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Is Premium Gas a Waste of Your Money?


The average person who isn’t car savvy may find themselves wondering, “Is premium fuel worth it?” Sometimes your car salesman (or nosy father or husband) will insist it is what you should use. Unless you’re rocking a luxurious ride, premium fuel is probably a waste of money. We repeat: unless you’ve got a Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, or other car of the like, stop putting premium fuel in your car. Simply put, it’s not worth it.

Admittedly, we’re not car experts, but the folks at the American Automobile Association (AAA) are! According to AAA research, premium gasoline offers some benefit to select vehicles (as mentioned above), but it has become exceedingly expensive for drivers. In the past few years, the price gap between premium and regular has jumped from 10 percent to 25 percent more per gallon.

A 25-percent price hike obviously makes a huge difference, and the fact that some of us have been paying for premium fuel under the pretenses that was better for our cars is, well, frustrating. AAA continued:

“While past AAA research has shown no benefit in using premium gasoline in a vehicle designed to operate on regular fuel, new testing indicates some vehicles – those that recommend, but do not require premium gasoline – may see increased fuel economy and performance under certain driving conditions when using the higher-octane gasoline.

Unfortunately, the high cost of premium gasoline may outweigh that advantage for many drivers. As a result, AAA recommends drivers weigh the potential benefits against the cost of using premium gasoline, if their vehicle does not require it.”

It’s common for people (cough men cough) to give their two cents about your car when they aren’t qualified to do so, but just because someone recommends premium fuel for your car does not mean your car absolutely requires it. Consequently, AAA found drivers wasted nearly $2.1 billion dollars fueling cars with premium that neither recommend nor require it.

So next time you’re at the pump, try to give your car what it needs, rather than what your dad or husband says it needs. Otherwise, you might just be pumping money out of your pockets.

This post originally appeared on our sister site, FHM.

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