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85 Octane fuel in CO.

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Old 06-16-2011, 07:55 PM   #1
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Question 85 Octane fuel in CO.

So as lots of people know, we have 85 octane Regular grade fuel here in Colorado. Aside form a lack in performance, are there any actual mechanical issues that could arise from running the 85 oct. for a few months before I get to the coast where 87 is the norm for reg? Given the price difference it would be a huge benefit even if I lost 1mpg. I can't imagine there really would be any issues.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:49 PM   #2
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I didn't notice anything other than a decrease in gas mileage. I was very adamant about listening for pinging at idle and knock while accelerating/cruising. After a couple of tanks, I still heard nothing, but the gas mileage was much lower than expected.

FWIW, I have a gas mileage / cost per mile calculator I use when filling up to see if the extra mpg gained from using 91 is worth the extra money, of it the mpg loss for using 85/87 is worth the few dollars I save. At the given price of 85 vs 87 vs 91, my average mpg had a large enough delta between the different grades that it actually turns out to be cheaper to buy 91 and get 23.X mpg, rather than buying 85 and getting 19.X (I do all highway driving... doing city driving, my mpg for 85 vs 91 is almost identical, so putting in 85 is a no-brainer).

If you're interested, I can send you the excel spreadsheet program I use (although you'd need to be tracking you mpg via fuelly, or something similar, to really get a good calculation and future predictions).

-Gary
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:53 PM   #3
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87 is recommended in the manual.... I don't think I would risk it. But that is just me.
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toyotatacomaTRD View Post
87 is recommended in the manual.... I don't think I would risk it. But that is just me.
True, but keep in mind air density has a lot to do with the amount of knock suppression needed (aka- gasoline's octane rating). Hence, using 85 octane at higher altitudes is okay, and has the same net outcome as using 87 at lower elevations (no knock).

This topic has been beat to death so I'm going to go into it in this thread (do a quick search if you care to learn more).
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Old 06-16-2011, 09:11 PM   #5
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None. Toyota dealers in Colorado will tell you that 85 is just fine in the V6. The lower octane is because of the higher altitudes here. But any regular or midgrade can lead to more carbon deposits over time. So run a tank of premium every once in a while to flush it out. Or better yet, add a can of 44k to a tank every 10k or so.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:00 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, responses as I would guess. I know that fuel is probably beat to death about as often as oil. I did search for "85 octane gas" and really didn't find much at all. A lot on 87 and up though. Anyways, I'm gonna stay with the "85 is good enough" mentality. I don't do much highway driving so I'll watch and hope for similar results as KOGARY.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:04 PM   #7
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent.
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What's the price difference , 85 to 87 ?
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:20 PM   #8
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I got $3.49/gal at Costco for the 85 octane. Local gas station has 87 octane for $3.69/gal. So about 20 cents a gallon.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:26 PM   #9
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quad D View Post
I got $3.49/gal at Costco for the 85 octane. Local gas station has 87 octane for $3.69/gal. So about 20 cents a gallon.
Is $4 a tank that big a deal ? Do you use a lot of gas ?
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:27 AM   #10
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If I can squeeze $4 a tank for a year, that's a big difference. Fair to say I drive at or around 20,000 miles a year. 21 gallon tank....say 20mpg being nice...about 420 miles per tank....47 tanks at 4 dollars extra per tank....$190 to $200 a year, granted very rough guess. But yeah, a $200 a year difference is a fair difference I'd say. Given that there is no true gain, however, if I find that I lose too much in MPG than it wouldn't justify spending less would it?
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:30 AM   #11
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quad D View Post
If I can squeeze $4 a tank for a year, that's a big difference. Fair to say I drive at or around 20,000 miles a year. 21 gallon tank....say 20mpg being nice...about 420 miles per tank....47 tanks at 4 dollars extra per tank....$190 to $200 a year, granted very rough guess. But yeah, a $200 a year difference is a fair difference I'd say. Given that there is no true gain, however, if I find that I lose too much in MPG than it wouldn't justify spending less would it?
I was just asking , not judging .

Personally for $16 a month , I would run the manufacturer's spec'ed 87 in my $30 000 truck .
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:26 AM   #12
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Not offended in any way, I've learned that for me I make up more money on the little things than I do on the "big" ones. Good news is that when I am gone from Colorado in a few months the "regular" at the pump WILL be 87 oct.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:34 AM   #13
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent.
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Cool

I was curious because my brother-in-law just moved to Colorado Springs
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:38 AM   #14
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It's a great town, I'd suggest you visit him some time. Great place for active folks to live.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:41 AM   #15
Not very sporting to fire on an unarmed opponent.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quad D View Post
It's a great town, I'd suggest you visit him some time. Great place for active folks to live.
I'm hoping to drive across Canada next summer , I would head his way if I do .
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:49 AM   #16
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85 is equivalent to 87 when at altitudes above approximately 4500ft. If you will be there for a while 85 works fine, I have used 85 for years and never had issues. I personally didn't notice a difference in mpg or performance when comparing 85 to 87 but I didnt pay that much attention to it either.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:59 AM   #17
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Take note of the responses from guys who actually live in Colorado .. they all tell you 85 is okay. It's the guys outside the state who are warning you not to risk it. That's because they don't understand Colorado gas.

Colorado gas octane numbers anywhere above 4000 feet (which is most of the state including the entire Front Range and all throughout the mountains) are 85, 87 and 89. Below 4000 feet, people usually see 87,89 and 91. Around sea level you'll also see a lot of 93.

So our 85 is regular. Our 87 is midgrade. Our 89 is premium.

In Colorado you are perfectly fine running regular in your Tacoma just as you are perfectly fine running regular in any other state. Octane is reduced here because as others mentioned, as the air thins, octane becomes less important. As I said, the Toyota dealers in the state will tell you that 85 is perfectly okay .. and they tell you this, because Toyota isn't going to spend the $$ reprinting manuals specifically for those few high altitude areas where this is even an issue.

So again pay attention to what the Colorado guys are telling you. If you're concerned, run 87 if you want. Or like I said, add a can of BG 44k once every 10,000 miles or so to clear out deposits (that's a good thing to do unless you run premium all the time .. and even then, it doesn't hurt).
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:16 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainEarth View Post
... So again pay attention to what the Colorado guys are telling you...
Or anyone else who lives at high altitude... I lived in El Paso (right around 4000 ft) for 20+ years and 85 regular worked great... as did 91 premium for my Maxima.

Most people just don't understand what octane is and how it's important to an engine, that leads to a lot of very weird myths.
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Old 06-17-2011, 11:40 AM   #20
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Was told 85 was okay here in Utah, 4200' in SLC. The Ridgeline I had the manual listed 87 unless towing then to use 91.
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