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Americans Waste Money on Premium Gas

According to research by the automobile club AAA, in a report released Tuesday September 20th, there is no sense paying for premium gasoline if your car is designed to run on regular gas.

Some drivers like to think that they can improve their vehicle performance with premium gas. Premium blends typically cost about 50 cents a gallon more than regular.

But AAA says it's just money wasted . In a national survey, AAA said 16.5 million U.S. drivers spent $2.1 billion they didn't need to in the past year by buying premium gasoline.

AAA researchers discovered that while it has more octane, premium gas does not increase horsepower or fuel economy, nor does it decrease emissions or clean engines any better than regular gas.  Most cars are designed by their manufacturer to run on 87-octane regular.  Manufacturers only recommend premium gas for 16% of the vehicles that they build which are usually performance or luxury model vehicles.  luxury and performance brands often use turbocharging or supercharging to get better performance out of smaller engines, and those may require premium gas.

John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of automotive engineering at AAA says, "Drivers see the 'premium' name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle."  But if your owner's manual says to run your car on 93 octane premium or 89 octane mid-grade gas, you should do it to make it perform optimally, according to the researchers.

AAA researchers joined with the Automobile Club of Southern California to test V8, V6 and four-cylinder engines, coming up with the same results each time, Nielsen said.

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