Turns out 'recommended' Premium gas doesn't do much

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As a result, AAA recommends drivers weigh the potential benefits against the cost of using premium gasoline if their vehicle doesn't require it.

"The gap between premium and regular gas has been steadily rising since 2009, with the most dramatic increase occurring in the last two years", Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert, said in a release.

Past AAA research showed no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle created to operate on regular fuel.

"The modest fuel economy improvements found in AAA tests do not offset the higher cost of premium gasoline".

On average, this year in MI, there has been a 26 percent (64 cent) price gap between regular and premium octane fuel ($2.44 vs. $3.08).

"This becomes increasingly important as the difference between the cost of regular and premium gasoline grows", IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley said.

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"Premium fuel has the potential to boost a vehicle's fuel economy and performance, but engines have to be calibrated to require that fuel to see the full benefit", said John Nielsen, AAA's managing director of Automotive Engineering and fix.

Of course, there are some vehicles that explicitly say "premium fuel only", which is a good thing to abide by if you don't want your engine to knock when you drive. The vehicles AAA tested averaged just a 1.4% increase in horsepower. "Individual vehicle test result averages ranged from a decrease of 1% (2016 Audi A3) to an improvement of 7.1% (2016 Cadillac Escalade)", the agency said. These vehicles could sustain damage from prolonged use of Regular gasoline.

Since drivers of these vehicles are unlikely to see any benefit from using premium gasoline during typical city or highway driving, a combination of laboratory and on-road tests were performed to simulate extreme driving scenarios such as towing, hauling cargo, and aggressive acceleration. "AAA already proved that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in cars created to run on regular".

The research suggests premium fuel works best on engines calibrated specifically for high octane. In 2004 an industry coalition created a designation known as "Top Tier" gasoline based on their detergent additives and other qualities.

Octane is not a measurement of the amount of energy in gasoline, but of the fuel's resistance to "knock", or burning before it's meant to.