Premium Fuel vs. Regular

November 7th, 2018 by

Hand Holding Fuel Pump

While any Chicago Ferrari driver should know not to pump regular gasoline into the tank of a Portofino or GTC4Lusso — those hand-assembled engines require proper care — the reasoning behind it may seem a little counterintuitive.

What’s the Difference?

The idea that premium fuel costs more because it’s better than regular is not quite wrong, but it’s not quite right, either.

  • Regular gasoline actually combusts easier than premium.
  • A lower octane rating indicates that a fuel is more likely to combust through compression alone (called pre-ignition).
  • Higher octane fuels are less likely to pre-ignite.

If all that mattered was starting the combustion reaction and producing energy, pre-ignition wouldn’t be much of an issue. In fact, the typical family sedan is able to use low-octane fuels specifically because technology has been developed to mitigate pre-ignition — at the cost of performance capabilities. Precision automobiles require precision in every aspect, however, and there is not a way to build a Ferrari that is truly a Ferrari if it is designed to run on unpredictable fuels.

If pre-ignition doesn’t sound familiar to you, you may have heard it by its other name: knocking.

What is Knocking, and Why is it a Problem?

Once a problem the everyday driver needed to be aware of, more and more vehicles have been engineered to mitigate the risk of pre-ignition, and young drivers may have never needed to worry about it. While “pre-ignition” describes what’s happening, “knocking” describes how a driver can tell that their vehicle is having pre-ignition issues — unpredictable combustion sounds like knocking coming from under the hood.

It might sound like this is just a mild inconvenience, but each pre-ignition is an explosion in the engine that can send shockwaves through the most expensive part of a vehicle, risking significant damage. This is why a driver should always use the fuel recommended in their owner’s manual.

Ethanol vs. Non-Ethanol Gas

Octane rating is just one part of the math behind your fuel. Few fueling stations use pure gasoline anymore, with many featuring fuel that is 10% (or more) ethanol. Much like the lower octane rating fuel, gasoline with ethanol in it might be fine for a family sedan, but it is not recommended for a Ferrari. Save yourself some time and find a non-ethanol gas station near you instead of pulling up to the pump and hoping.

Questions About Ferrari Fuel?

If you have any questions about the fuel for your Ferrari, don’t hesitate to reach out to our service department. Contact Ferrari Lake Forest today to learn more about properly caring for your Ferrari.

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