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Can Cheap Petrol Ruin My Car?

A lot of car owners fear that using cheap petrol would inflict harm to the engine of their cars over time and they wonder if saving a few pennies would put their car engine at risk.

Gasoline is very expensive and we are all looking for every possible way to cut costs as much as possible. You may have already been shying away from premium petrol because you know that your car does not require it. You could already be saving a lot of pennies per gallon now as well by going to your nearest brandless gas station but you could not get rid of the fear at the back of your head that cheap petrol could sooner or later damage your car’s engine!


You can breathe easily now because the answer is NO, it wont hurt your car after a period of time. You can now stop stressing and worrying about using cheap petrol. The additional additives are just there to provide more engine protection.

Several experts of the field have been put to question=n including the automotive engineer of a major carmaker, two engineers from the American Automobile Association and gasoline manufacturers. All of them had the same answer: cheap petrol is unlikely to hurt your car’s engine.

Because there is a drastic rise to the advancement of engine technology, the onboard computer of your car is capable of adjusting the inevitable variations of different types of fuels. This means you, as a driver, wont be a able to notice a significant drop when it comes to the performance of your engine if you use two or more different brands of petrol. It does not matter whether it is the bare to the bones stuff from your local corner quickie mart or the additive-rich petrol that is being sold by the country’s major brands.

Spending a few more on petrol per gallon would give you the peace of mind that you need especially if you have just purchased a brand new car and you would want to keep it as long as it can hold up. For the people that have older or classic cars and are not concerned with the longevity of their engine then they could use the lesser priced gas and they would still be alright.

The senior automotive engineer of the Automobile Club of Southern California, Steve Mazor, sums this whole debacle in this way: “You should purchase the cheapest petrol closest to you!”

Recipes for Performance: At a Price

Even though cheap petrol wont harm your car, it does not mean it is the same with the premium ones even if it would seem that way. All the fuel that you can get from different filling stations come from one common source known as the “base gas” and it has gone through refinery. Workers from these refineries would mix specific additives that is mandated by the Agency of Environmental Protection to the base gas so as to equip it with capabilities that can clean the engine of your car and reduce its emissions.


As soon as it is distributed to different petrol companies including the off-brands, they would pour in their own additives to the gas to further heighten up its cleaning capabilities and performance.

The key difference there is that major brands put in more additives to the base gas then claim that they have some secret ingredients that could boost the power of a car’s engine. It is just basically an extra shot of their additive packages that they claim could provide an additional level of protection and cleaning abilities for your engine.

You might ask: does the extra shot of additives, which has definitely jacked up the price of the petrol, really necessary? Also, will the cheap petrol soon destroy my engine?

We cant stress this enough. Cheap petrol wont mess up your engine. The real difference between premium and cheap petrol is only the amount of additives being added in the gas. More additives means more protection but keep in mind that it would cost you more.

There are oil companies and automakers that believe that the amount of additives that the government requires is not enough to protect the car’s engine which is why they have their own designation for Top Tier gasoline. They could be looking out for the cars of their consumers but it could also be just a lame attempt to rip you off your money. No matter what their purpose is, there is no doubt that premium fuel provides better protection for your car.

What we recommend you to do is to look at your car owner’s manual. Look for what fuel your carmaker recommends and as much as possible stick to the guideline. If you are still concerned with the quality of gasolines, you might as well ask your local oil company whether they have performed independent tests in order to substantiate their claims.


Gasoline: Selling the “Secret Sauce”

A lot of major oil companies allocate a huge chunk of their budget just to convince consumers that their petrol is superior than everybody else’s. They do this by creating TV ads that usually feature a smiling cartoon car, sooty engine valves and lab-coated nerds. Take for instance the nitrogen-enriched fuel of Shell Oil Company. They claim that it wont allow any “gunk” to build up on your engine. Is this just a cunning marketing ploy? One can only guess.

The American Petroleum Institute is known to provide background comments regarding fuel additives. They have promised that they would send a representative for an interview but the API spokesperson never called back.

Southwest Research Institute, an independent and non-profit testing facility in San Antonio, also declined to provide any comment regarding the quality of gasolines.

So, should you be splurging on premium gasoline?

There is a common notion that if one splurges on petrol, they are getting premium benefits. Others splurge as a way of rewarding their trusted four wheeled companion.

“Unless your carmaker indicated so, you would just be paying extra for basically nothing with premium gasoline,“ according to a chemical engineering professor of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, William Green.


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