"Based on AAA's testing, vehicles that only recommend premium gasoline can't take full advantage of higher octane fuel and, as a result, the benefit that comes from upgrading to premium gasoline may not offset its high cost".
The answer: It makes a little difference in performance and fuel economy but not much.
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).
AAA said vehicles showed less than a 3 percent gain in miles per gallon and horsepower despite premium fuel's additional 20 percent to 25 percent cost.
The bottom line is that if your vehicle's manufacturer recommends but doesn't require premium fuel, and your engine isn't knocking when running in regular, you're fine to spend less on the cheaper fuel.
Still, you might want to spring for Premium sometimes, said Bill Studzinski, a fuels expert with General Motors, the company that makes the Escalade.
Test vehicles included everything from a Mazda Miata two-seats sports auto with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to a Cadillac Escalade with a big 5, o-liter V8 motor.
The average price in MI on December 11 was 26.2% - $2.513 a gallon for regular and $3.171 for premium, according to.
Fuel economy for test vehicles averaged a 2.7 percent improvement. Individual vehicle test results averages ranged from a decrease of 0.3 percent (2016 Jeep Renegade) to an improvement of 3.2 percent (2017 Ford Mustang).
Horsepower for test vehicles averaged an increase of 1.4 percent.
Today, gasoline costs an average $2.35 in New Orleans, according to AAA.
"Sometimes consumers think they are giving their vehicle a boost by buying a higher-grade gasoline than what is required", AAA spokesperson Susan Hiltz said in a statement.
While some vehicles are created to run on premium octane gas, others just recommend it.
Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said that average gas prices in the country were lower this week because of a large build in gasoline inventories and gasoline demand numbers have seen a reprieve.
In a study released a year ago, AAA found consumers wasted almost $2.1 billion fueling vehicles that neither recommended or required premium gasoline.
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