Cars Simplified: What Do Gas Octane Ratings Mean?

By Jacob Brown | January 21, 2013
Did you ever wonder why you had to put 91-octane fuel in your car when the 87-octane stuff is 20 cents cheaper per gallon? Maybe you ignored your car's recommended octane rating altogether, putting in the lower-grade stuff because it was cheaper or the higher-grade formula because you figured you wanted to treat your car right. Do you even know what octane is? Gas stations advertise it all the time, and it's important to know how it works so you can keep your car up and running at its best. But it's a little bit hard to figure out why paying more—or less—will keep your car going better in the long run. In a new video series we're launching called "Cars, Simplified," playing off our tagline, we delve into octane ratings, helping you figure out what the deal is with them. Shortly, we'll be releasing more videos to help you learn about your car and how to operate it safely, economically, and efficiently. Check out our one-and-a-half-minute informational video. You'll be glad you did.