Difference between Premium fuel and Octane booster

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My friend has an older Mercedes E-class that requires premium fuel. I told him it'll probably be cheaper to fill with Regular and put in an Octane booster. I want to find out if it's safe first.....
 
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Octane booster won't get him from regular to premium, unless he uses a LOT. Lot cheaper to just use premium....
 
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Premium fuel is fully formulated. Regular + octane booster is just a hodgepodge mix.
 
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+1 use the recommended fuel. If your read the can of octane booster you will find that it will take many cans to raise the octane to + prenium fuel
 
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Originally Posted By: Popinski
My friend has an older Mercedes E-class that requires premium fuel. I told him it'll probably be cheaper to fill with Regular and put in an Octane booster.
Is it really cheaper? Around here the price difference between regular and premium is about 22 cents/gallon right now. Assume he fills up about 15 gallons, that's $3.30 difference on a tank. Benefits aside, can you even get an octane booster for this much (enough of it to raise the octane level to where it needs to be)? I'm guessing a typical octane booster bottle will increase your gasoline rating by 0.5 to 1 octane at most, so from 87 you only get up to 88. You would need 3 more bottles to get up to 91.
 
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http://volvospeed.com/Reviews/octane_boosters.html As with almost all of the boosters tested, more than one bottle is needed to raise the octane of an entire tank any significant amount. Based on the amounts needed, boosting 87 octane to 93 is not cost effective over just purchasing premium from the start. To boost to 98 AKI from 93 on most tanks would require over 6 bottles. This level of additive is never recommended. IOWs, stick with the premium.
 
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When reading octane booster labels, remember that 10 octane points = 1 octane number. So if it says it will raise the octane by 5 points, that means it will go from 87 to 87.5, not 92.
 
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Originally Posted By: Popinski
My friend has an older Mercedes E-class that requires premium fuel. I told him it'll probably be cheaper to fill with Regular and put in an Octane booster. I want to find out if it's safe first.....
If that were all there were to it the oil companies would be doing it and not buying wholesale high-test. The cheapest aftermarket octane boost is toluene, you can get it at paint stores and is around 120-130? octane. That would be handy if "someone" filled your tank with 87 and you had to save it without rattling your motor to an early grave. It pays to shop around for high-test, not always the guy with cheapest regular has cheapest super.
 
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Originally Posted By: eljefino
If that were all there were to it the oil companies would be doing it and not buying wholesale high-test.
Yeah, or similarly, no one would be buying premium gas. Instead, they'd be buying octane boosters.
 

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Originally Posted By: Quattro Pete
Originally Posted By: Popinski
My friend has an older Mercedes E-class that requires premium fuel. I told him it'll probably be cheaper to fill with Regular and put in an Octane booster.
Is it really cheaper? Around here the price difference between regular and premium is about 22 cents/gallon right now. Assume he fills up about 15 gallons, that's $3.30 difference on a tank. Benefits aside, can you even get an octane booster for this much (enough of it to raise the octane level to where it needs to be)? I'm guessing a typical octane booster bottle will increase your gasoline rating by 0.5 to 1 octane at most, so from 87 you only get up to 88. You would need 3 more bottles to get up to 91.
It doesn't work that way though, as you get diminishing returns with each bottle you add. Back in 1989, Road and Track did a test on octane boosters, and the best stuff out there at the time (104+ octane boost) still only added about 3 to the number (raising it from 87 to 90 for instance) But they found when they added a second bottle, the octane would then only go up by about an additional 1.5 (now at 91.5 for instance) So the way the chemistry works it doesn't just keep adding the same amount each time. Simply put, it's not cost effective at all to achieve the higher octane level by adding booster to regular 87 octane.
 
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One more reason not to use octane booster: Usually, the boost is achieved with MMT (manganese) -- the heavy metal replacement for lead -- you can read it in the ingredients list. Most car manufacturers will tell you that MMT is not good for you car -- like lead, it will coat sparkplugs and foul emissions equipment. One of the requirements for top tier fuel is to be MMT free. Side notes: MMT is no longer used in the USA to increase octane, it is now banned. Canada attempted to ban its use in 1997, but was sued under NAFTA buy the company that supplies most of it (Ethyl Corp.). Another side note: MMT, like lead, is suspected of causing neurological issues in children. I do not preach to anybody what gas they should buy, and I don't generally drive across town to avoid it, but I'll buy MMT free fuel whenever I have a choice -- as a father of a child with neurological issues, I think it's only right (for me, anyways). End soapbox!
 
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