Earlier today while driving out East on Long Island I stopped to fill my tank with gas, and at the station, all the pumps had the usual Regular, Mid, Premium on one pump, but on the 2nd pump which typically holds Diesel, there was a sticker for Racing Fuel.

The button for the fuel indicated a 100 Octane level, whereas the Premium was 93. Now although I've seen Sunoco do 95 Octane for maybe a dime more than the Premium fuel, the "Racing Fuel" at this station (LukOil) was $8.99 a gallon!

At first I thought someone messed up the signage as a joke, but after putting my card in the pump to pay, the prices lit up and the 100 octane had $8.99 as the price. This also was the same at the other pumps, and on the major road sign when pulling out.

All the other fuels were from $3.65 to I think $3.90.

After seeing this, my main question isn't to ask about Premium vs. Regular octane levels, but rather I'm curious about if such fuel is safe to use in your typical stock engine on a passenger car, and in addition whether this "Racing Fuel" has anything more than extra octane because I know Sunono Super Premium is typically 10-20 cents higher than premium.

Also, is this a new major line of fuel that's going mainstream? I've only seen this once at the chain -- every other LukOil carries Diesel instead, so I'm not sure if this might be a regional offering.

  • I just paid 7 dollars and 77 cents per gallon for 100 octane racing fuel. Put it in my miata up which requires premium and it made a huge difference in how smoothly the engine runs. It might be up a bit more compared to our regular 90 octane premium for power but not worth the super premium price.
    – user2972
    Apr 3, 2013 at 15:38
  • 1
    Damn. You could fly a Cessna with that gas.
    – Sponge Bob
    Apr 4, 2013 at 2:33

7 Answers 7


A lot of performance Japanese cars are tuned for higher octane fuels from the factory, and will often pink badly on anything less than 97. I suspect the "Racing Fuel" will have other additives as well. If your car is tuned for 93 it would probably still run on 100, but certainly won't run well. (out of interest, what ratings are "regular" and "mid" - here we have "premium" at 95 and "super" at 97 or 99)

The reason you will occasionally see "Racing Fuel" sold in petrol stations (usually near race tracks) is that a lot of series require competitors to use "pump fuel" - By making it available to the public it counts as pump fuel and so can be used in the races.

  • 4
    The higher octane won't hurt it any. Just won't help either. Oct 12, 2011 at 11:47
  • 1
    One point I forgot to mention - all my numbers are RON, while I presume the O/P is in the US and so will be using AKI measurements, which come out slightly lower.
    – Nick C
    Oct 12, 2011 at 13:33
  • 3
    US is (RON+MON)/2, and typical values are 87 (regular), 89 (plus), and 91 (premium west coast), 93 (premium rest of the country), 94 (premium in very select areas). Oct 12, 2011 at 14:02

... I'm curious about if such fuel is safe to use in your typical stock engine on a passenger car

If they've added lead, no. I suspect that it's very unlikely that anyone is selling leaded gas at a common access pump (at the race track, maybe).

If no lead, then it's quite likely fine but a waste of money for most cars and drivers. Cars (especially forced induction) can be tuned to utilize the lower probability of detonation inherent in high octane fuels to advance timing or increase boost in order to create much higher power outputs.

Also, is this a new major line of fuel that's going mainstream?

That sounds very unlikely in this economy. What's more likely is that there is a population of racers or those who consider themselves such nearby. Where is the nearest drag strip in relation to this station?

  • 2
    There's a Speedway a couple miles from my house that sells Cam2 110 octane leaded fuel from a pump. It's off to one side (like is also done with diesel), has a really short hose and big stickers that say "not for street use". Oct 13, 2011 at 12:58
  • To be honest I'm not sure about any raceways nearby, although there are a few college campuses so I'm guessing that might be the reason. Also, @Brian, yep the fuel is Cam2 -- I forgot the name but saw it yesterday driving by -- so it looks like it isn't just a one time thing
    – theonlylos
    Oct 14, 2011 at 14:46
  • Interestingly, the gas station by me that has Cam2 is nowhere near any college nor any racetracks. No idea why they happen to have it there. Perhaps the owner of the gas station owns a racecar. :-) Oct 14, 2011 at 15:07

Just some interesting info on high octane fuels the original method of refining fuel had an added amount of lead. The added lead increased the octane value of the fuel which gave the engineneers of old a better way to control the combustion rate in the internal combustion engine. an added benefit of the lead in the fuel was cooler temperatures at the exhaust valve meaning they could mmachine the exhaust valve seat right out of the existing cast iron of the cylinder head. Some companies still practice this however most have switched to aluminium cylinder heads with pressed interference fit hardened armored exhaust valve seats. However those older made cylinder heads are the reason for the " lead substitute" sold at most parts stores today. Anyways emissions restrictions are why in most cases "leaded" fuels are few and far between. Also lead fouls ooxygen sensors at an astronomical rate so running them in just about any factory equipped electronic fuel injected engine is NOT recommended. Also another note is very high octane numbers can be achieved by adding alcohol. This however reduces efficiency. As an example, E-85 (85% ethonal - 15% fossil) is considered to be 110 octane. the problem is that the stoichiometric ratio (efficiency ratio) for (fossil) gasoline is 14.7 parts air to 1 part fuel. For E-85 it is only 9.7 parts air to one part fuel. So as you can see, although it raises its octane level, it decreases its efficiency to only 66% that of good old fashioned gasoline (another point to the theory that todays gasoline doesn't go as far as it used to as it contains about 10% ethonal everywhere in the U.S.) also this is the reasoning for the moniker "flex fuel" equipped vehicles. These vehicles have an extra sensor that in layman's terms shines a light through the fuel into an eye that can determine the amount the light "flexes" as it passes through the fuel and can adjust the fuel/air ratio of the engine according to the amount of ethanol in the fuel. - Have a nice day, all.

