• 4 minutes "Saudi Armada heading to U.S.", "Dumping" is a WTO VIOLATION.
  • 7 minutes Trump will be holding back funds that were going to W.H.O. Good move
  • 11 minutes Washington doctor removed from his post, over covid
  • 15 minutes Which producers will shut in first?
  • 7 hours Why Trump Is Right to Re-Open the Economy
  • 13 mins A small trial finds that hydroxychloroquine is not effective for treating coronavirus
  • 2 hours Sharp real pure true hard working roughneck needing work..
  • 13 mins Charts of COVID-19 Fatality Rate by Age and Sex
  • 22 mins Russia's Rosneft Oil is screwed if they have to shut down production as a result of glut.
  • 15 mins Corona Price Tag
  • 18 hours Wouldn't fall in demand balance it out?
  • 14 hours US Shale Resilience: Oil Industry Experts Say Shale Will Rise Again
  • 1 hour Bernie Sanders introduces bill to ban fracking
  • 4 hours 80's GOM Oil Fam: Mid-80's Oil Glut Part Deux?
  • 7 hours CCP holding back virus data . . . . . . Spanish Flu 1918 MUTATED, Came in 3 waves, Lasted 14 months and killed upward 5% World population
  • 13 hours Its going to be an oil bloodbath
Alt Text

“Gasmaggedon” Sweeps Over Global Gas Market

China’s state-owned gas importers are…

Alt Text

Are Asian LNG Prices About To Rally?

LNG spot prices rose last…

Robert Rapier

Robert Rapier

More Info

Premium Content

Is Premium Gasoline A Waste Of Money?

If you are like many Americans, you may occasionally treat your car to premium gasoline. You might not be certain whether it helps, but it can’t hurt, right? Maybe not, but you just might be throwing money down the drain.

Last year I reported on a study by AAA that concluded American drivers had wasted more than $2.1 billion during the previous year by using premium-grade gasoline in vehicles designed to run on regular fuel. Now AAA has released new research findings that tested vehicles for which premium-grade gasoline was recommended but not required.

Together with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested vehicles that recommend the use of premium (91 octane or higher) gasoline. These vehicles were tested under extreme driving scenarios such as towing, hauling cargo and aggressive acceleration. AAA’s tests under these conditions showed:

-              Fuel economy for test vehicles averaged a 2.7 percent improvement. Individual vehicle test result averages ranged from a decrease of 1 percent (2016 Audi A3) to an improvement of 7.1 percent (2016 Cadillac Escalade).

-              Horsepower for test vehicles averaged an increase of 1.4 percent. Individual vehicle test result averages ranged from a decrease of 0.3 percent (2016 Jeep Renegade) to an improvement of 3.2 percent (2017 Ford Mustang).

-              According to national averages, the price difference between regular and premium gasoline is approximately 20 percent to 25 percent — about $0.50 per gallon. Related: Houthi Missile Targeting Riyadh Palace Intercepted

AAA concluded that the vehicles tested are unlikely to see any benefit from using premium gasoline during typical city or highway driving. But even if someone consistently drives under the extreme scenarios tested, a 2.7 percent fuel economy improvement won’t justify paying 25 percent more for premium gasoline. Thus, the conclusion is the same as the conclusion from last year’s research — Americans are mostly wasting their money if they are buying premium in this situation.

Of course, if a vehicle requires premium, that’s a different matter. Higher-octane fuels are more resistant to pre-ignition, which allows them to be used in engines with higher compression ratios. That enables higher performance and higher fuel efficiency than in engines with lower compression ratios. Using a lower-grade fuel in such an engine can result in knocking and pinging as the fuel ignites too early, and this can damage the engine.

Note that premium gasoline doesn’t necessarily contain any more energy or any better additives than cheaper gasoline. So, unless you have a vehicle that requires premium gasoline, you are probably wasting your money if you are buying it. AAA’s newest research shows that’s true even if premium fuel is recommended for the vehicle. But if you switch to regular and notice an engine knock, then you should probably stick with premium.

By Robert Rapier

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage






Leave a comment
  • Don Clifford on December 19 2017 said:
    Premium boosts performance in high mileage engines.
  • Kim G on December 20 2017 said:
    Mercedes and some other manufacturers require premium fuel and if the cars don't get it, the control systems dial back the performance. Also not using premium fuel can cause harm to the engine in such cars. Otherwise, yes, putting premium into a car that doesn't require it is a waste of money.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News