If you’ve been filling up with premium gasoline when your vehicle is designed to run on regular-grade, well, you’re wasting your money. At least according to a new study from the American Automobile Association.
The group says drivers waste $2.1 billion on premium gasoline when they don’t need it. Only 16 percent of drivers need to use premium-grade according to automaker recommendations. Seventy percent of drivers own vehicles that only need regular.
Drivers think using premium grade over regular will improve engine performance, but AAA says that’s just not so. It didn’t find any benefit of using higher-octane gas in engines designed to run on regular. It doesn’t provide more horsepower, improve fuel economy or even produce fewer tailpipe emissions. It just cost drivers more.
“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality, and urges drivers to follow the owner’s manual recommendations for their vehicle’s fuel.”
Premium gas is specifically formulated to be compatible with specific types of engines. Most cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating.