I know in our higher compression engines, higher octane helps. I'm jealous for you guys who can get 94 octane. I haven't seen it around here. If anyone knows of places that have high octane (higher than 93) at the pump in Tampa, let me know.

In my old car, way back when I was racing a lot, I ran 100LL from the airport for races. It was usually mixed with a little automotive gas, since I had to get to the airport to get it. They were nice enough to let me drive out and fill up. Of course, street gas was something like $1.15/gal, and 100LL was over $3/gal, so it wasn't an every day thing to do.

I loved the difference. It made a lot more power and the idle was amazingly smooth. After a fill up, I couldn't even feel the engine running at idle. That was with a smallblock Chevy 350 with a mild performance cam. Hey, I had to drive it on the streets too. I couldn't go too wild with it. The only stock part on that damned thing was the block itself.

BUT!!!!! If you ever have the chance to run aviation fuel in your modern cars, don't do it! It's leaded gas. It will destroy some of the finer parts of your car, like the cats and O2 sensors! Mine was a '82 Firebird, with a 4 bolt main 350, and absolutely no emissions equipment on it. There were no cats to destroy, and no sensors to bother. If you happen to have something like that though, give it a shot. You'll love the difference, but hate the price. I did a quick search online, and it appears 100LL is going for about $4.06/gal in my area. The station around the corner has premium (93) for $2.23/gal.

As far as what stations to use, it really doesn't matter much. If you notice, and pay attention to the trucks delivering, they'll frequently service multiple stations. Brand loyalty is worthless, because it really depends on who's filling that station that day. You can learn a lot from people who work in gas stations, if you hang out and talk to them, and the delivery drivers.

For contamination (water, sand, etc), that frequently comes from the tanks at the station, not in delivery from the depot. When I was a kid, there was one station that we knew had problems with water in the gas. Cars would always run terrible if we filled up there. But, it was the cheapest place in town.