You’ve probably heard it before…even if your car manufacturer recommends regular gas, many people suggest “treating” your car to premium gas at least once in a while to help it run better.
But that’s a myth. And it’s been busted.
According to AAA, you’re wasting money every time you fill up with premium if your owner’s manual recommends regular. Apparently, Americans are wasting $2.1 billion a year buying premium gasoline when their cars only need regular. A recent consumer survey showed that we filled up with unnecessary premium gas an estimated 270 million times in the last year. That’s a lot of money that could have gone back into our savings accounts!
A post originally shared on our Financial Resource Center shared some insight into how this myth may have gotten started:
An urban myth has grown up that “treating” your car at least occasionally with premium gas is a good idea. This notion may have started in the 1950s when premium gas contained a tetraethyl lead additive that prevented engine knock and helped engines run cleaner. It was promoted with slogans like: “Speedway is going steady with Ethyl.” Now all grades of gas are required to have engine-cleaning additives, excluding the toxic lead compound.
Having determined how many motorists were buying premium gas in place of regular, AAA continued with laboratory research to see if that premium gas conferred any benefits. Using a dynamometer—essentially a treadmill for cars—researchers determined that using premium in cars only requiring regular did not increase power or gas mileage nor cut down on polluting emissions.
“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume that the fuel is better for their vehicle,” says John Nielsen, AAA managing director of automotive engineering and repair. “Premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality.”
If you’re like most Americans, saving some money with regular gas is the right choice for you. The AAA research found that seventy percent of Americans drive cars that only need regular gasoline. Sixteen percent require premium fuel, while the remaining 14% need mid-grade gas or have an alternative power source like electric batteries.
So don’t be fooled by this urban myth any longer — try to see it as an easy way to boost savings without making any sacrifices!
For more information on fuel efficiency and easy ways to compare fuel-efficient vehicles online, check out our post on The 2017 Fuel Economy Guide, or visit our Auto Buying Resource Center. You’ll be well informed at the pump and on the dealer lots!