It is common knowledge that cars need gas for efficient performance. Surprisingly, unknown to people is the reality that different cars use different types or grades of gas.
Gas is graded by the level of octane it contains, the higher the octane level, the better the quality of the gas.
To this end, this article is aimed at exploring, explaining, and answering the question, of whether European cars use special gas.
First, you may want to know the ways that European cars are different.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether European Cars Use Special Gas:
It is common knowledge that most European cars are crafted for high performance. These high-performance cars need premium-rated gas to produce optimum output and attain the best level of functioning.
In respect of this, it is safe to answer the above question with the affirmation that European cars indeed use special gas.
Why Do Some European Cars Require High-Octane Gas?
You may have been wondering why some European cars require high-octane gas to run.
The simple reason is this; European cars that require high-octane gas to function are equipped with high-compression engines that are designed for better performance and also greater horsepower.
Many European car makers produce premium cars with powerful engines that have a high compression rate.
Therefore, gasoline with a higher concentration of octane is best suited for such high-performance engines to achieve maximum gratification.
Aside from the fact that high-octane gas is a requirement for better performance and greater horsepower in some European cars, high-octane gas also helps safeguard the cars’ engines from issues like engine knocking or engine pinging.
A decrease in fuel economy is also curbed by the use of high-octane gas.
Furthermore, some European cars come equipped with sensors in their engines that are primarily designed to accurately time the firing of the cylinders in the engine.
And since the high-performance engines are designed to run on gas with a higher rating of octane, hence, premium gas is required. Gas with less octane concentration in this case has the capability to cause the pistons to fire too quickly causing serious or severe damage to the car’s engine.
It is pertinent to note that using a low-rated octane gas may cause a number of concerns for the vehicle’s overall well-being. They include but are not limited to; decreased engine performance, increased fuel consumption, and loud engine knocking sound.
What Octane Is European Gas?
Now that we have established the reason why some European cars need high-octane gas, in this section, we will be exploring the octane rating of European gas.
To understand the octane rating and how it works, it is pivotal to come to terms with the different methods used in determining the octane level in gas and what the accompanying abbreviation means.
The most prevalent method of measuring octane rating is the Research Octane Number (RON).
The RON method of determining octane level in gas is by running the gas in a test engine that has a variable compression ratio under reserved conditions.
The second method of measuring octane rating is known as Motor Octane Number (MON). This method uses 900 rpm engine speed to determine the octane rating in gas instead of the 600 rpm used in deciding the octane rating for RON.
The MON of modern pump gasoline will be about 8 to 12 lower than the RON depending on the composition of the fuel.
The third method of measuring octane rating in gas is the Anti-Knock Index (AKI). Using this procedure, the octane rating is determined by the mean or average of the already determined octane ratings of the RON and MON.
As we know by now, octane rating varies according to the region in question. In Europe, the method of measuring octane rating is usually the RON.
Most European countries have the 95 RON octane rating on their gas pumps. This backs the fact that most European cars need premium gas to perform at the highest capacity.
We also have a guide here to the best gas types in U.S.
What Gas Does the U.K. Use?
As stated earlier, most European nations use gas with the 95 RON octane rating. However, we want to go a little bit further to specifically inform you about the type of gas that is used in the U.K.
In the U.K., what is known and referred to as standard gas has an octane rating of 95 RON. This is so mainly because most European cars are designed to run on this standard of gas.
However, for those with big wallets who can afford luxury high-performing cars, there’s the availability of premium or super unleaded gas that has a higher octane rating of 97 to sometimes 98 RON.
Some specific gas stations in the U.K. also offer gas that has a 99 RON octane rating, this is unarguably the highest octane rating that one can get in the United Kingdom.
Is European Gas for Cars Better Than U.S. Gas?
This is a question that has left many people in a state of perplexity and puzzlement seeing that European gas usually has a seemingly higher octane rating than gas in the U.S.
