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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-23-2008, 01:51 PM   #1
BB BMW
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GAS: Premium vs Midgrade VS Regular

Has anyone calculated their gas milage based on the fuel grade of gas?

Does Premium give better milage than the mid and regular grades?

I know we should use premium, but is there a noticable milage difference?
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:55 PM   #2
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are you thinking about moving down to Regular/Midgrade because of high gas prices?

If so, it's like $4 extra per tank
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Old 04-23-2008, 01:58 PM   #3
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If so, it's like $4 extra per tank
If you are thinking of downgrading to save money, rather skip a few lattes. Haven't tried putting 87 in my car and never will
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:04 PM   #4
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Always use at least 91, I admit to having never tried running on gas below that octane but I have heard about issues, not just mpg decreases but engine damage based off of bad fuel, also I run 92 vs. 91 on a regular basis and I do notice a difference, I tested this heavily when my girlfriend was living about 60 miles away from me. Since I lived right off the freeway almost all the trip to see her was highway speeds of 65-75, at night, with little other traffic, I noticed that it only took about a 1/4 tank to get down and back when I would use 92, if I switched to 91 it would take almost 1/3, so 5 gallons round trip versus 4. So if you extrapolate that out thats 30mpg with 92 and 24mpg with 91.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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I should have calculated the difference when I pumped 87 Costco gas into my 335i loaner. Should be getting another one about next week during my Inspection II. I'll subscribe and let you know
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:13 PM   #6
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Octane has nothing to do with mileage. Its about resistance to detionation. So you might save a few bucks but u will notice pinging and knocking underload. That will destroy ur engine... Just dont do it.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:17 PM   #7
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Not true. If the motor pings and knocks to the point of destruction, your ignition system isn't doing it's job.

If you run 87, you will decrease power, and ruin your milage... Your motor will be okay, but you will not like it.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:23 PM   #8
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This topic has been beaten to death in other threads here. Basically, if you use less than 91 octane, under load, the knock sensors will inform the computer and the computer will make the appropriate adjustments to protect your engine at the exspense of hp. So don't worry about damaging your engine.

With premium, you may get better mileage depending on how you drive.

I use mid-grade and also over inflate my tires in order to get a couple more MGP's (Yes, I understand that overinflation can reduce cornering grip and can lead to uneven tire wear).

But when I autocross this weekend, I'll put in 93 and change the tire pressure.


Here you go.

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Old 04-23-2008, 02:23 PM   #9
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:28 PM   #10
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I think I remember someone mentioning that if you put about 5-6 sugar cubes into you gas tank, you will get a significant increase in hp.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:30 PM   #11
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totally not worth the long term ramifications
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:30 PM   #12
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The motor won't knock or ping, the 330i is not a high compression engine. 87 octane has more energy in it than 89 or 91 so it won't affect MPG either. There is a ton of misinformation out there on this subject. I, and many other members, run 87 exclusively and ,not only does the car run perfect, but it won't affect HP either!

Here is some actual scientific testing on the subject (the 330 has the same compression ratio as the Accord in the test.) The M3 does have a high compression engine (11.5:1) so premium gas makes a difference.
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Old 04-23-2008, 02:57 PM   #13
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i have ran 89 octane religiously since i obtained my vehicle and never once has there been any issues with a ping or knock. i get nearly 510 miles out of every tank aswell. so 89 has my endorsement.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:03 PM   #14
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The motor won't knock or ping, the 330i is not a high compression engine. 87 octane has more energy in it than 89 or 91 so it won't affect MPG either. There is a ton of misinformation out there on this subject. I, and many other members, run 87 exclusively and ,not only does the car run perfect, but it won't affect HP either!

Here is some actual scientific testing on the subject (the 330 has the same compression ratio as the Accord in the test.) The M3 does have a high compression engine (11.5:1) so premium gas makes a difference.
The article you linked to says to run the octane the manufacturer's recommend. My manual says minimum 91 octane. By the way it's not just compression that is a factor in determining what octane to run. Also how much the timing is advanced. If you retard the timing to keep it from knocking , you lose performance. It does affect hp if you run lower octane gas than recommended. It has to. When you retard timing, you lose hp. Have you ever manually timed a car with a distributer cap? That's how I used to time my old CJ5. See if it knocked under load and if it did turn the distributer cap until it stopped. I kept the timing as far advanced as I could in the interest of power. Now computers do it for you.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:23 PM   #15
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run what the engine is designed for. My car 93 - my wife's jeep 87. Why wouldn't you run what the engine is designed to use? A few bucks a tank isn't worth it in my book. If the engine ran at peak performance with 87 then they would tell you to use it - its not like they are getting incentives for listing 93
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:39 PM   #16
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The article you linked to says to run the octane the manufacturer's recommend. My manual says minimum 91 octane. By the way it's not just compression that is a factor in determining what octane to run. Also how much the timing is advanced.
Apparently Toyota, Honda, and GM are wrong when they say their 10:1 compression ratio engines are designed to run on 87 octane. Maybe it's because people think a $40k luxury car is too good to run on "regular" gas? I also don't understand why BMW tells me I have a 1/2 tank of gas remaining after traveling 250 miles. With modern computer controlled ignition systems there is only so much difference timing can make (as evidenced by the Accord in the article.) I would be willing to bet some serious money that an E46 330 would make no more power on a dyno with 91 as it would with 87, any takers?
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:41 PM   #17
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I guess it also depends on how many miles you drive per week, and how often you need to fill up. If there's a 15-cent diff btw 89 and 91, and you pumped 15 gallons, that's $2.25 per tank. I'd say get your coffee at McD's and you'd save that much each day. Or, brew it at home and you can drive on 91 octane until we run out of fuel.

I know that it feels good to think that you're getting a bargain, but be happy that you're not putting 40 gallons every two days into a vehicle that gets 7 MPG. Actually, rejoice in the fact that even your HP Bimmer can be driven in econ mode, with power available at-will. It would suck if it were only a single-mode powerplant.
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:45 PM   #18
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:56 PM   #19
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Apparently Toyota, Honda, and GM are wrong when they say their 10:1 compression ratio engines are designed to run on 87 octane. Maybe it's because people think a $40k luxury car is too good to run on "regular" gas? I also don't understand why BMW tells me I have a 1/2 tank of gas remaining after traveling 250 miles. With modern computer controlled ignition systems there is only so much difference timing can make (as evidenced by the Accord in the article.) I would be willing to bet some serious money that an E46 330 would make no more power on a dyno with 91 as it would with 87, any takers?

so you think as long as the engines have the same compression then they are the same? Do you think it is a marketing ploy to have BMW owners use higher octane gas? My e30 calls for 91 also - and it does run different on 87 -
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Old 04-23-2008, 04:00 PM   #20
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I used reg and switched to premium, drives and accelerates better imo and I think I get better gas mileage, but that might be all subjective.
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