Unless a vehicle requires it, premium gas largely a waste, study finds

National Gas Price Average 12/11/17

Michigan's current state average price for a gallon of regular gas is $2.50 vs. $3.16 for premium, a 66 cent difference.

Fuel economy improved by an average of only 2.7 percent when they used premium gas, while horsepower increased a meager 1.4 percent on average.

"Kansas motorists are now enjoying our typical downward gas price trend as we approach the end-of-year holiday driving season", said Jennifer Haugh, AAA Kansas spokeswoman.

So even if the manufacturer recommends it, premium gas may not be worth it, given the premium price, AAA researchers have concluded. Gasoline supply has recovered due to the lower demand in the last two weeks, largely helping put downward pressure on retail gasoline prices. The national average has fallen 2.5 cents per gallon in the last week.

"This becomes increasingly important as the difference between the cost of regular and premium gasoline grows", IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley said.

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Some 1.5 million cars and trucks were sold in the USA past year that advise motorists to use premium gas.

"It's still important to remember that if your vehicle requires the use of premium gasoline, that you should still use it", said Jenkins.

AAA tested Premium and Regular gasoline in six vehicles: a Ford F-150, a Cadillac Escalade, a Mazda Miata, an Audi A3, a Ford Mustang GT and a Jeep Renegade. But that's just an average.

The small gain in fuel economy is more than outweighed by premium's higher price. On average, vehicles produced 1.4% more horsepower using Premium. But most engines are created to run on Regular all the time.

Also, AAA added that this does not apply to vehicles that require premium. That means filling up a 20 gallon tank would cost an additional $10 when using premium fuel. "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", he said.

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