That premium gas you're buying is a waste of money, AAA says


If the manufacturer doesn't require premium gas, don't put it in your car.

That's according to a AAA study, which found drivers in the United States wasted more than $2.1 billion over the past year by using premium fuel when their vehicle is designed to run on regular gas.

Seventy percent of vehicles being driven in the United States are designed to use regular fuel, AAA says, but roughly 16.5 million drivers are putting premium gas in their cars when they don't need to.

This can add up to motorists paying hundreds of dollars more a year, the Federal Trade Commission says. A gallon of premium gas in Minnesota can cost up to 40 cents more than a gallon of regular, according to AAA's website.

Premium doesn't mean higher quality

Not only is premium gas more expensive, but there's really no benefit, AAA's study found, with the agency noting premium doesn't mean higher quality.

Premium actually means there's a higher octane rating in the fuel (usually 92 or 93). An octane rating measures a fuel's ability to resist "engine knock" (that rattling or pinging sound during combustion), the Federal Trade Commission says, and certain vehicles are designed to use fuel with higher octane levels to prevent damage to the engine.

"Premium gasoline is specifically formulated to be compatible with specific types of engine designs and most vehicles cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating," Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, said in the news release.

Buy Top Tier gas instead

If you're looking for a higher-qualify fuel, AAA suggests filling up with a Top Tier gasoline instead. Not only will it save you money over buying premium gas when you don't need it, but it's also proven to increase the performance of your vehicle and improve fuel economy, AAA says.

To find out what type of gas your vehicle needs, the Federal Trade Commission suggests checking your vehicle owner's manual. And remember, octane levels for premium and regular fuels can vary across the country.

Next Up

coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2

Minnesota confirms America's 1st case of Brazil P.1 COVID strain

The strain was found in a Twin Cities metro resident who recently traveled to Brazil.


Gov. Walz announces education plan aimed at eliminating disparities

The plan covers seven categories, including closing the racial education gap and improving opportunities in rural Minnesota

Tax forms

Charges: Otsego cleaning business underreported sales

An Otsego woman is accused of owing more than $20,500 in sales tax, penalties and interest.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 2.58.26 PM

Walz gives vaccine providers 3-day, 7-day deadlines to use doses

Those that don't use their allocation will be given less in the future.


Border officers seize more than $550K in counterfeit designer goods

The shipments of fake goods were seized on Jan. 22.

Landfill plastic bags

4 Twin Cities landfills seek to expand capacity

This comes as the area's waste-to-energy facilities are operating at capacity.

Marcus Carr

3 of 10 finalists for NCAA's top point guard award have MN ties

Not a bad way to represent the State of... Basketball?

Justice, court

Minnesota grants unconditional pardon to grandmother facing deportation

Gov. Tim Walz says it's the first full pardon granted by the state in 35 years.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota changes vaccine appointment process, here's what to know

Walz also announced plans for a mass vaccination event at Xcel Energy Center.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, Jan. 25

The latest figures from MDH have been released.

covid-19, vaccine

Minnesota health leaders say state's vaccine progress better than figures suggest

Minnesota is lagging behind national vaccination rates, but MDH leaders say this is because it's holding 2nd doses in reserve.


Dayton says Republicans' plan to hold hearings is a ploy, waste of money

Some Republican state lawmakers want to hold hearings to discuss whether the governor has the authority to let day-care workers form unions. But Dayton says holding hearings before he's even decided whether to take action is just a political show.