AAA: Gas prices drop to five-week lows

Unless a vehicle requires it, premium gas largely a waste, study finds

"It's still important to remember that if your vehicle requires the use of premium gasoline, that you should still use it", said Jenkins.

AAA Northeast found in its weekly survey released Monday that the price of self-serve, regular is averaging $2.49 per gallon.

That means fuel savings are not enough to offset the cost difference between Regular and Premium gas.

AAA found self-serve, regular gasoline selling for as low as $2.31 per gallon and as high as $2.79 in MA.

The national average is down 2.7 cents per gallon in the last week from $2.47.

The company's testing found that paying for premium is not worth the extra money unless your vehicle actually requires it.

Some auto myths never really seem to go away, and one of the most pervasive is that you should fill your regular-gasoline-rated vehicle with premium gas, because it increases your fuel economy or horsepower.

Test vehicles included a Ford Mustang GT, Jeep Renegade, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Audi A-3, and Ford F150 XLT.

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Engines have to be calibrated to require higher-octane premium fuel to see the full benefit of using it, John Nielsen, the motoring club'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.

Follow the vehicle owner's manual to determine which type of gasoline to use.

"There's no question that higher-octane premium fuel has the potential to boost a vehicle's fuel economy and performance, however, engines have to be calibrated to require that fuel to see the full benefit", John Nielsen, AAA's Managing Director of Automotive Engineering and fix, said in a statement.

If your engine makes a "pinging" or "knocking" sound when using regular fuel in a vehicle that recommends premium gasoline, a higher-octane fuel may resolve the issue, but it's a good idea to have the vehicle checked by a reputable fix shop.

Kevin Bryant, an automotive technology instructor at Augusta Technical College, said modern engines' computer controls will adjust if owners use the wrong octane fuel.

Drivers looking for a higher quality fuel can select a TOP TIER gasoline.

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