Americans Waste $2.1 Billion Per Year Buying Premium Fuel They Don't Need


Remember, if your car doesn't need premium, you're just wasting your money by buying it.

Consumers don’t seem to get it. Adding premium fuel to a car that does not require it has absolutely no positive effect on the engine and unfortunately, it’s an easy mistake to make for those who do not know the difference. Making matters worse is the fact that energy companies that supply gasoline know this and in turn market their premium fuel as the best alternative. According to the AAA, this tactic works because each year, American drivers waste $2.1 billion buying premium gasoline for cars that do not need the fuel.

For those still in the dark, let us reiterate: if your owner’s manual doesn’t explicitly say that your car needs premium fuel, don’t buy it under any circumstances. It’s not that it will do any harm to the engine, but it also won’t do a single bit of good. In no way is it better than regular gasoline. In fact, the different types of fuel are more like shoe sizes. Some cars have smaller feet and others have larger feet but in either case, it’s best to buy the shoe that matches. It gets worse when you realize why the price of premium is higher than regular. You’d be excused for being confused about this because the AAA also found that many gas companies market their premium fuels as the better option in hopes that consumers will make the unnecessary purchase.

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As a result, there are many consumers who wrongfully think that by spending the extra, they are investing to extend the life of their engine or that springing for a high-octane “treat” here and there will keep engine components clean. That notion is also untrue, but it is true that buying a certain type of more expensive fuel is actually better for your engine. That would be any gas station marketed as Top Tier Detergent Gasoline. On average, gas stations that have been approved by Top Tier charge 3 cents more per gallon, but according to the AAA, the relatively minor investment is worth it. Currently, a third of US gasoline stations fall under that category and you can find them by visiting Top Tier’s site.

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