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Save Money and Stop Buying Premium Gas

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,315
edited August 2015 in General
imageSave Money and Stop Buying Premium Gas

In the face of rising gas prices, you can typically switch to a lower fuel grade without hurting your car's engine. Here's why premium gas isn't a must.

Read the full story here


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Comments

  • famof3kidsfamof3kids Member Posts: 160
    Interesting Ford/GM/Chrysler have almost no cars that 'require' premium.
  • ianw33ianw33 Member Posts: 1
    If you take the average difference of 20 cents between regular and premium, then multiply it by the average gallon size of a tank (15 gallons).... you would only be saving $3 per fill up by using regular. Not really worth it.

    You can save more by just driving smarter, or less. Fuel your car with what it was designed to be fueled with.
  • kaloskalos Member Posts: 1
    This article didn't discuss the simple expedient of using mid-grade gas.

    In many gas stations, the difference between regular and premium exceeds 30 cents. At least half of this can be recovered by using mid-grade or blending. Yes, I'll keep the $1.50 per tank difference. Engine performance and mileage probably doesn't suffer at all.
  • rdaex1rdaex1 Member Posts: 1
    Lets try to focus on more fuel savings ideas that may ruin your car!
    1) Drive 50 in the fast lane, slow and steady saves fuel!! Just dont get run over!
    2) Take corners as fast as possible to minimize the need for acceleration
    3) Coast through red lights, eliminating more acceleration

    Seriously edmunds.. youre better than this
  • guillermoiiguillermoii Member Posts: 1
    Why was Suzuki not on either list? And the simple Honda Civic 4 cyl REQUIRES premium? I question your list. Using regular gas just won't give you the added octane to give you the boost the car was designed to have. REQUIRED is a market ploy.
  • centurion3centurion3 Member Posts: 0
    Great article. With my 2010 Mini Cooper S, I was wondering about the grade of fuel. Now I know. Thanks.John K.
  • FiifiFiifi Member Posts: 0
    What the hell, so I click on the link to see the chick and she's no where to be found. I see what you did there, Edmunds! Not funny, I tell ya, not funny at all!
  • kunk2kunk2 Member Posts: 1
    E-85 Good Idea, But it's price so what you save in money you lose in miles per gallon. So why use it. E`85 Why does it go up the same as gas? Only 15% of it is gas. If it was worth it to use people would use it. When people start using it, more work for people. The president said we have to create our own energy. Well isn't E-85 new energy. Why does it cost so much. (GREED) again.I e-mailed the E-85 people last year and wrote back that it's the retailers who set the price not them. All I know if the price was half what gas is MILLIONS of people who have flex fuel cars and trucks would be using it. After all it's 105 octane so there is no loss of power. The government needs to step in so they STOP killing us while new ways are developed.
  • igilsonigilson Member Posts: 1
    Saving money IS NOT CORRECT!! and E-85 is a waste of money.

    My car gets 8% better gas mileage on premium versus mid grade and 12% better than low grade.

    Gas cost $4.15 low grade and $4.35 premium in S.Cal
    4.15 times 1.12 is 4.65.
    So I use premium AND SAVE MONEY, !!!! I save $4.80 a tank and the car runs better.

    E-85 gets 30% less mpg than gasoline. The price of E-85 (where you can buy it) is $4.65. The gas equivalent price is over $6.00 a gallon. The futures price of ethanol is available in most newspapers. That is what drive the price of E-85
  • alhajikdaboalhajikdabo Member Posts: 1
    The average national retail price of premium self-serve gasoline currently is topping $3.78 a gallon. Fuel costs are leaping by nearly 40 cents a month. And drivers who are pumping premium are undoubtedly asking themselves if they can safely switch to regular, which is about 20 cents a gallon cheaper.....

    engine 2.5
  • meyrick007meyrick007 Member Posts: 23
    i don't get why a g37 coupe is under RECOMMENDED and a g37 sedan is under REQUIRED when both engines are the same.... confused here...
  • markn6markn6 Member Posts: 1
    If premium gas is 20 cents more and you get 3 mpg better gas mileage, based on a 15 gallon tank and 25-28 mpg. you could get and additional 45 more miles for only $3.00 more. Sounds like a deal to me.
  • dtrudtru Member Posts: 1
    I thought this site gave trustworthy advice... I was wrong.

