Premium gas not always necessary

Dear Terry,
I bought a Lincoln Navigator about eight months ago and drove off with a quarter-tank of gas, as happy as ever. I got a great deal with very low mileage.

However, when I drove in to get gas, I found out my car needed premium gas only. What happens if I use regular? I've heard too many stories out there and I don't know who to believe. Gas prices keep on rising and so do my expenses.
-- Sylvia Guillen

Dear Sylvia,
Check your owner's manual. Most manuals state that while premium is recommended, you can run the vehicle on regular. You may notice a slight drop in performance, but the vehicle's engine management system should be able to compensate for the lower-octane fuel without damaging the engine.

Here are this week's reader questions:
Tips for unloading a gas-guzzling SUV
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