MIAMI (CBS) – Think you’re doing your car a favor by opting for premium gas? A new study from AAA says you’re better off saving your money.
“When it comes to gasoline, ‘premium’ does not mean ‘better’ if your vehicle doesn’t require it,” AAA’s John Nielsen said.
About 70 percent of U.S. drivers have vehicles that require regular gasoline. And yet, in the past year, 16.5 million drivers have unnecessarily used premium gas more than 270 million times, according to AAA.
That all adds up to $2.1 billion spent last year on gas your car doesn’t need.
AAA tests have shown that there’s no benefit to putting premium gasoline in a car that requires regular-grade fuel.
“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” Nielsen said. “AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality.”
The AAA research came up with some additional findings.
- 70 percent of Americans drive cars that need only regular gas, while 16 percent require premium and the remaining 14 percent need mid-grade gas or have an alternative power source like electric batteries.
- Modern engine-control systems can adjust automatically to deal with any problems from lower-octane gas, a capability not available in earlier decades.
- Getting scheduled maintenance done in a timely manner will help keep gas mileage higher and help the engine run better.
AAA recommends that drivers follow the recommendation in their owner’s manual when filling up.