You should only use high-octane fuel if your owner's manual specifically recommends it...and the FTC backs us up!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

We at the Federal Trade Commission would like you guys to help spread the
word about buying -- and not overbuying -- the proper octane gasoline. For
years, gasoline companies have been pitching higher-octane gasoline as a
way to lower maintenance costs. We recently reached a settlement with Exxon
which mandates them to run ads explaining the proper selection of octane,
which is -- as you guys say -- based on the recommendation in your owner's
manual. To further emphasize this message, we have produced a new, free FTC
brochure "The Low-Down on High Octane Gasoline." Please tell your readers
that it's available. -- Don Elder, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal
Trade Commission

TOM: Geez, Don. Don't scare us like that, will ya? When we saw a letter
come in from the Bureau of Consumer Protection, we immediately assumed that
you were coming after us for our "5/50 warranty."

RAY: That's five minutes or 50 feet from the garage, whichever comes first.

TOM: Actually, we'll be glad to repeat the message. High-octane gasoline is
of absolutely no benefit to the vast majority of cars on the road. You
should only use high-octane fuel if your owner's manual specifically
recommends it.

RAY: Or if your car knocks or pings on your normal grade of gasoline, and
your mechanic has been unable to find any other easily fixable cause.

TOM: If you want more information, you can get the free FTC pamphlet on
octane by writing to:

Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
6th St. & Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington DC 20580.

RAY: Or call them at (202) 326-2222, or visit on the Internet.

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