Premium vs. Regular fuel - 10th Gen Civic Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-14-2017, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Premium vs. Regular fuel

I have a 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring. I know it's recommended to use premium fuel because of the turbo and that's what I use but I was wondering what the negative effects of using regular fuel would have since it's only recommended and not required.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 12:03 AM
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Not an expert on this, but the type of fuel has to do with an engine's compression ratio and it's susceptible to pre-ignition when the wrong type of fuel is used.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 12:11 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 4Tires View Post
Not an expert on this, but the type of fuel has to do with an engine's compression ratio and it's susceptible to pre-ignition when the wrong type of fuel is used.
I read on another thread that cars with a compression ratio in the neighborhood of 8:1 can use regular fuel but I believe my car is 10.6:1. I'm not sure what "in the neighborhood" means exactly though. I'm assuming I should use premium to avoid any pre-ignition.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:23 AM
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Fuel is rated by its octane number, which is its ability to resist detonation. The octane rating, or octane number, is a standard measure of the performance of an engine or aviation fuel. The higher the octane number, the more compression the fuel can withstand before detonating (igniting). In broad terms, fuels with a higher octane rating are used in high performance gasoline engines that require higher compression ratios. More specifically, in a normal spark-ignition engine, the air-fuel mixture is heated due to being compressed and is then triggered to burn rapidly by the spark plug. If it is heated (or compressed) too much, it will self-ignite before the ignition system sparks. This causes much higher pressures than engine components are designed for, and can cause a "knocking" or "pinging" sound. Knocking can cause major engine damage if severe.

The most typically used engine management systems found in automobiles today have a knock sensor that monitors if knock is being produced by the fuel being used. In modern computer-controlled engines, the ignition timing will be automatically altered by the engine management system to reduce the knock to an acceptable level. In these cases engine efficiency is reduced, power output is lessened, and carbon deposits may accumulate due to the fuel not being burned completely in an effort to prevent detonation.

With a compression ratio of 10.6:1 in these cars I'd agree with using a fuel with an octane rating of 91 (AKI, or (R+M)/2) or more. Octane ratings are calculated differently in various parts of the world and it is wise to understand the difference between RON and MON (Research Octane Number and Motor Octane Number). In the United States, octane rating is achieved by taking the average value of BOTH the RON and MON values.

What does this mean to us? Can we run "regular" (87 octane) unleaded in our cars? Yes, and more or less without damage, although you will find that you have better economy and better performance using a fuel with an octane rating of >89. I've personally found that the price difference between 87 and 91 octane to be about $0.30 per gallon, which means it's about $3.00 more per tank to use the "correct" fuel. If you do a little research you might find that some of the larger fuel stations offer a discount for using premium fuel if you join their rewards program (here in Minnesota the SuperAmerica brand offers a $0.10 discount to rewards members ONLY on premium fuel; SuperAmerica is also Speedway in other markets and may offer something similar).
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Last edited by barenaked; 05-17-2017 at 07:24 AM. Reason: misspelling!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 05:26 PM
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Bang on with the above post, and to add, if you want to run regular vs premium that $3.00 savings will be mostly loss with less miles traveled per tank, not to mention loosing the fun factor.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, that information is really helpful. I'll continue using premium fuel.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-15-2017, 09:15 PM
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thats why i always get premium even if i have the lx version
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 07:22 AM
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As an interesting side note to this: Honda recommends "regular" (87 Octane) unleaded fuel for the Civic, and has for years. Prior to my 2017 Hatch I had a 2007 EX Coupe with the 1.8L (R18A1) engine coupled to a 5-speed. 10.5:1 compression and 140 hp, but the specification from Honda was 87. Interestingly, my wife drives a 2013 Acura ILX which is directly based on the 9th Gen Civic; this car has the 2.0L (R20A1) engine coupled to the silky 5-speed automatic (one of the finest automatics I've ever driven, by the way). Also 10.5:1 compression and 150 hp, and the specification from Honda (well, technically from Acura) is "premium" unleaded of 91 Octane or greater. Basically the same motor in both cars, nearly identical architecture and output specification, yet one calls for regular fuel while the other calls for premium.

It's just my opinion, but your money isn't wasted by using the premium fuel. Even if you can't discern a performance difference (although I assure you that I could with the 2007 Civic, especially over 4,000 rpm), it's simply the right thing to do based on the engine specifications.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 08:08 AM
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a turbo engine will always be a turbo engine...........
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2017, 02:49 PM
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I'm just happy this thread didn't turn into a war like it typically does lmao
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