Today’s AAA National Average $2.361

Prices updated as of
5/23/17 3:41 am ET

Premium Fuel Research

Premium Fuel Research

Are you wasting money on premium gas?

If you’re one of the 16.5 million U.S. drivers that has used premium fuel despite the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation, press that 87 octane button and save yourself some money. AAA’s analysis found that there is no benefit to using premium fuel in a vehicle designed to run on regular gas.

‘Upgrading’ does not pay off

AAA tested regular and premium gasoline in vehicles designed to operate on regular-grade fuel. The laboratory testing found no significant improvement in horsepower, fuel economy or emissions, suggesting the practice of using premium gasoline when it’s not required for the vehicle offers no advantage.

The costs add up quickly: drivers unnecessarily used premium gasoline in their vehicle more than 270 million times in the past year, at a cost of $2.1 billion. A better option, according to AAA’s studies, would be to use a fuel that meets TOP TIER™ standards, which results in 19 times fewer engine deposits. Such deposits decrease vehicle performance and reduce fuel economy.

‘Premium’ does not mean higher quality

“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not necessarily higher quality.”

Some high-performance engines are specifically designed to operate on premium fuel and need the higher octane. Vehicles designed to run on regular gasoline cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating or produce more horsepower using premium fuel.

The safest strategy is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations found in your owner’s manual.

Additional resources:

AAA’s premium fuel report fact sheet