AAA Says Premium Gas May Not Be Necessary

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New research from AAA shows that premium gasoline may offer some benefits to select vehicles but may not be worth the extra cost. The testing shows that using premium fuel in vehicles that recommend, but do not require premium fuel, may result in only slightly better fuel economy and performance under certain driving conditions when using the higher-octane fuel. Unfortunately, the high cost of premium fuel may outweigh the benefits for many drivers.

In recent years, the price gap between premium and regular-grade gasoline has risen from 10 percent to 25 percent or more per gallon. Currently, the price difference between regular and premium gasoline is approximately 50 cents per gallon. AAA says drivers who want the maximum capabilities of their performance- or utility-focused vehicles may see some benefit from using premium gas. Drivers of vehicles that require premium gasoline should always use it. Additionally, any vehicle that makes a “pinging” or “knocking” sound while using regular gasoline should be evaluated by a repair facility and likely switched to a higher-octane fuel.

A 2016 AAA study found that there’s no benefit in using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed to operate on regular fuel, and that consumers wasted nearly $2.1 billion fueling these vehicles with higher-octane gasoline. Higher-octane premium fuel has the potential to boost a vehicle’s fuel economy and performance, however, engines have to be calibrated to require that fuel to see the full benefit. Drivers seeking a higher quality fuel for their vehicle should consider using one that meets Top Tier standards. AAA urges drivers who use premium gasoline to shop around for the best price, as it can vary dramatically between gas stations.

Information provided by AAA