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Is Premium Gas Worth It?

Joan asks on Twitter: “Is premium worth it in high performance cars?”

Not necessarily. The main difference with premium gas, besides the fact that it’s 30 cents per gallon pricier than regular fuel, is that the octane rating is higher, which means your engine can run more efficiently and be given more horsepower. Simply put, an octane rating is a measure of the fuel’s energy potential. If that’s something you’re interested in because you drive a high-performance vehicle, then premium may be worth it.

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That said, if your engine prefers high octane gas but you feed it regular, its performance will only suffer slightly, running about half a second slower from zero to 60 mph, according to experts at online auto research site Edmunds.com. It’s not a major sacrifice, unless you’re in a super hurry to get somewhere.

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You can always follow what’s mentioned in your car’s manual, but even then, only pay strict attention to the print if premium is “required.” Usually premium is just a “recommendation,” in which case you don’t need to to pay up. Thanks to modern auto technology, experts say your car will likely adjust without a problem.

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If you want to save money, try lower grade fuels and if there’s no noticeable difference when you accelerate, you’re good to go. However, if you a notice a decrease in your engine’s power, or hear a pinging or rattling noise coming from your engine, Edmunds suggest using the next highest-rated fuel.

We want to hear from you. Do you think premium gasoline is worth it for your car? Why or why not? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit.