AAA: Don’t Be Fueled: Premium Not Always Worth the Price

Fact Sheet / Full Report / Photos

Aurora, Ill., (December 14, 2017) — Do you buy premium gasoline when you don't need to? Some motorists think they are doing their car a favor. AAA released new research that shows paying-up for premium may not be worth the extra money, unless your vehicle absolutely requires it.  While some vehicles are designed to run on 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 Beth Mosher, director of public affairs for AAA. “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 wasting money at the pump."

Some motorists may consider the additional torque and horsepower to be worth the extra money. Individual drivers - particularly if their driving style can be described as "spirited" - may find an improvement in vehicle driving performance for off-the-line acceleration, highway passing, hill-climbing when loaded with luggage, or towing a trailer; and may determine that their personal driving benefits from the use of premium gasoline.

Premium Gas - Recommended vs. Required

"By offering a choice, automakers can market modest gains in fuel economy and performance, and car buyers are less likely to hesitate about buying the vehicle, because their operating costs will be lower," Mosher continued. "Unfortunately, by only recommending premium fuel, the engine cannot be calibrated to take full advantage of the higher octane, because it also needs to perform adequately with lower octane (regular) fuel. Therefore, the fuel economy and performance gains are only minor."

AAA Recommends

 
Higher Octane Does Not Mean "Higher Quality"

Find Local Gas Prices

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.4 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57.7 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.