Don’t be fueled: Premium Not Always Worth the Price


(Don’t be fueled)

Premium vs Regular gas…does it matter?

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy.

As I watch my 401k, I’ve noticed that gasoline stocks continue to decline. Even as stocks tighten, the demand will continue to increase as we head into the holidays.

Lately low crude prices have helped to push down pump prices. As of a week ago, the national average for unleaded regular gasoline had decreased by two cents to $2.67/gallon.   Unfortunately, in California the statewide average for a gallon of regular gasoline is still a hefty $4.13, according to fuel pricing website

These prices are the highest they’ve been since July 11, 2014. It’s also by far the most expensive in the U.S., with the current average almost $1.50 above the national average.

Even though gas prices are top-most in the minds of U.S. drivers, most realize that, unfortunately, due  to many factors, pricing is not in control of the consumer, except, that is, when they make smart decisions at the pump.

Do vehicles designed to run on regular gas benefit from premium?

If you’re one of the 16.5 million U.S. drivers who has used premium fuel despite the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation, press that 87 octane button and save yourself some money. In past articles we discussed the non-benefit of using premium fuel in vehicles designed to run on regular gas or that which is recommend.

AAA tested regular and premium gasoline in vehicles designed to operate on regular-grade fuel. The laboratory testing found no significant improvement in horsepower, fuel economy or emissions, suggesting the practice of using premium gasoline when it’s not required for the vehicle offers no advantage.

The costs add up quickly: drivers unnecessarily used premium gasoline in their vehicles more than 270 million times in the past year, at a cost of $2.1 billion. A better option, according to AAA’s studies, would be to use a fuel that meets TOP TIER™ standards, which results in 19 times fewer engine deposits. Such deposits decrease vehicle performance and reduce fuel economy.

Do vehicles that recommend, but do not require, premium benefit from the higher-octane fuel?

Since 2010, the price gap between premium and regular-grade gasolines has risen steadily. Drivers of vehicles that recommend, but do not require premium gasoline should look at their driving habits and weigh the potential benefits against the increased costs of choosing premium-grade gasoline.

Vehicles tested by AAA in partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California found modest improvements in both fuel economy and performance when simulating extreme driving scenarios such as towing, hauling and rapid acceleration. However, there was less of a benefit in typical city or highway driving situations.

Some high-performance engines are specifically designed to operate on premium fuel and need the higher octane. Vehicles designed to run on regular gasoline cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating, nor can they produce more horsepower using premium fuel.

The safest strategy is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations found in your owner’s manual.

Hope this helps

The Hemet Car Guy

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