New study from motoring and travel organization AAA has found that U.S. drivers last year. wasted more than $2.1 billion premium gasoline.
The research shows that roughly 16.5 million Americans buy premium gasoline, even when their car manufacturers don’t recommend it, ABC News reports. And, in partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA found that using premium fuel in a car that only requires regular-grade fuel actually won’t provide any benefits — it’ll just cost you more money at the gas pump.
“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, said in a press release. “When it comes to gasoline, ‘premium’ does not mean ‘better’ if your vehicle doesn’t require it.”
To conduct the study, researchers used cars with three different types of engines designed to operate using regular-grade fuel. They were tested with both fuel types on a dynamometer (a.k.a. a treadmill for cars), which ABC News reports is designed to measure horsepower, fuel economy and tailpipe emissions. The result? There were “no significant increases in any tested category,” which means that using premium gas when a vehicle doesn’t need it “offers no advantage,” according to the AAA press release.
ABC News reports that AAA is hoping to use its findings to encourage drivers to follow the fuel recommendations listed in their vehicles’ manuals. Gordon Grajek, a test engineer for the Good Housekeeping Institute, agrees that following your car manufacturer’s fuel recommendations is best.
“I would say, as a general rule, to just use regular unleaded gasoline unless your car requires premium. Sports sedans or sports cars may require premium and will state this on the gas cap or next to it,” Grajek says. “Using premium gas in a car that doesn’t require it may give a slight boost to fuel economy — premium burns more efficiently — but it generally isn’t enough to justify the difference in cost.”
So, here’s to having a research-backed reason to spend less money on gas!