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Is 93-Octane Really Worth It?

Close up fuel nozzles at a gas station

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding 93-octane gas. You might notice it at the gas pump and wonder why it’s so much more expensive. In this piece, you’ll learn what it is, what it does, and if it’s really worth it.

What is 93-Octane Gas?

93-octane gas is also called “premium” gas. When you pull up to the gas pump and see all the different options, 93-octane is likely one of them.

Unlike diesel, it isn’t a completely different form of gas. The only difference is the octane level in the gas.

You’ll notice that the octane rating of premium gas varies from state to state. Alabama gas stations typically offer 93-octane premium gas, while Alaska has 90-octane gas as its standard premium option.

What is an Octane?

When you read “93-octane”, your first question should be surrounding what octane is. Well, it’s not really a unit of measurement or anything tangible. There aren’t 93 octanes stuffed into premium gas.

Octane is a term used to describe how often the gas combusts at the wrong time. It’s based on how much pressure the gas can take without misfiring, essentially.

The number before the octane describes the gas’ likeness to detonate at the wrong time. Theoretically, 0-octane gas will always combust at the wrong time and 100-octane gas will never incorrectly combust.

Difference Between Premium and Standard Gas

For reference, standard gas has about 87-octane. That means that a car using premium gas will have fewer misfires, also called “engine knocks” since the noise sounds like a knocking coming from the engine.

The other major difference between these two types of gas is the price. You’ll wind up paying upwards of 50 cents more per gallon at the pump.

What’s the Point of 93-Octane Gas?

Since the fuel burns more predictably, your car can use it more aggressively. This nature of premium gas is why some car manufacturers love it so much. They can max out on fuel efficiency and performance since they’re using the best fuel commercially available.

The Problem with Misfires

If you use low-octane fuel and experience a lot of engine knocks, your engine will deteriorate more quickly. These unplanned explosions in your engine will wear away the assembly.

Is that reason enough to purchase and use 93-octane gas?

Person refilling the car with fuel at the gas station

Is 93-Octane Really Worth It?

To answer the previous question, no. The simple answer is that premium gas should be used exclusively for premium cars that specifically require premium gas.

Using higher octane doesn’t mean that you’ll get better performance if the car isn’t designed for it. The car’s engine will determine how well it performs, and the gas is just a boost for the right engine.

Typically, only luxury, performance, and sports cars call for premium gas. In fact, some cars even have what type of gas you need to use in the warranty. Using the wrong type of gas can void the warranty and leave you with a big bill in your lap.

This is an especially big deal if you’re leasing the car.

With that said, using 93-octane gas is the only solution if your car requires it. Using a lower octane can really damage your engine and hurt your overall performance.

Does Premium Gas Make You Perform Better?

No. Using premium gas in a standard car actually serves no purpose. There are no positives or negatives associated with it in terms of performance or driving experience.

You’ll wind up spending a lot more money, though. So it’s always better to stick with the gas that your car requires. If your car is okay with regular gas, then fill it up with regular gas.

What Causes a Car to Require Premium Gas?

Things like turbochargers, high-compression engines, and high-performance engine parts require premium gas. This all goes back to the performance of the gas under pressure and the predictability of combustion.


There you have it, now you know everything about 93-octane gas. It’s only worth it when your car explicitly requires it. Putting premium gas in a standard car has no positive impact when it comes to your car’s performance. After all, you can’t turn your car into a Ferrari just by putting a horse emblem on it.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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