Updated: Jul 2
The short answer is yes. However the context is not so black and white. With the rapid advances constantly being made in automotive technology. We are now able to make internal combustion engines (engines) increasingly more efficient. The two most common ways to do that, is to squeeze every ounce of power and fuel economy out of the engine during development. The way that is achieved is through stringent manufacturing practices ,which consequently yields tighter engine component tolerances. The second method is through changes to the engine's Electronic control module (ECU) also known as the computer. Modern engines utilize both of these practices in tandem.Which is why making sure you use the right gas(fuel) in your engine could prove very important, as I will explain in the next section.
Recommended vs Minimum octane
Have you ever noticed the short message on the inside of your fuel door that states
something to the effect of "Minimum 89 octane unleaded gasoline recommended 91 octane" .It might not be the exact words but you get the point. The reason that sticker is there is because, like I mentioned before.Engines have tighter tolerances and are much more efficient. Without getting too in depth , the octane rating of the fuel is an indicator of the gasoline's Oxygen content. Manufacturers use the octane rating as a guide for measuring the volatility of the fuel. Typically when gasoline has a higher octane rating, that means that the combustion of the the gas will be easier to predict/control which makes higher octane fuel less volatile. Phew! That marks the completion of your brief crash course on octane ratings congratulations! Let's name this course OCTANE 89,see what I did there ;) . To summarize this section,the minimum octane rating is the just that, the Minimum! That is the minimum grade of fuel that you should use in your vehicle to prevent any possible fuel related damage. The recommended octane rating is the optimal fuel rating that needs to be used to ensure optimal engine performance and efficiency. Putting higher octane fuel in your car over the recommended octane rating will NOT damage your engine. It also will NOT clean out your engine. Essentially if you are putting higher octane fuel in your vehicle than it calls for, you are just wasting your money. However if you are filling up your vehicle with lower octane fuel you are essentially playing with fire! Putting a lower octane fuel in your vehicle than the minimum octane stated on your fuel door, won't immediately cause catastrophic damage but over time you will drastically affect your engine's life expectancy in a negative way.
To ensure optimal performance and fuel economy please put the right gasoline in your vehicle.If you have any vehicle specific questions always refer to your owners manual. I hope you enjoyed this brief article on gasoline and engines. Higher octane fuel wasn't very commonly found in vehicles that were made before 2014. Chances are, that your next vehicle might require Premium fuel I hope this article was informative on why automakers do that. As always if you have any questions comments or concerns please feel free to leave them below or reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org God bless you, and have a wonderful day!