Is Pricey Premium Gas Worth It?

Old Gas - Premium Prices
Wendy, Flickr

Fuel prices are making headlines, and they’re not the “pain at the pump” ones we’ve become used to in recent years. Prices are actually dropping, and as of this article’s live date (November 6, 2014), the national average is just below $3.00 per gallon. That’s welcome news, given those with low incomes spent nearly 13% of their income on fuel. But Americans don’t think the low fuel prices will last, according to The Washington Post, so they’re not willing to work the savings into any long-term financial plan.

In summer of 2014, when AAA pegged average gas prices at $3.64 per gallon, lots of people whose vehicles’ manufacturers recommended premium fuel were questioning whether high-performance gas was worth it. Now, that gas is more affordable, should those drivers take advantage of the savings, or reduce costs even further by fueling with regular-grade gas? Will a high-performance car run smoothly on regular gas?

Most people believe that premium gas will deliver better performance and extend the life of your vehicle. But according to the experts, this is bunk.

Did You Know:

  • Premium gas has always been recommended to eliminate knocking in your engine. But these days, cars are built with computerized knock sensors which take care of the problem.
  • The majority of engines were built to function on low-octane gas. This means that filling your tank with super unleaded is probably not going to give you any better performance than opting for lower grade.
  • The energy content of premium, mid-grade and regular unleaded is exactly the same: 111,400 BTU’s per gallon.
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Only vehicles specifically designated “high performance” are required to use premium gas. If you don’t own a Porsche, BMW M-Series, or a Corvette capable of going faster than most people would ever feel comfortable traveling, pumping high-octane gas into your tank is totally unnecessary.

With the high cost of gas and the promise of even higher prices to come, you need to take steps to maximize every gallon. This includes servicing your vehicle regularly and making sure your tires are properly inflated

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