Octane: 87 vs. 89 if priced same?

Hi. I have a new 2009 Toyota Camry. The owners manual calls for using 87 Octane. However, my local gas station generally offers the same price for 87 or 89. My question: In this era of trying to squeeze out every last mpg, will I get even slightly better mileage using 89, all things being equal? Also, is there any advantage/disadvantage to the environment (emissions and the like) by using 87 vs. 89. Thanks…the environment and we penny-pinchers thank you!

Steve from Kalamazoo!

No I am afraid you would not gain a thing by using 89 octane. In fact I have heard stories that you may get less mileage. My advice would be to use exactly what your manual calls for. I am sure you will get other comments like this.

On the other hand, unecessarily high octane rating does no harm, it just doesn’t do any good either.

Sorry no benefit to running 89 on this car and you might in fact see a small decrease in mileage. Stick with 87.

This is certainly a switch! Usually, we are asked, “Can I cheap-out and use a lower octane gasoline than the Owner’s Handbook advises?”. Of course, we say, “Stick with the Owner’s Handbook, and all will be well.”

No this is like putting salt on your hamburger. You want enough, but too much can be bad. Well few cars have ever been hurt by too much, it is a remote possibility. Two points is not much of a difference.

The 89 octane is probably an ethanol blend like e10. Usually has the maximum amount of ethanol that regular cars can handle. You may get a little more power, but your mileage may decrease slightly as well as the ethanol contains less energy than regular gas.

Your car will run properly on either one. It comes down to which one gives you the most miles per dollar (as opposed to miles per gallon.) E-10 will give you 3% poorer gas mileage because ethanol contains 30% less energy than gasoline. E-10 can be a bagain, but only if it is more than 3% cheaper per gallon than straight gasoline. Where I live, E-10 is usually 10 cents cheaper. When gas cost $1.50 to $2.00, the break even price difference was only 4 to 6 cents; at that time E-10 was the better buy. With gas prices now between $3.50 and $4.00, the break even point is 11 or 12 cents cheaper. That makes E-10 a little bit more expensive. In some places, E-10 is actually more expensive per gallon than gasoline. There, buying straight gasoline, instead of E-10, is a no-brainer.

As the other posters have mentioned, the reason why the 89 is priced the same as 87 is that you live in a corn state where ethanol is highly subsidized and the 89 contains ethanol. I guess there’s not really an environmental drawback to corn ethanol, although the supposed environmental advantages to it would only apply if you were growing it somewhere that would otherwise be fallow, which is not the case. There is however, the issue of world food prices, where the subsidies given to biofuels have made it more profitable for farmers to sell their crops to ethanol refiners to go into gas tanks as opposed to selling it as a food crop, which has been a major factor in skyrocketing world food prices. Supposedly the amount of corn it takes to make enough ethanol to fill up a 30 gallon gas tank could provide a person in the 3rd world’s yearly calorie requirement. Also, traditionally, the massive US farm surplus was mostly shipped overseas in the form of food aid, but now is being turned into ethanol, leading to hunger in many parts of the world that depended to various extents on food aid, especially now since food prices are going up so much!

Also, you will not get any increased mileage using 89 octane in a car that only calls for 87 octane. And the ethanol in the fuel reduces somewhat the actual energy content of the fuel, so you will likely get reduced gas mileage. Now, if you have a car that recommends a higher octane fuel but can run on lower octane, it might be a bit of a toss-up. The engine has to detune itself to run on the lower octane, which reduces your mileage but running the higher octane ethanol containing gas will also reduce your mileage. I tried to experiment with this in my company’s 94 Astro Van, which recommends premium, but could not find an appreciable difference between the two.

If the 89 octane contains ethanol, buy the 87 octsne, since it will give you better milerage. I take it this is not a “net environmental benefit” question. If it was, I would still tell you to use the non-ethnol gas, since corn ethanol is a bit of an environmental diaster. If the ethanol cam from sugar cane, I would recommend it.

I can’t imagine 89 octane having ethanol and the 87 NOT having.

The gas stations here…only have 2 tanks. One for regular…one for high-test. The middle grade is a blend of the regular and high-test.

Your manual does not call for 87 but in reality a minimum of 87 octane. I would use what feels best to you.

The minimum is to prevent knocking. However there is no reason what so ever to use 89 if the car doesn’t need it.

It all depends on where you live.

Around here, it is not unusual for a station to offer only two choices - 87 octane regular and 89 octane E-10. (The extra two points are due to the ethanol.) E-10 replaced premium.

Most stations offer a third choice which can be either premium or diesel. Big stations offer all four. Almost no one has E-85.

Since it is a new car,I would use what is recommended in the manual and NOT use anything with ethanol.
Since its under warrenty, should something break, and you told them, “I don’t know why it broke, I’ve only used unrecommended gas in it” the door is open ever so slight to void the warrenty. You’d probably win in the long run only after lengthy phone calls and paper work.
Octane makes the fuel burn slower and more evenly to reduce ping, etc. Once it’s out of warrenty, use what you want, but keep a notebook of the miles per gallon every time you fill up. My experience is the mileage slightly goes up when you use the same brand and type of fuel of a higher grade ie. 87 vs 89.
By comparing 87 octane gasoline and 89 octane gasohol with ethanol, the difference is apples to oranges…It doesn’t apply.

When buying a new car,"The manual book is for you to read to let you know about the new car.If manual say 87 cotain,"That mean you sue 87 gread!If you use any other gread may hurt your service from the dealer!THAT IF THEY FINE OUT YOU WAS USEING ANOTHER GREAD OF GAS!By away,"Do you know buying gas from any gas station then EXXON,MOIBLE maybe same gas from EXXON,MOIBLE?