AAA: Premium Fuel Not Worth The Price

Americans are paying 12 cents on average less than they were three weeks ago for gas

In many cars and SUVs, Premium gasoline is "recommended", but not "required".

Of the 10 Kansas cities regularly highlighted by AAA Kansas (see chart above), all saw gas price declines this week, with the largest drops being Hays (-12 cents), Garden City (-9), and Emporia, Kansas City, Kan. and Wichita (all at -5).

You may think it's better than "Regular" gasoline because, well, it is called "Premium" and it costs more.

On Tuesday in Florida, the state average price for a gallon of regular gas is $2.40.

With demand decreasing, AAA expects prices to keep getting lower as we head towards the end of the season. The gap has widened steadily since the Great Recession. The vehicles AAA tested averaged just a 1.4% increase in horsepower.




Premium may boost horsepower for some engines, but likely not enough for most people to notice in normal driving. That may matter at the Daytona 500, but you'll never notice it on the way to work or the grocery store. A series of tests were conducted to determine whether the use of premium gasoline resulted in improved fuel economy and increased performance (horsepower).

"Unless you've got a 700-hp twin-turbo engine in a sports vehicle, I don't think it matters", said Joe Phillippi, principal of AutoTrends Consulting.

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 Auto Club of California conducted the tests. "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". Using regular gas in one of those engines could cause significant fuel economy and power decreases, and eventually engine and emissions control system damage.

It's ultimately up to owners to decide if premium fuel is worth it, but choosing regular won't harm engines.

AAA does recommend drivers use fuel labeled "top tier".

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