• 4 minutes Is The Three Gorges Dam on the Brink of Collapse?
  • 8 minutes The Coal Industry May Never Recover From The Pandemic
  • 11 minutes China Raids Bank and Investor Accounts
  • 5 hours In a Nutshell...
  • 7 hours During March, April, May the states with the highest infections/deaths were NY, NJ, Ma. . . . . Today (June) the three have the best numbers. How ? Herd immunity ?
  • 10 mins Why Wind is pitiful for most regions on earth
  • 9 hours Is OilPrice a cover for Green Propganda
  • 13 hours Putin Paid Militants to Kill US Troops
  • 2 days Victor Davis Hansen on Biden's mental acuity " . . unfit to serve". With 1 out of 5 Democrats admitting it. How many Dem's believe it but will not admit it?
  • 1 day Putin Forever: Russians Given Money As Vote That Could Extend Putin's Rule Draws To A Close
  • 7 hours Joe Biden to black radio host, " If you don't vote for me you ain't black". That's our Democratic Party nominee ?
  • 1 day Happy 4th of July!
  • 2 days Tesla Model 3 police cars pay for themselves faster than expected, says police chief
  • 1 day Apology Accepted!
  • 2 days The Political Genius of Donald Trump
  • 3 days Per most popular Indian websites it was Indian troops not Chinese troops breach of LAC that caused the clashes. If you know any Indian media that claim to the contrary please provide the link
What's Holding Natural Gas Prices Back?

What's Holding Natural Gas Prices Back?

Natural gas prices are languishing…

Has Natural Gas Hit Rock Bottom?

Has Natural Gas Hit Rock Bottom?

Natural gas prices fell below…

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