What most of them fail to understand is that the methods of measuring the octane rating in the gas are different according to region. That simply means, the octane rating in European gas could have a higher octane rating number but is in essence the same with U.S gas with a lower octane rating number.
This is so because Europe and the U.S. have varying methods of measuring octane rating in gas. In Europe, octane rating is measured using the Research Octane Number (RON).
On the other side of the coin, the U.S. employs the Anti-Knock Index (AKI) measuring method to determine the octane rating in gas.
The 8 to 12 octane number difference in the RON and MON makes the AKI shown on U.S gas pumps 4 to 6 octane numbers lower than that of Europe. This does not mean that U.S. gas is in any way substandard in comparison with European gas.
In fact, where the European octane rating number is higher, it is usually more or less the same as the lower U.S octane rating number.
Hence, European gas with a high octane rating is parallel to U.S. gas with a lower octane rating number because of their respective methods of measuring octane rating in the same gas.
Consequently, when you see the European gas octane rating of 95, know that it is the equivalent of the U.S. gas octane rating of 91.
The same goes for the European premium gas octane rating of 98 is the same as the U.S. premium gas octane rating of 93. It’s just the different methods of measurement that distinguish the numbers of the same product.
So the answer to the question above, whether European gas is better than U.S. gas, is an outright no.
European gas is in no way and by no means better than gas found in the U.S., as European gas and U.S. gas both have regular and premium gas available at the pumps.
Can European-Made Cars Use Regular U.S. Gas?
To answer this question, it is imperative to be aware that not all European cars require premium gas to perform optimally as we have been led contrarily to believe.
All modern cars, whether European or American, come with the required type of gas that the cars need to operate.
Therefore, whether the car in question is European or American, the type of gas it requires to run efficiently is displayed on the gas lid or the car’s user manual.
For this reason, if what is indicated on the gas lid or user manual of a European car is regular gas, then it means that regular gas from any other part of the world should do the job as well.
However, if the gas lid or user manual indicates that premium gas is the requirement for optimum performance, then premium gas from just about anywhere should be capable of meeting the requirements and doing the job nicely.
So, with the explanation above, it is apparent that European cars that have a requirement for regular gas can use regular U.S. gas to power their cars.
Also, if the European car necessitates the use of premium gas, it is recommended and advisable to go with the required type of gas.
In conclusion, if European-made cars are designed to use regular gas, then it is normal to use U.S regular gas to run the cars.
Alternately, if European-made cars demand premium gas to run efficiently, it is only sensible to employ premium gas-including American premium gas.
Does It Really Matter if You Use Regular or Premium Gas?
In understanding whether it matters if you use regular or premium gas for your car, you need to be abreast with how the difference in octane rating affects your car’s engine.
Regular gas has a lower octane rating compared to premium gas which has a higher octane rating number. Gas that has a higher octane rating can stand up to higher compression before the spark plugs detonate.
Normally, cars with high-compression engines require premium gas with high octane rating because the higher the octane rating, the fewer chances are there for premature detonation by the spark plugs.
Cars with high-performance engines specifically require premium-grade gas to efficiently and smoothly run.
Automakers always maintain that cars with high-performance engines stand to gain more from premium gas with high octane rating.
It is a grave error to use regular-grade gas for a car that requires premium-grade gas to best perform.
While the damage this does may not be instantaneous, it gradually decreases the car’s engine power, and ultimately will take you on frequent visits to the mechanic’s workshop. The worst outcome could be a final stall or breakdown of the car’s engine.
Looking on the bright side, it is beneficial to sometimes use premium gas for cars that demand regular gas.
Do not get too excited as this will not enhance additional performance for your car’s engine. Instead, it serves to clean fuel injectors and expel carbon from the engine.
This is so because most premium-rated gas also comprises additives and detergents that clean the engine.
Therefore, using the manufacturer’s required and recommended gas grade is advisable to achieve maximum performance.