AAA Study Shows Premium Gasoline Has Benefits But Probably Isn't Worth It

Posted December 13, 2017

Gasoline supply has recovered due to the lower demand in the last two weeks, largely helping put downward pressure on retail gasoline prices.

Across the country, the largest changes in average gas prices by state: DE (-5 cents), Colorado (-5 cents), ME (-4 cents), Oklahoma (-4 cents), Vermont (-4 cents), OH (+4 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents), Missouri (-3 cents), SC (-3 cents) and South Dakota (-3 cents).

Gas prices in Rockford are down more than 5¢ over the past week, bringing the average tank of gas locally below the national rate.

AAA tested a variety of vehicles that recommend, but do not require the use of premium (91 octane or higher) gasoline. "Based on AAA's testing, vehicles that only recommend premium gasoline can't take full advantage of higher octane fuel and, as a result, the benefit that comes from upgrading to premium gasoline may not offset its high cost", he said.

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AAA tested Premium and Regular gasoline in six vehicles: a Ford F-150, a Cadillac Escalade, a Mazda Miata, an Audi A3, a Ford Mustang GT and a Jeep Renegade.

The answer: It makes a little difference in performance and fuel economy but not much.

"Fuel economy for test vehicles averaged a 2.7% improvement". On average, vehicles produced 1.4% more horsepower using Premium.

While some vehicles are created to run on premium octane gas, others just recommend it.

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The research gives lie to the widespread belief that auto owners benefit from using more expensive high-octane premium fuel in vehicles that run fine on regular.

Some motorists may consider the additional torque and horsepower to be worth the extra money. But under extreme conditions, such as when towing a trailer or driving in extremely hot weather, using Regular could lead to damage.

"With the exception of some Great Lakes states where prices tend to be volatile, average gas prices moved lower in almost the entire country in the last week", said Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.

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