Friday, March 28, 2008

Going premium

Well, I knew what I was getting in when I bought my '03 Volkswagen Passat. The minimum octane rating is 91, meaning I have to buy premium gas here in America. That was back in 2004, just when the gas prices were beginning to rise.

However, they still are rising, and I notice that there is 30 cents difference between regular unleaded and premium. Should my car go regular unleaded (octane rating of 87 or so)

Brian, my colleague at work and friend, showed me this website from USA Today:

Why use premium gas when regular will do?

I read the article - sure enough, it is a reasonable argument that I could go lower - but however the article seems to be for cars whose engines are not designed for premium. Premium does absolutely no better on the non-premium designated engines than the regular unleaded would do.

But my car engine is designed for premium.

I decided to email my service advisor over at Volkswagen dealership on Shawnee Mission Parkway and I-35. His reply:

"About the gas, well you can put regular in it, but I wouldn't recommend it. I have found that over time the fuel injectors will build up carbon deposits on them and the car will start running real rough. The fix for this is a BG fuel injection treatment that costs $113, so it almost seems like you would end up paying the extra anyways. If you have any questions or any other concerns please let me know."

Hmm. So, I made a calculation here how much I would pay for gas at 3.50 a gal. I put in gas twice a month, thrice every other month, at estimated total of 15 gallons at every fill up.

6 months: 30 gal x 6 = 180 gal
6 months: 45 gal x 6 = 270 gal
---------------
Total gal a year: 450 gal

450 x 3.50 = $1575

Not to mention those trips I have been making to MN ...

But anyway. Suppose I use regular unleaded, at 3.20 a gal. The cost would be $1440.

If I use regular unleaded instead of premium, the savings would be $135.

According to my advisor, the fuel injector cleaning would be $113. How many times would I need it cleaned? Once a year? I save $20 ?

It does not seem to be worth it to sneak down a couple of grade just to save money, and also my car engine has high compression, making it necessary for higher octane.

Besides, I am deaf and if I used gas that is too low in octane, I would not be able to hear "pinging" in my engine (the effect of using too low octane gas) which would damage my engine over time.

Ok, so premium it is. $135 really does not seem to be a difference, even to a frugal moi :)

2 Comments:

Blogger Lady Sil said...

Check out MSN's Best and Worst cars. I think your car was on either of those lists. Happy Friday! :)

6:37 AM  
Anonymous Mea said...

We *love* our Passat, and continue to pump premium gas into it so that it runs well. To save money, we simply don't drive it as often as we used to, which is better for the environment anyway!

9:15 AM  

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