A gas pump going into a car

Is Cheap Gas Bad for Your Car?

Milad Hassibi March 9, 2019


One of the things that hurts American’s wallets the most is gas prices. Consumers will never know what gas prices tomorrow holds, and often times, many look for the cheapest gas that they can get. There are many opinions about cheap gas that simply are not true.

Here, we break down whether cheap gas is actually bad for your car or not.

Cheap vs. Expensive Gas

The first thing that consumers should take a moment to understand is how the price of gasoline is determined. When crude oil is pumped out of the ground, it goes through a refinery which processes the raw crude oil into various products including: asphalt, jet fuel, diesel fuel, and gasoline.

Gas prices with a woman pumping gas into her car

In order to be able to legally sell their vehicle grade gasoline, all gas companies are required to meet certain minimum federal requirements when it comes to vehicle fuel detergents and additives. These additives are often mandated by the EPA and aim to clean a car’s motor while reducing emissions.

Some companies may decide to add additional cleaners and additives to their fuel in order to charge a higher price. However, consumers should note that all gasoline sold in the United States has to meet certain guidelines set by the EPA when it comes to cleaning power for your motor. All car manufacturers who sell cars in the United States build their vehicles to meet the minimum fuel standards of the EPA.

Cheap Gas in Older Cars

Older model vehicles are not as likely to be impacted by the use of cheaper fuel. Most vehicles have computer systems that can tell the quality of the fuel and make adjustments as necessary. Engine management systems are able to work with this fuel as long as it meets all federal minimum standards.

Cheap Gas in Newer Cars

Cheap gas can actually have some impact on a newer vehicle. For instance, in many newer vehicles, the gasoline is injected right into the combustion chamber of the engine at extremely high pressure. More modern engines can be sensitive to additives, meaning that it may be recommended to use top tier gasoline instead of a cheaper alternative.

Final Note

All in all, using a cheaper fuel alternative will have no immediate impact on your engine. However, be certain to keep up with all other aspects of automotive maintenance to ensure a long life for your vehicle.

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