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Limo Service Operator Tips: Use the Gasoline Octane Levels Specified by the Manufacturer

The Ultimate in Safety, Service and Satisfaction

Most people pull up to the gas pump and give very little thought to the type of fuel being put into their vehicle. To them, as long as unleaded is chosen, everything will be fine. However, choosing the right type of fuel is actually a little more complicated than that.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Instructions

Every vehicle that comes off the assembly line is designed to accept a specific type of fuel for optimal performance. Therefore, it is important to use the recommended gasoline octane. As a premium type of fuel, most people think there is something extraordinarily special about premium gas, perhaps more power or improved performance, but in reality, premium octane gasoline does not produce any more power than regular fuel.

However, there are some distinct differences between high octane and regular gas:

  • The exact blend of hydrocarbons used to develop each type of fuel is unique.
  • The package of additives added in varies for high octane versus regular gas.
  • The blend of premium fuel depends on where the crude came from, type of equipment used in the refinery, and the grade produced.

Ethanol is a primary additive stirred into the mix. Typically, this is something done to increase octane rating. A rating on the high end allows an engine to use a 12-to-1 ratio as opposed to the standard 10-to-1. Overall, vehicles with high compression engines are built for performance and for that reason owners need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best octane level.

Potential Risks

If you have a high-performance vehicle, it is essential that you use the right octane fuel as indicated by the manufacturer. In a newer vehicle, using regular fuel could compromise performance. However, the electronic fuel management system will make any necessary adjustments to the ignition timing and fuel injection. If the vehicle is older, there is a risk of the engine being destroyed.

Remember, different fuels are designed to burn at different rates. Because of this, spark plugs have to ignite at the right time during the ignition stroke. If not, all of the fuel will fail to burn prior to the valves opening up. With that, a backfire is possible or the engine might try to turn in the wrong direction, which could lead to an explosion.


In the United States, the official AKI, which is the Anti-Knock Index, is 91. If your vehicle requires 91 octane fuel, but you use something less, the engine will start to knock. At first, the knocking is nothing more than an annoyance, but if not corrected, the engine will disintegrate.

This happens because once the mixture of air and fuel within the cylinder starts to deteriorate, prior to reaching the top of the compression stroke, a wall of quick-expanding gases from the explosion are confronted from the rising piston. This tries to force the piston down the cylinder, causing stress based on the sudden reversal of the rotation of the engine. In many cases, the stress is so great that pistons shatter, along with parts of the crankshaft and connecting rods.

This is why limousine companies have to be so careful in the type of fuel used. For one thing, it is important to provide all passengers with a smooth but also safe ride, but in addition, the wrong fuel could easily damage very expensive fleet.

Regardless of the octane required for your automobile, it is important to locate a gas station with that particular type of fuel. By doing so, the engine will run better, you will get better gas mileage, and, ultimately, the engine will last longer. If you are unsure as to the right octane level, you can contact the manufacturer or a reputable car dealership for information.

Posted on Jul 29 2015

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