Premium Gas Not Always Worth the Extra Cost

Do you buy premium gasoline when you don't need to? Some motorists think they are doing their car a favor, but AAA released new research that shows paying-up for premium may not be worth the extra money.

While some vehicles are designed to run on and require premium octane gasoline, others simply recommend it. So AAA set out to determine the effects of using premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend it, and whether the benefits in fuel economy and horsepower are worth the higher price at the pump.


The Price of Premium

Putting Premium Fuel to the Test

Key Findings

"Sometimes consumers think they are giving their vehicle a boost by buying a higher-grade gasoline than what is required,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “AAA already proved that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in cars designed to run on regular. Now we can confidently say that unless the vehicle manufacturer requires it, or you drive in demanding conditions, motorists who buy premium are likely wasting money at the pump."

Premium Gas - Recommended vs. Required

“There’s no question that higher-octane premium fuel has the potential to boost a vehicle’s fuel economy and performance; however, engines have to be calibrated to require that fuel to see the full benefit,” said LaDoucer. “Based on AAA’s testing, vehicles that only recommend premium gasoline can’t take full advantage of higher octane fuel and, as a result, the benefit that comes from upgrading to premium gasoline may not offset its high cost.”

AAA Recommends:

Higher Octane Does Not Mean "Higher Quality"

Daily national, state, and metro gas price averages can be found at Gasprices.aaa.com. Motorists can find the lowest gas prices on their smartphone or tablet with the free AAA Mobile app. The app can also be used to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance.