Consumer demand drops, gasoline prices trickle down

National Gas Price Average 12/11/17

However, according to new research by AAA, using more expensive premium gas on vehicles that don't require it is just throwing money away. The findings essentially erase the gray area for vehicles that carry manufacturer recommendations - but not requirements - for premium fuel. It's 32 cents higher than the price in MA was a year ago at this time- $2.17 per gallon.

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

"When it comes to gasoline, "premium" does not mean "better" if your vehicle doesn't require it", Nielsen, said of the AAA study.

"This becomes increasingly important as the difference between the cost of regular and premium gasoline grows", IHS Markit senior analyst Stephanie Brinley said.

Most vehicles showed a modest improvement in fuel economy and performance.

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

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AAA then pointed out that any savings from the increased fuel economy were more than offset by the much higher price for premium gas-according to AAA, the premium-grade gas often sells for 20-25% more than regular. "Fewer than five years ago, only a 10 percent gap existed between premium and regular".

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

Because prices for premium vary greatly across the USA, both AAA and GasBuddy urge drivers to shop around for the best prices.

The small gain in fuel economy is more than outweighed by premium's higher price. DeHaan said the Midwest is now seeing the largest gaps in prices between regular and premium. Six states in the region are on the top ten most expensive list for gasoline prices: Hawaii ($3.29), Alaska ($3.21), California ($3.13), Washington ($2.95), OR ($2.80) and Nevada ($2.68).

"In Chicago, some gas stations are charging $1 per gallon more", DeHaan said.

The company's testing found that paying for premium is not worth the extra money unless your vehicle actually requires it. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers.

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