Can I fill in a lower score if the car recommends a premium?

CHARLOTTE, NC – With the price of gas at record levels, people are doing what they can to cut corners to save money when filling up.

the question:

Could you top up less if your car manufacturer recommended a premium?

Our sources:

the answer:

Yes, you can fill up at a lower rate if your car recommends an additional fee. However, you should not skimp if your vehicle requires it.

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What we found:

Wright tells us that with summer travel in the future, we can continue to see these high gas prices for a while.

“We’re going to see demand rise, crude oil prices have already gone up, and these are all factors that are driving prices higher,” Wright said.

One way to save money is to buy a lower grade of fuel, like regular, but will it hurt your engine if your car recommends a surcharge?

Related: Does Using Eco Mode in Your Car Guarantee You Save Money on Gas?

“If your car recommends premium fuel, you won’t hurt it by using unleaded fuel,” Wright said.

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“As long as your car recommends it or doesn’t say anything at all, it’s OK to use a lower grade,” Underkofler added.

Undercoffler said that with most newer models, the engine is designed to accommodate any octane level.

“Modern cars have computers that can detect that this is 87 octane gas,” Underkofler said. “Back in the day, it wasn’t gas, but your engine today will recognize it and adjust the engine accordingly.”

This works even if it is recommended to use a premium in your vehicle. However, if your car requires a premium, that’s different. Both Wright and Undercover tell us that you should stick with the expensive stuff.

RELATED: Drivers bemoan high gasoline prices with no relief in sight

“If you don’t and go with that low fuel level, you could have some engine problems down the road,” Wright said.

So how do you know what fuel you’re supposed to be using? Usually, you can find this information on the gas cap or inside the gas door. You can also head over to, type in your make and model and click the Specifications tab, where it will show you the type of fuel and whether it’s only required or recommended.

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