21st May 2011, 19:17

I had the opportunity to check out the new 2011 Fiat 500 recently. It was frankly a massive disappointment. Cute, but very tiny and GROSSLY overpriced. A new Ford Fusion is advertised in today's paper for $16,577. The list on the Fiat was over $18,000!! In addition, the tiny Fiat has only 101 horsepower and is still rated at a measly 38 mpg (only 1 mpg more than I get with a loaded I-4 Fusion). To top it off, I was told that although the Fiat is ADVERTISED to run on regular gas it (like all cars) will only perform at its best on premium. Now I see that Ford is selling the new Focus for more than a Mustang GT!! What is it with so-called "economy cars!!"

Oh, and in view of all the discussion on premium versus regular fuel, I talked with two local service managers about the argument that there are no advantages to using premium over regular, and that it could actually hurt the car. After they stopped laughing riotously both assured me that that is an urban myth spread on the internet. Using premium in any engine (even your lawn mower) is better for it and delivers more power. One of them said that the argument that premium is no better is like saying that pouring water on something doesn't make it wetter!!

22nd May 2011, 10:49

To me using premium gas is like spending money on bottled water. It gives you no real advantage, and therefore is just money out the window. Why would there be countless studies on it if it were just talking you out of spending extra money? The last time I checked, most "hype" filled stories talk you into spending more unnecessary money. Whatever, just spend needless money. I don't really care. You're not going to talk me into an extra 30 cents per gallon no matter what information you provide. In fact, even if I thought it was true, I still wouldn't spend extra on gas. It costs more than enough as it is, thanks, and since I have NEVER had any negative issues with any car over the type of gas I put into it, why would I feel the need to suddenly upgrade?

As far as the rest of your comment. Where on Earth do you pay more for a Focus than a Mustang GT? Kinda exaggerating there aren't you? Yes, a Focus gets over $20K pretty easily when loaded up, but you don't have to load one up to such a ridiculous level. If you build it on their site with every last option checked, it comes out less than $28K The Mustang GT starts at $29,300. Keep in mind that was EVERY option, and you'd be crazy to load a Focus up that much. They market them to how people buy them, and you can bet they will sell a lot of them at higher numbers, because people once again spend extra money on needless stuff.

And once again, we have a brand new Fusion for $16K. I have been asking for a dealer name for that car for months. Seems no one wants to let me know where this supposed deal originates. I am sure the fine print is lengthy in order to get a car that invoices in the $19K range for $3K less than that. If it were true, I would pay to have it shipped to me, as it still would beat any deal around here by enough to warrant that. So, let me know where I can get mine please!

23rd May 2011, 12:57

On the Hemi engines 89 octane is recommended for optimum engine performance. You can use 87 as well, but they don't recommend upping it to 93. It says right in their manual that you should not exceed the recommended octane, and the dealer will say the same thing. There is no benefit in using higher octane gas when the engine is designed and tuned to run optimally on a certain octane fuel. Higher octane doesn't always mean better performance. It is all about the timing and how the ignition works. If a service department person tells you otherwise, they don't really know too much.

I have many mechanics in my family, and they all say the same thing. Use the recommended fuel. The computer runs the engine to its most optimum abilities on the recommended fuel. If you change that, the computer adjusts and the engine settles into about the same performance. You really won't see a gain on power or fuel mileage. Race cars are a different story. They aren't even close to the same as your daily driver, and they are tuned also to run on super high octane fuels. Old cars will run better on high octane fuels too. Any daily driver average car with electronic fuel injection and computer controlled ignition won't be enhanced by high octane fuel. 30 cents per gallon is a lot. Why waste it?

I know it feels faster and smoother when you use super unleaded. It is more of a perception than anything else, unless you are driving a car that specifically is designed for added performance with high octane fuels like the newest Mustang 5.0. You know it's in there, you think it makes a difference, but in reality it does little or nothing. I was there once. I made the same mistake, and was really feeling dumb when I finally switched to regular unleaded and was still smoking the tires off the line as hard as I was on 93 octane. And my mileage stayed exactly the same on both grades with two different cars, both of which were fuel injected. I know I probably won't sway anyone though. Like I said, do what you must. I only changed because my brother, who is an awesome mechanic, told me I was an idiot for wasting money on premium gas and I finally switched. He said it wouldn't hurt the engine, but that it wasn't gaining me anything so it was pointless.

23rd May 2011, 18:26

"As far as the rest of your comment. Where on Earth do you pay more for a Focus than a Mustang GT? Kinda exaggerating there aren't you?"

Nope. Not at all. USA Today just tested the new Focus. The upscale hatchbatch model listed out at $28,000 less shipping. You can buy a Mustang GT for that at any dealership in our city.

As for premium fuel, my 4-cylinder sedan will not chirp the tires taking off when fueled with regular. It will smoke them for 10 feet when fueled with premium. Oh, I guess that's just my engine "hallucinating??"

24th May 2011, 19:36

I agree, using a higher octane fuel in a car designed to run on regular fuel has no benefits. My '96 Toyota Corolla gets nothing but regular unleaded 87 octane gasoline (which it was designed to run on), and yet it still gets 45 MPG on the highway (it was only rated for 31).

25th May 2011, 09:08

Unless you want to smoke your tires for 10 feet every day... Yeah, that's what I buy four cylinder cars for!

26th May 2011, 11:41

I believe the point that was missed here was that it requires more power to spin the tires. If a car will NOT spin the tires with regular gas, but will smoke them for 10 feet when burning premium, then there is a very obvious increase in power when burning premium, just as most car reviewers correctly point out. Some cars are even rated as much as 15 horsepower higher if premium fuel is used, even though they are "designed" to run on regular. The average cold-air induction system doesn't increase horsepower that much.