Drivers who buy premium fuel may pay a higher premium for it than they realize.
Over the past several years — during which the cost of regular gas has been falling — the premium on premium gas has been creeping upward, Automotive News reports.
As of last month, premium gas cost 48 cents per gallon — or 27 percent — more than regular, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
In 2011, premium gas cost 25 cents per gallon — or just 7 percent — more than regular gas.
An extra 48 cents per gallon may not sound like much, especially for drivers who can afford the luxury and high-performance vehicles that tend to call for premium fuel. But Automotive News explains how that can add up:
At current prices, buying premium would cost an average driver several hundred dollars more this year, and potentially several thousand over the life of a vehicle. The sudden shift has effectively wiped out the fuel-economy advantage claimed by some models with turbocharged engines that demand premium …
If an extra 48 cents per gallon is enough to make you think twice about paying the current premium on premium gas, it might be time to double-check whether your car really needs it. After all, the best way to save on something is to not buy it.
Ideally, consult the manual for your car to double-check whether it requires premium. If you’ve lost your manual, check the manufacturer’s website or that of a third party like Edmunds.com. You can also look up your car at the U.S. Department of Energy’s www.fueleconomy.gov for all kinds of fuel details.
As Money Talks News has been telling you for years in stories like “29 Ways You Waste Cash,” you don’t need premium gas unless your car requires it.
For example, Nissan recommends premium gas for its Maxima and Juke. But Automotive News reports that Tiago Castro, senior manager of product planning for Nissan North America, says it’s not required:
“We recommend premium fuel, but customers can feel free to use regular. At some point, they may not see the value in premium. We make it clear it’s recommended, not required.”
What’s your take on premium gas? Do you spend extra for it? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.