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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Volvo, the same car manufacture where nearly all the gasoline engines are required or recommended to be operated on premium gasoline and not regular 87 octane gasoline. Seems Volvo has some backward thinking here, when Honda has their 1.5 turbo making 190 HP on 87 octane.

To me a gasoline engine is a fail if it can not operate on regular 87 octane gas available anywhere. One of the reasons we purchased a 2016 Volt and traded in our 2014 Volt, as the 2014 Volt 1.4 engine has a required premium gas use only, even though we used 87 octane and never had any issues or noticed any difference over premium gas. Our 2016 Volt runs great on 87 octane and for the last 230 gas miles averaged over 52 mpg just on gas.
All modern engines will run just fine on 87 octane, as electronics retard the timing as necessary to account for whatever the octane is. For a company like Volvo it's as much marketing as anything else to "recommend" higher octane. There are a few high performance engines out there that really require 91+ octane, but I know I can't afford any of them. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Not really. When the ECU retards timing to protect the engine on 87 octane it throws away up to 10% of the efficiency of the engine. I don't call this running fine.
That actually is fine. Obviously the higher octane gas will run more efficiently. Even a car advertised to run on 87 octane will run more efficiently on 91, and get better mpg. But it doesn't require it. By the same token any modern mass market Volvo, MB, or BMW will run just fine on 87 octane, with no ill engine effects, although producing less power and less mpg.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
And more tailpipe emissions. In the US, the EPA uses a special 0% ethanol 91 octane gas blend when running the dynometer tests for fuel economy and emissions numbers. Until this changes 87 octane in an engine designed for 91 octane will have the above noted impacts - less power, less mpg, and more emissions. And yes, depending on the car you can feel the difference.
No argument with you there. But in the old day, the wrong octane would cause your engine to knock and be potentially damaging. Those days are gone.
 
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