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U.S. Drivers Waste $2.1 Bil a Year on Premium Gas

No need to “baby” your car, says AAA.

by on Sep.20, 2016

Always pick your blend according to what the owner's manual recommends.

If you’re occasionally babying your car by filling the tank up with premium-grade gas, you might want to think twice about throwing away good money.

A new study by AAA confirms that if your car runs on regular, that’s all you need. Filling up with a higher octane fuel doesn’t improve performance, mileage or emissions. It just wastes about $2.1 billion annually.

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“Many drivers think they are giving their car a treat by occasionally filling up with premium-grade gasoline, even though their vehicle calls for regular unleaded,” said Gary Bubar, an official with AAA – The Auto Club Group. “The consensus has been that higher octane does not mean higher quality.”


Shell Launching Higher Grade Fuel – But do You Need Premium at All Today?

“Babying” your car might just waste your money.

by on Jun.01, 2015

A Shell gas pump.

Used to seeing three grades of gasoline at your local service station? Shell has begun introducing another, a premium-plus grade that the Dutch-based energy company claims can improve efficiency while also reducing engine wear.

Whether other oil companies will follow Shell’s lead remains to be seen, but the addition of the V-Power NiTRO+ could further confuse consumers who already may be wondering whether to fill up with regular, mid-grade or premium fuel.

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While many buyers think they should “baby” their cars by going for a higher octane rating, experts suggest sticking with the fuel actually recommended by the manufacturer – and even downgrading on occasion.

New fuels like NiTRO+ are being pitched for more than just higher octane, however. “Nitro+ adds protection against wear and corrosion to the detergents our gasoline already contains,” claims Shell researcher Ed Nelson.


Top 10 Misconceptions About Fuel Economy

What you know about getting better mileage may be wrong.

by on May.13, 2010

Upgrade to premium and get better mileage? Nope? You're just throwing your money away, says the EPA.

Downsize to a small car, change your air filter every few months, let your cold car warm up before driving off, use premium fuel and aftermarket additives.

These are just some of ways not to improve your fuel economy. Conventional wisdom is often wrong, says the Environmental Protection Agency, which is tasked with tracking and regulating vehicle mileage under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE standards.

Even some of the most knowledgeable enthusiasts and experts may get it wrong when it comes to taking the right steps to improve mileage.  In some cases, that’s because of changing technology, the EPA reports on

In the era of the carburetor, a dirty air filter had a direct and immediate impact on mileage, but “Modern computer-controlled, fuel-injected engines regulate the air-fuel mixture so well that a dirty air filter does not decrease fuel economy—although it can still affect performance,” the EPA notes.

You may also get a surprise when you check the mileage numbers for manual transmissions.  Traditionally, sticks did better than automatics, but the latest automatics are lighter and more efficient, with lock-up torque converters that reduce losses, especially at highway speeds.  The 2011 Ford Mustang V6 is a notable exampe, rated at 31 mpg Highway with the automatic gearbox, 29 mpg with the manual.

Even downsizing is no guarantee of better.  Mustang’s numbers are actually better than a number of smaller cars, and with hybrid or diesel powertrains, some midsize models are outperforming subcompacts.

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Here are the Top 10 Misconceptions About Fuel Economy, according to the EPA:

1. You have to drive a small car to get good fuel economy.

2. Manual transmissions always get better fuel economy than automatics.