Premium gas doesn’t significantly boost car gas mileage

High-octane gas rarely improves mileage, and when it does, the benefit is outweighed by the premium cost.

With national gas prices still above $4 a gallon, many drivers are looking for ways to save on fuel wherever they can.

Some have wondered whether one way might be to try splurging on “premium” gas, in the hopes that it causes their car to perform more efficiently, thus cutting costs in the long run. Google search data shows people are searching for “premium gas mileage vs. regular,” and that searches related to premium gas spiked as prices rose following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

THE QUESTION

Can I save money by using premium gas to improve my fuel efficiency?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

No, premium gas won’t save you money by making your car more fuel efficient.

WHAT WE FOUND

Premium gas refers to gas with higher octane levels. High-octane gas is more stable than low-octane gas, meaning it’s less likely to spontaneously combust without a spark and cause “engine knocking,” when fuel burns unevenly causing abnormal pressure in the engine, which can cause damage or performance issues.

High-performance engines like those found in sports cars sometimes require high-octane gas. That’s because the higher-stress environment inside the engine can create conditions more prone to knocking.

However, most…

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