    Use the octane that your manufacturer RECOMMENDS. Why would you listen to anyone else other than the people who engineered your engine?

    Example: Dodge recommends 89 but you can use 87. When you use 87 it reduces timing which hurts performance and MPG. So using 89 and in some areas 91 if the gas quality is low, will actually give you higher MPG which ends up saving you more money then using 87.
  • mnfarmgirlmnfarmgirl Member Posts: 2
    I buy Premium gas because I don't want ETHANOL in my gas, which is required here in MN.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 236,920

    I buy Premium gas because I don't want ETHANOL in my gas, which is required here in MN.

    Don't know about Minnesota, but our premium here still contains ethanol.. I'd have to drive over 50 miles to find gas without ethanol.

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  • mnfarmgirlmnfarmgirl Member Posts: 2
    kyfdx said:

    I buy Premium gas because I don't want ETHANOL in my gas, which is required here in MN.

    Don't know about Minnesota, but our premium here still contains ethanol.. I'd have to drive over 50 miles to find gas without ethanol.
    They are just starting to carry it now in Minnesota, just a 1 or 2 pumps at a station. Can't wait till they stop producing it "ethanol". It is cost prohibitive and a waste of our natural water.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Pure-gas.org maintains a list of ethanol free gas stations. None near me either (not that I noticed any difference when I ran a tank a couple of years ago).
  • janus287janus287 Member Posts: 1
    For Infinti, many models have the same engine (VQ37VHR) with same HP, yet only two (QX70 and Q60 convertible) are listed as "Premium Required", while all the rest (many more models with same engine, same compression, and same HP) )are "Premium Recommended" Owner's manual for all have the "Premium Required" wording, warning to use regular only for temporary periods.

    Article does warn to check manual, but I think the list is not accruate.
  • hreaglehreagle Member Posts: 1
    @kunk2 Your assertion that E85 gives no loss of power because it's high octane is bogus. Alcohol has less energy per gallon than gasoline does and in a normally aspirated engine your power loss is huge compared to burning pure gasoline. Also your mileage is going to suffer drastically. Now if you're running a turbocharger or supercharger it's possible to drastically increase your power because you can run much higher boost, but along with that extra power comes a drastic reduction in Mileage because you have to mix a much richer air/alcohol ratio than air/gasoline to achieve a proper burn.
  • tbear10tbear10 Member Posts: 1
    The 2016 Volvo XC90 user manual says that a minimum of 91 Octane is REQUIRED contrary to what the list referenced in this article says.
  • MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 241,133
    tbear10 said:

    The 2016 Volvo XC90 user manual says that a minimum of 91 Octane is REQUIRED contrary to what the list referenced in this article says.

    You do realize that the source article is almost 5 years old?

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  • MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 241,133
    Michaell said:

    tbear10 said:

    The 2016 Volvo XC90 user manual says that a minimum of 91 Octane is REQUIRED contrary to what the list referenced in this article says.

    You do realize that the source article is almost 5 years old?
    Further investigation reveals that the documents in the article are incorrect about the use of premium in the XC90.

    I stand corrected!

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  • veedub8veedub8 Member Posts: 2
    As an example, the 2015 Infiniti Q40 and 2015 Infiniti Q50 have the same 3.7L engine, yet one is required and one is recommended. This does not clarify the confusion.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Think aftermarket performance chips. The manufacturers can do that too with the engine computer(s). So the same engine can be "tuned" differently at the factory. Things like advancing the timing. And the exhaust system and/or intake could be different too.

    Clear as biodiesel straight from algae now, right? :D
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,707
    Could be, but in my case the 3.0 V6 in my ES300 had the same specs as the 3.0 V6 in the Camry - everything identical. Yet premium was 'recommended' for the ES and not the Camry. I tried both, found no difference, so I used regular.
  • magicbiddiemagicbiddie Member Posts: 1
    All Volkswagen gas powered engines made in the last 12 years can run fine on Regular. My GTI is a little quicker on Premium but not much.
  • MichaellMichaell Moderator Posts: 241,133

    All Volkswagen gas powered engines made in the last 12 years can run fine on Regular. My GTI is a little quicker on Premium but not much.

    Here in CO, 87 Octane is "mid grade", and is what I use in my 2016 Jetta with the 1.4T

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  • JonE_112JonE_112 Member Posts: 1
    The lists are not entirely accurate. I checked my owners manual (2017 Shelby GT350) and the car requires minimum 91 octane fuel which is Premium fuel. 93 octane is recommended; minimum 91 octane is required.
  • GstavisGstavis Member Posts: 1
    The list is incorrect as to an Alfa Romeo Guilia. The 2018 manual, p. 196, states that “the engine will provide satisfactory fuel economy and performance when using high-quality regular gasoline having an octane number of 87.” 91 or higher octane is for “optimal performance.” Since the engine is rated at 280hp and 26 combined mpg, losing perhaps 2% of the power and mileage in return for $.50 or more a gallon is no sacrifice at all.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 236,920
    Gstavis said:

    The list is incorrect as to an Alfa Romeo Guilia. The 2018 manual, p. 196, states that “the engine will provide satisfactory fuel economy and performance when using high-quality regular gasoline having an octane number of 87.” 91 or higher octane is for “optimal performance.” Since the engine is rated at 280hp and 26 combined mpg, losing perhaps 2% of the power and mileage in return for $.50 or more a gallon is no sacrifice at all.

    Maybe... where do you get the 2% number?

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  • EvDiggEvDigg Member Posts: 1
    I had a 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 up until a couple years ago. It was "Premium Recommended". I did some testing for a few months on that though, and found I was getting 15-20% fewer miles per tank of gas when using regular unleaded. I then took a look at the cost difference between regular and premium ($0.50/gallon at the time) and the price of gas ($3.50/gallon at the time for regular) to determine that above a certain price level I was saving money by using premium gas, while below that price level I was saving money using regular gas. Just some food for thought.
  • EliorsasEliorsas Member Posts: 1
    Hey, for a volkswagen gti 2010 automatic (2L)
    premium gas is merely recommended or it's required?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 236,920
    Eliorsas said:

    Hey, for a volkswagen gti 2010 automatic (2L)
    premium gas is merely recommended or it's required?

    Have you looked on the inside of fuel filler door? Usually, it's right there.

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  • Kev990Kev990 Member Posts: 1
    I would like to know for a lexus rx350 2010-2011
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,707
    For the RX350, what does the owners manual say?
  • aerotusaerotus Member Posts: 3

    Sounds fine and dandy. My eleven year old high mileage V6 RAV4 runs so much better on premium that it's worth it. Most articles written about what fuel to use seem to neglect talking about the benefits, or not, of using varying fuels in older vehicles.

  • VolvoShitBoxVolvoShitBox Member Posts: 2

    my car on regular (87 octane) only gets 24 MPG and on premium (93 octane) gets 33 MPG. Almost 10 MPG better! That being said my engine has 293K miles on it so probably a reason for that. But the savings in economy balance out for me atleast the additional cost so it’s worth it for me to use premium as probably better cleaning agents and [non-permissible content removed] in premium fuel blends I do notice a small bump in power too.

    I also tested 100 octane race fuel (made sure was same 10% ethanol blend as the pumps) out of curiosity and only bumped up to 34.5 MPG from 33 MPG of 93 octane premium and can’t say I felt any more power vs premium so seems at the peak of this engine’s efficiency with premium fuel..

  • VolvoShitBoxVolvoShitBox Member Posts: 2

    @EvDigg said:
    I had a 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 up until a couple years ago. It was "Premium Recommended". I did some testing for a few months on that though, and found I was getting 15-20% fewer miles per tank of gas when using regular unleaded. I then took a look at the cost difference between regular and premium ($0.50/gallon at the time) and the price of gas ($3.50/gallon at the time for regular) to determine that above a certain price level I was saving money by using premium gas, while below that price level I was saving money using regular gas. Just some food for thought.

    Absolutely I have a 2011 XC70 with T6 engine as well and 293K miles and I see an extra 9 MPG using premium. Also a small but noticeable bump in power..

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