High-Octane gas: the risks vs. the rewards

By Tracy Clemons – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA)- As gas prices continue to climb, many drivers with cars that require high-octane gasoline may be wondering if it's ok to cut corners and use lower-grade fuel. Some drivers say it's alright. But the mechanics we talked to say they should think again.

"I'm supposed to be using unleaded plus, but the gas prices are so high, I'm just using regular unleaded right now," says Chris Francis.

Like drivers everywhere trying to save some cash, Francis uses a lower grade of gas than what's recommended for his car.

Ebony Price is a bit more cautious.

"Maintenance on the car is already expensive, and I really don't want to pay for any extra maintenance for me not using what they recommend," she says.

Micah Rogiers, with Orr Cadillac, tells us it can cause engine damage, like a detonation issue.

"Mainly when you most notice that is when you're cruising down the highway, 50-60 miles an hour, and you'll hear a pinging noise or a rattling noise coming from the engine," says Matt Chandler with Pines Road Exxon.

He tells KSLA News 12 that using lower-grade gas for an extended time can cause the engine to run lean-"Running lean can cause damage to the spark plugs, to the valves, even the pistons."

Micah Rogiers adds going against the owner's manual could become even more expensive.

"The manufacturer can actually decline your warranty on your vehicle if they find that to be the case."

Matt Chandler cautions that the risk is not worth the reward.

"Not only are they taking a chance at doing harm to the engine, but it's not going to get the fuel mileage that it's calibrated for because it has the wrong fuel in it."

We asked if it's ever ok to use a lower-grade gas than what's recommended.

"It's ok in emergency situations. Outside of that, I wouldn't say it's ok at all," Rogiers says.

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