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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While finalizing our deal on the Traverse, I asked the salesman (my wife later asked, too) what octane fuel we could use. He said we can run low-grade unleaded (85 octane here at 5000' ASL). So I look in the manual and it clearly states (page 9-39) to use unleaded with a posted octane of 87 or better. I asked the owner of the dealership about this (before I gave them a negative remark on the customer satisfaction survey) and he talked to a GM guy who gave a training session in early December concerning this very topic. Trainees were told that 85 octane would not pose any issues in this engine (at least they haven't yet), but I was not given a reason as to why or why not. I don't know if the higher altitude (therefore less oxygen in the air) is a factor in this.

Comments and suggestions appreciated. But for now I'm running 87 octane just to be safe.
 

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from what Ive read in the past- the salesman is right- at high altitudes- 85 is fine- and does have to do with altitude/air.
elsewhere- 87 is the norm....
 

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found this online....

Q. While I was in Colorado last summer I noticed that they have a lower octane gas – 85 than the regular gas in California. I will be in Colorado for the summer again this year, and I am wondering if I can put the lower octane in my truck and not have to worry about it. Can I safely use this gas, thereby saving a few cents per gallon? Or should I continue to use what I normally use, which is 87 octane?

A. Go for the lower octane, cheaper stuff when you’re up at the altitudes where they sell it.

In most of the county, regular octane is 87, mid-grade is 89, and premium is 91 to 93 octane. In the higher-elevation communities in the mountain states of the West, you’ll find that 85 is regular, mid-grade is 87 and although you’ll see 91 octane, you may never encounter the 93-octane gas you find elsewhere. At higher altitudes (above 4,000 feet or so) engines need less octane to operate properly.

When you drop back to a lower grade, you may experience slightly reduced power on hills. Some claim that happens, others say that’s merely the perception of the flatlanders, who aren’t accustomed to the kinds of hills we have here in the mountains. In any case, if you feel that you’re getting enough pickup on the entrance ramps and interstates with the 85-octane fuel, you can feel very comfortable using it without concern that you’re doing something bad to your truck.

When you leave the high country and get to 4,000 feet or lower, you may still have some 85-octane fuel in your tank. Don’t worry about it. Just fill ’er up with the 87-octane gas when you can. The blend of the two will serve you just fine.
 

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Never heard of 85 octane! What is the price difference?.... 10 cents? Me personally I would put 87 as that is what most of the country uses.

So do you have 85, 87 & 89? or do you still have 91 too? some stations here you can get 93
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies.

We buy gas at the same Conoco station here in town. And yes, it is 10 cents between each octane rating (85/87/91). It is different (bigger difference) at other stations though.

We are used to using premium (91) in the Regal we traded in and had to run it with the supercharged engine. We really looked forward to using less expensive gas since the Traverse is a less efficient vehicle that has a larger fuel tank (by 6 gallons). We were aware of the mileage trade-offs before buying. We would still buy the Traverse again.
 
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