Mike Timmermann, clarkhoward.com
Drivers wasted more than $2 billion in the last year by using premium-grade gas in cars that were designed to run on regular fuel, according to new research from AAA.
AAA: Premium doesn’t always mean better
After comprehensive testing, the auto group concluded that there’s no benefit to using premium gasoline if you have a car that only requires regular-grade fuel.
Doing so didn’t produce more horsepower, result in better fuel economy or produce fewer tailpipe emissions.
“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” said 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.”
AAA says premium gas is formulated to be compatible with specific types of engine designs and most cars can’t take advantage of the higher octane rating.
In the last 12 months, 16.5 million U.S. drivers unnecessarily bought premium-grade gasoline at least once.
But don’t confuse premium gas with Top Tier gas, which refers to enhanced engine-cleaning additives that AAA says you should pay extra for, roughly three cents a gallon.
“When it comes to gasoline, ‘premium’ does not mean ‘better’ if your vehicle doesn’t require it,” said Nielsen. “Drivers looking to upgrade to a higher quality fuel for their vehicle should save their money and select a TOP TIER™ gasoline, not a higher-octane one.”
Stations that sell Top Tier gas add the extra detergent to all grades of fuel, even the cheap stuff.
Bottom line: AAA says drivers should use the type of gas recommended by their car’s manufacturer – whether it’s regular or premium – and fill up your tank at a Top Tier station.