for the environment and the more people who work toward reducing their carbon emission, the bigger benefit for everyone.
So in the end, what is the difference between regular, plus, or premium gas? Well, for the average driver, not a whole lot. Hopefully, this article has highlighted the various other ways you can save on the road.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gas for Vehicles
Does using different gas affect my engine over time?
Not really. So long as you use the bare minimum requirement of gas for your car, which is typically regular, using a higher quality of gas will not harm your engine. It is not necessary to use better gas though, so it will harm your wallet.
What does ‘knocking’ mean?
Knocking is a terminology used to describe when gas in an engine suddenly combusts. If it happens frequently, it can be a sign that you are not using the right gas for your car.
What is a hybrid car?
A hybrid car is a car that uses both electricity and gas to run. Typically, when moving slowly, the car will primarily use electricity, so long as it has a charge. At faster speeds, it will switch to gas.
What is a good gas mileage for a car?
I would aim for 30 to 35 miles per gallon.
Breanne Lingo is an auto insurance expert with Autoinsuranceez.com.