A question I ran across last week at The Farm Press of all places that asked the following, reprinted from Consumer Reports.

>Two cars drive into a service station: a brand new Corvette with a 400-hp V8 engine that’ll go 0-60 mph in a breathtaking 4.3 seconds; the other a new Mini Cooper convertible with a 4-cylinder, 115-hp engine that does 0-60 in a ho-hum 7.1 seconds.

>The $3-plus per gallon question: Which one pulls up to the premium fuel tank?

Of course we all know the answer to the question.

They go on.

>Nonetheless, one wonders: If GM can wring blazing performance out of its 400-hp ‘Vette burning regular gas, why does a smaller, less powerful Mazda Miata specify premium? And if a hulking, weighty 403-hp V8 Cadillac Escalade SUV can run OK on regular gas, why should an equally bulky, heavy 216-hp V6 Land Rover SUV’s specs call for premium?

I have actually tested this in my MINI with both regular unleaded and mid-grade. I have also heard of some R53 owners that have run regular unleaded without any serious performance problems. Not so in an R50 Cooper. On regular (87 octane) unleaded gas, my MINI barely had enough power to enter a highway at the posted limit and going uphill was quite a challenge. And if you ever wondered what it sounds like when a MINI knocks and pings, this is the best way to do it.

So, why do we need to run premium fuel in our cars? Compression ratio. It takes quite a bit of power to move the piston up and down in the cylinder in the most efficient and productive way. The only way to get that power is by using premium fuel.

In most markets, the price difference is about US$.20 per gallon. On a 10 gallon fill-up, that’s a difference of US$2.00. For most of you, that’s about US$4.00 per month or less.

Trust me on this one, skip a latte and put the good stuff in the tank. You, and your MINI, will be glad you did.

[ The premium gas conundrum ] Deltafarmpress.com


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