PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With the price at the pump, who can blame you for looking at that cheaper fuel button?
So is there a cheaper substitute to save some money and is there any harm?
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Your vehicle can probably burn other fuels, but be careful.
The price of gasoline at any pump can vary widely from $5/gallon to $3.50.
“The closer you can stay to the recommended octane rating, the better,” said automotive expert Jack Saunders.
He said to take the cheapest gas, E85.
“Corn ethanol fuel that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, so the only time you want us is if you’re driving a flex-fuel vehicle,” he explained.
If you try to burn it in a regular engine, it will burn faster and you’ll use more of it, and according to Saunders, this could damage the engine in the long run.
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Going from premium unleaded to regular unleaded will hurt engine performance, but if you’re just looking to save a few bucks, “if you alternate tanks, you probably won’t notice a problem,” Saunders says.
So that means alternate, don’t change completely.
“No more than a 50-50 mix, you know, premium fill then regular fill, and alternate that way,” Saunders said.
He said that aside from the quality of gasoline, most modern cars have a gas pump in the gas tank.
“You’re more likely to get oxygen sucked into the pump, instead of gas, and that will usually kill the pump,” he said. “It could definitely cause it to overheat, which could damage the fuel pump.”
According to Saunders, the idea of running less than premium gasoline in your car, using mid-grade gasoline could work for a few tanks and then switch back to premium — essentially a 2-for-1 mixture.
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And while 88 Unleaded is cheaper than regular Unleaded, that’s because it contains more ethanol – 15% instead of 10%. Although cheaper, you will need to burn a bit more to travel the same distance as regular unleaded.