What To Know The Next Time You Get Gas - Service Research at Hanson Subaru

Did you know that there have only been six new gasoline refineries in the U.S. over the last twenty years? This means that the gas at all the stations around the Puget Sound probably came from the same refinery. So, it seems like all gasoline is the same. Is it, though? A closer look at this subject shows that things are a bit more complicated. Below, we look at five things we think are good to know about the gasoline you put in your vehicle. If you have any questions, give our Subaru service center a call or schedule an appointment for expert Subaru service.

Modern gasoline is extensively tested and regulated for the highest quality and reliability

5. What Does The Octane Rating Mean?

We'll spare you all the chemical engineering that goes into today's gasoline, but there are a few things you should know about the octane rating of the gas you put in your car. This rating is the number on the gas pump and, in the state of Washington, is typically 87, 89, and 92 for regular, mid-grade and premium gas, respectively. So, what does this number mean for your car? Well, for most average cars that aren't turbocharged, this number really doesn't make a difference in power, fuel economy, or otherwise.

So, why have different octane ratings and what does this rating mean? It has to do with how the typical gas-powered engine works. As part of the process, a mixture of fuel and air is compressed before a spark ignites the mixture. The resulting explosion is what makes power. However, the compression can ignite the mixture without a spark, and this preignition is something that can damage a gas engine. The octane rating is the fuel's ability to resist igniting under pressure. So, if your engine has a particularly high compression ratio, like what many modern turbocharged engines have, it may require the higher octane fuel. That's why it's important to check your owner's manual and use the recommended grade of fuel.

Unless your engine requires it, there's no need to spend more on a higher octane fuel

4. Type vs Grade

The octane rating of gasoline is also considered its grade, but there are also different types of gasoline. Did you know that most of the gasoline sold today in the U.S. contains 10% ethanol? There's a lot of discussion about gasoline with ethanol in it. The important thing to know here is that most cars built over the last decade or so are designed to run ethanol fuels, the fuel economy isn't quite as good with ethanol, and this fuel is renewable. If you have an older car, you may be better off finding a pump with pure gas since the fuel system may not be designed to withstand the greater corrosiveness of ethanol.

Where you get gas can make a difference in its quality

3. Which is Best for Your Car?

In #5, we mentioned that most cars won't find any benefit to running a higher octane fuel in their engine. However, even seemingly average cars today have some seriously advanced engineering under the hood like turbocharged engines with impressively high compression ratios. These are the engines that will likely require higher octane fuels to prevent preignition, or knocking, in the engine. That's why we strongly recommend that you use the gas that's called for in the owner's manual. If you aren't sure, swing by an authorized service center like ours to learn more.

2. Where to Get Gas?

We started this article by explaining that gasoline in a region probably starts at the same refinery. So, it seems like any gas station should be just fine. If you stick to the big name established gas stations, that's likely to be the case. But what about that rundown convenience store on the corner with two uncovered gas pumps that look like they've been there for 40 years? Well, there's a greater chance that you may not be getting the highest quality gas from a place like this. While the gas from the refinery is the same, it goes to distributors, and that's where things could change. Old, neglected, or otherwise compromised gasoline storage and transportation equipment could mean that water gets into the gas, and that can be a real problem.

1. Top Tier Gas

You may have heard about top tier gas. Some gas pumps even have a top tier gas logo on them. It's what you'll find in most well-established and name brand gas stations, and top tier gas means it has additional additives and detergents. That helps your engine stay cleaner while also limiting emissions from the tailpipe. For the best gas, top tier gas is the best way to go.

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  1. Hanson Subaru

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales : (888) 490-9863

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Hanson Subaru

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Call or Text Sales: 360 943 2120
  • Service: (360)943-8531
  • Parts: (360)943-2120