Facts About Fuel

Fuel Facts

One of the most expensive parts of car ownership is gasoline. Canada is one of the highest spenders of income on gas. It's estimated that Canadians spend almost 3% of their income on gasoline every year. Good enough for sixth in the world. Having to sit in traffic on the DVP and QEW doesn't exactly help either. Obviously, that's based on your commute, what kind of vehicle you drive and your driving habits (Yes, driving habits make a difference. Just ask the Mythbusters). The point I'm making is that we spend a lot on gas. So shouldn't you be a little more educated on what exactly you're paying for? (Spoiler alert: Yes)

Difference Between Leaded and Unleaded Fuel

Unleaded is the most common type of fuel that we see in Canada today. But what exactly does "Unleaded" mean? Well as obvious as it may sound, unleaded gas doesn't contain lead. As engines became more advanced, people discovered that adding lead to fuel eased how an engine ignited. However, the drawback of this was that doing this burned lead and released it into the atmosphere which ended up affecting the health of people. Therefore the fuel companies worked to create a fuel that did not contain lead. Thusly, unleaded gasoline came into creation.

What Is An Octane Rating?

Usually, when you're filling up at a gas pump, you're given a few options. In the GTA it's mostly three options; 87, 89 and 91. Occasionally you'll even see a 93 or 95. But what do these numbers mean? Octane rating is how well a fuel resists "knocking" or "pinging" upon combustion. The higher rating fuels resist the knocking much better than the low rated fuels.

So Higher Octane Is Better?

Not necessarily. You should always refer to your owner's manual to see what octane level is best for your vehicle. While higher octane gasoline MIGHT increase fuel efficiency and performance, the huge price difference is probably not worth it.

Alright, Low Octane It Is

Well, hold your horses. If you have a high-performance vehicle, higher octane fuels are recommended. Again, read your manual. Using a lower octane than your car needs can damage your engine.

Why Does My Gasoline Contain Ethanol?

You often see disclaimers on gas pumps in Toronto saying something like "Contains 10% Ethanol". This increases the octane rating in fuel. Ethanol has an octane rating of about 109, so many companies blend ethanol with their gasoline to increase the rating.

What Can I Do To Spend Less On Gas?

There are some pretty easy things you can do to increase your fuel economy. As stated above, changing your driving habits a bit can make a big difference. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, as this will help increase fuel efficiency. Use cruise control when you're in steady traffic as consistent speed will help save gas. Remove any unnecessary weight from in your car, as the lighter your vehicle is, the less gas it uses (and no, this doesn't mean leaving your mother-in-law at home).

Buy A Hybrid

Hybrids are pretty common nowadays and are quite affordable. Hybrids work by partnering an electric drive motor with your gas engine. Starting your car, idling at intersections and even accelerations are all powered by the electric engine resulting in less fuel use and zero emissions. So they're fuel efficient and good for the environment. Win-win.

At Weins, we sell many hybrid vehicles. In fact, Toyota is the market leader regarding selling hybrid vehicles. The Toyota Prius is the highest selling hybrid with over 6 million sold.

In Conclusion

What did we learn here today? We learned about unleaded gas, what octane ratings are, and how to save money on fuel. So next time you're driving to the Dixie Outlet Mall for a new pair of shoes and that annoying fuel light comes on, reflect back on this and try to save money on your gas instead of your footwear.