How to Choose the Best Gasoline or Fuel For Your Car

Choosing among regular, mid-grade, and premium gasoline or diesel fuel means checking the requirements for your vehicle.

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In theory, refueling your vehicle is very easy. You pull up to the gas station, pop open your fuel cap, insert your credit card, and fill it up. Sound simple enough, right? But then you pull up to the gas station and see that there are a lot of different gas options, each with a different name, and a different price. Suddenly, it’s not so simple anymore.

Don’t worry: choosing the right type of fuel for your car is incredibly easy. In just a few minutes, you can easily determine what fuel you should be putting in your car at the gas station. In this article, Part 1 helps you decide if you need diesel or gasoline, and Part 2 describes which grade of fuel you should choose.

Part 1 of 2: Should I use diesel or gasoline?

While diesel is far less common than gasoline, diesel vehicles often get terrific gas mileage. And, at many gas stations, diesel fuel is cheaper than gasoline. As a result, a lot of people wonder whether they can put diesel fuel in their car. Unless you have a diesel vehicle, the answer is no. Cars are designed to run either gasoline, or diesel fuel: gas cars cannot run on diesel, and diesel vehicles cannot run with gasoline.

  • Tip: If you’re not sure whether your vehicle requires diesel or gasoline, you can usually find that information on the inside of your gas cap. If it’s not there, it will either be on the information plate on the inside of the driver’s door panel, or in your owner’s manual.

Part 2 of 2: What grade fuel should I use?

If you have a diesel fuel vehicle, the answer to this question is simple. Most gas stations only carry one grade of diesel fuel, and that will work just fine for your car.

If your vehicle runs on gasoline, then you have three options at the gas station: regular, mid-grade, and premium. Unlike with gasoline and diesel fuel, you can choose any of the three options and your car will still run.

However, some vehicles suggest that you use premium fuel. Once again, you can consult the inside of your gas cap, the information plate on the driver’s door panel, or the owner’s manual for this information.

If your vehicle says “premium gasoline required” then you should always use premium fuel. Your car will still safely run on regular or mid-grade, so don’t worry about using those in a pinch, but you’ll experience better efficiency and performance with premium.

If your vehicle advises “premium gasoline recommended”, then it’s less important to use premium. However, you will experience better performance if you opt for the premium gasoline.

Contrary to popular belief, fuel grade primarily impacts vehicle performance, not health. If you want to get the most performance out of your sports car, for instance, you should use premium fuel, or at least mid-grade. If you only use your car for commuting, and you don’t care too much about the performance, you can go ahead and save money with regular fuel, unless your car states that premium is required. Furthermore, if you don’t have a performance vehicle (like a sports car or luxury sedan or SUV), there usually isn’t a reason to purchase premium gasoline.

Choosing the right fuel for your vehicle doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is checking the information stated by your manufacturer, and determining how important your vehicle’s performance is to you. Take those into consideration, and you’ll be in great shape at the gas station.

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