"AAA's testing reveals that drivers could see modest gains in fuel economy and performance when opting for premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend, but do not require, the higher-octane fuel", Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center, said in a statement.
"AAA already proved that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in cars created to run on regular", said Garrett Townsend, AAA's Georgia public affairs director.
Gas prices at this time of year have varied greatly in recent years.
Across the country, the largest changes in average gas prices by state: DE (-5 cents), Colorado (-5 cents), ME (-4 cents), Oklahoma (-4 cents), Vermont (-4 cents), OH (+4 cents), Kentucky (-3 cents), Missouri (-3 cents), SC (-3 cents) and South Dakota (-3 cents).
While some vehicles are created to run on premium octane gasoline, others simply recommend it. AAA set out to determine the effects of using premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend it and whether the benefits in fuel economy and horsepower are worth the higher price at the pump.
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The national average for a gallon of regular gas fell 1 cent in the past week to $2.46, according to AAA. While the group's previous research determined there was no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle created to operate on regular fuel, the latest study found that "some vehicles - those that recommend, but do not require premium gasoline - may see increased fuel economy and performance under certain driving conditions when using the higher-octane gasoline".
The research suggests premium fuel works best on engines calibrated specifically for high octane. "Fewer than five years ago, only a 10 percent gap existed between premium and regular".
Premium-gas purchasers are paying about 25 percent more at the pump compared with the cost to fill up on regular fuel, AAA reported. Kansas gas prices have fallen 13 cents in the past month, and the state now has the 11th lowest gasoline prices in the nation.
Redman says the reason prices went up this fall is because we wanted to drive - demand was unseasonably high in October and November. It costs about 50 cents more per gallon, according to AAA. It will run just fine on Regular under most circumstances, he said.
American drivers of new vehicles are finding it increasingly hard to avoid paying premium prices, however, because almost half of all new models require premium gas, according to research from GasBuddy. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers.