Date registered: Mar 2005
Vehicle: '01-E320 & 02-ST2
Location: John 15:18-19
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"Not necessarily" are the KEY words here.
That is an article written to the masses, and "the masses" DO NOT include MB owners (or Porsche, BMW, several others).
Most cars are designed to utilize premium fuel and those are okay on whatever pump octane you dump in. However, some cars are designed TO USE, not utilize, premium. In other words, the basic engine configuration REQUIRES a certain octane rating to perform nominally, not just optimally. The electronics that are hung on the engine don't "adapt" it to run on other octane and will do their best to compensate if you abuse the car by doing so, but they cannot rectify the underlying issue of the low octane because the static timing, combustion chamber and compression ratio are ALL geared towards the specified octane number. PERIOD.
So...running improper octane gas will save you about $3 on a tank of gas assuming an average fillup of 15 gallons, so $65 instead of $68 for example. If you fill up every week that saves you $156 a year, although you will fill up a bit more often because you won't get the same fuel economy. But I'll let you have the full $156 figure.
The cost of a pair of aftermarket cats welded in is about $300; OEM figure a grand a side. O2 sensors are $300-$800 a set depending on whether you buy universals and install them yourself. An EGR valve is a couple hours work and $140. Plugs aren't terribly expensive, but if you pay to change them they sure are. Cleaning up a combustion chamber could also be costly. All of these things are within the realm of possible damage by running improper octane fuel that as a result does not burn properly.
Is any of that worth $156 a year (which, coincidentally, won't even pay for your NYT subscription)?
So if you're going to dump regular gas in your engine, be sure to set aside the savings to pay for the added repairs you will incur (unless you first dump your car on some other unsuspecting soul). It likely won't pay for all of the repairs, so set aside some extra money for that, too.
Take care and enjoy the ride,
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)