  • 1
    I read an article about a month ago about why it is believed many racers will be using ethanol in the future instead of gasoline (I'm not talking nitro based racing). While E-85 reduces efficiency, it's stoichiometric ratio is far better, which means you can dump a lot more fuel into the mix and an engine will still run. This does two things, first, it will make more power because there is more fuel to burn. Second, it will decrease knock without increasing the octane of the fuel because of the cooling effect. Good stuff. Feb 1, 2015 at 0:55

The higher the octane, the less power per gram the gasoline contains. Use the lowest octane your car needs.

expanding on my answer: It's safe...ish to use on stock engines. The fuel burns cooler and may clog your catalytic converter. You certainly won't see any better power or mileage from it, unless you're tuned for 100 octane. It's sold solely for cars that are tuned for 100 octane: race cars and offroaders.

  • 1
    100 octane is usually leaded and will slowly kill both your O2 sensors and your catalytic converter. I believe I saw 100 octane unleaded at a track once, but I'm not sure how they managed it as my understanding is that 98 octane is the theoretical upper limit on what you can get without lead. Oct 12, 2011 at 11:49
  • 2
    Higher octane fuels (well over 100 RON) are perfectly possible by adding Ethanol or other alcohol bases.
    – Nick C
    Oct 12, 2011 at 13:37
  • 2
    @insta, could you cite a source for your power per gram figure?
    – Bob Cross
    Oct 13, 2011 at 0:42
  • 2
    @BobCross, I'm not talking about pure bomb-calorimetrics of combustion enthalpy. For that, heavier hydrocarbons will always win. ICE's are far from bomb calorimeters and depend heavily as well on combustion speed as well. For this, smaller molecules (such as the lighter heptane components of gasoline) will burn easier. Higher octanes are required for heavily advanced engines to help compensate for the slower burn. Oct 13, 2011 at 2:33
  • 1
    @insta, good points - I think you should inject your comments into your main answer. You might want to loosen your comment about "heavily advanced engines" - I think the requirement for higher octane also includes poorly designed turbo motors with insufficient cooling.
    – Bob Cross
    Oct 13, 2011 at 12:34

Have a read of this question on the benefits of premium fuel and this one on what you should choose for your car, as it all depends on your engine and its tuning - a high compression engine can usefully use higher octane petrol, but a lower compression engine will just run badly (or fail to run).

Conversely, some higher compression engines can downtune in order to cope with low octane petrol...some can't.

(Examples - My Impreza with PPP can downtune, but my Forester STi really can't - it is happiest up to 102 RON (UK version) but won't run on less than 99)


Working at drag strip has taught me one thing. That 1500 horsepower cars can and quite often run on pump 93oct. So does it. not really for street. Yet if you have I'd say 10.1 or higher compression with say 500 horses or more yeah but be careful timing is important. Most modern engines auto correct their timing by advancing or retarding ignition. If lower than 10.1 and boosted or nitrous is used still have to account for timing. So many modern kids and yes I said kids just slap on a turbo or nitrous and add exhaust then go racing with high octane often leading to breakdowns or blowing the motor entirely.

  • 1
    You may have that backwards. High octane fuel is more resistant to detonation, which means you wouldn't need to adjust timing to safely run it. you COULD actually advance timing a bit. The reason those "kids" blow their motors is because they do stupid things like adding bigger air intakes and exhausts without paying for a retune, which screws with the MAF sensor and causes boost spikes respectively, making them run too lean under WOT and thus makes them detonate. May 7, 2015 at 7:37

Racing Gas could do harm to your car unless it is a flex fuel vehicle. As many have stated earlier it won't benefit you but it could in theory hurt your car as it will certainly trip a check engine light and cause the vehicle to behave strangely and at worst racing gas which is basically ethanol/methanol or some other alcohol could corrode and damage aluminum engine parts. The reason for it's price is merely scale. Racing gas can be pulled out of thin air. It can be made by reducing polluting factories as it can be made from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. So essentially it is free to produce but so little is made people still have to be paid for their time. Why we haven't converted to this fuel years ago just smells of corruption.

  • Racing gas cannot be pulled from thin air, but your story surely is...
    – MadMarky
    Apr 16, 2018 at 7:22
  • 40 or so years ago most fuel, in the UK at least, was 95-101 octane. Sold as "5 star". It wasn't pulled out of thin air - it was just full of lead, which doesn't make for "reducing polluting factories".
    – Chenmunka
    Apr 16, 2018 at 8:21
  • Date: September 7, 2017 Source: Cardiff University Summary: Scientists have created methanol from methane using oxygen from the air. Methanol is currently produced by breaking down natural gas at high temperatures. But researchers have discovered they can produce methanol from methane through simple catalysis that allows methanol production at low temperatures using oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. The findings have major implications for cleaner, greener industrial processes worldwide. Apr 2, 2019 at 5:55
  • You say pulling this story out of thin air like that's a bad thing. Where else do they come from? I'm calling the internet thin air obviously. Here is the link. Many scientists are doing this in a carbon capture design as well. Like from a heavy carbon emitting factory. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170907142743.htm) Apr 2, 2019 at 5:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.