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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

The important difference in gasoline isn't who sells it, but what the octane level is. A higher level of octane can reduce or even eliminate engine knock, a problem caused by uncontrolled combustion. Octane ratings are posted on all gas pumps. You can find your car's ideal octane rating in the owner's manual. Most cars built since 1975 are meant to operate on unleaded gasoline. If operated on gas containing lead, damage will occur to the catalytic converter and render it use less. In some areas of the country, methanol is added to gas to lower cost. The debate rages on concerning this practice. Evidence shows that the addition of methanol is not always controlled carefully enough. The poor quality fuel can hinder performance and even damage engine parts if used over a long period of time. Consult your owner's manual for their recommendations, before you experiment with different fuels.

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