It might’ve come as a surprise to you the first time you fueled up your new Acura. When you open the fuel door, there’s a label just inside that says “Premium Fuel Recommended”. One thing you know for sure is that premium gas is more expensive. You’ve also heard that it might not be necessary. Why does Acura need premium gas in their cars, and is it truly that important?
What is Premium Fuel Anyway?
At the pump, there’s a number associated with each grade of fuel. Regular grade is usually 87 while mid-grade is 88 to 90, and premium gas is 91 to 94. That number is its octane rating.
Octane is a stabilizer in gasoline. It prevents fuel from igniting prematurely due to high heat and compression. The higher the octane rating, the more stable the fuel is.
Why Does Acura Need Premium Gas?
For most cars, regular-grade gasoline is totally fine to use for everyday driving. But with an Acura, where performance is part of the driving experience, premium fuel is recommended. Acura cars and SUVs are designed to get the best performance possible. With many now incorporating turbochargers, higher compression, and variable timing, regular-grade gas can cause pinging.
Pinging, or spark knock, happens when fuel detonates before the spark plug ignites the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder. It can rob your engine of performance and, in the long run, can cause engine damage.
The Difference Between Recommended and Required
Why does Acura need premium gas? Most Acura models will run on regular gasoline if you choose to go that route. It saves about 10 percent in fuel costs, although that’s slightly offset by a minimal drop in fuel economy.
For most Acura models, it is recommended to use premium gas for the best performance, fuel economy, and engine life. Don’t worry if you have to use regular or mid-grade once in a while, though. Your car will be just fine.
However, for one model, premium gas is not a recommendation. On the Acura NSX, you MUST use premium fuel at all times. Its high-compression twin-turbocharged engine is designed to run solely on the high-octane fuel.