Local gas prices continue to drop

Local gas prices continue to drop

Fuel economy improved by an average of only 2.7 percent when they used premium gas, while horsepower increased a meager 1.4 percent on average.

"Cheaper winter gas prices are being seen for the bulk of the country as gasoline demand declines", said AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tammy Arnette.

So even if the manufacturer recommends it, premium gas may not be worth it, given the premium price, AAA researchers have concluded.

The local average was 23 cents per gallon lower than the national average of $2.47 per gallon. Drivers can expect pump prices to continue to drop heading into the holiday season as supply strengthens and fall gasoline demand weakens. 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 gap between premium and regular gas has been steadily rising since 2009, with the most dramatic increase occurring in the last two years", Jeanette Casselano, AAA gas price expert, said in a release. Engineers at AAA set out to see whether using Premium gas instead of Regular really makes a difference in these cars.

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Of course, the AAA study wasn't exactly high science-it (or, rather, the Auto Club of California, which actually physically ran the tests) tested only six different vehicles: a 3.5-liter Ecoboost Ford F-150, a 6.2-liter V8 Cadillac Escalade, a 5.0-liter V8 Ford Mustang, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder Mazda MX-5 Miata, a 1.8-liter four-cylinder Audi A3, and a 1.4-liter four-cylinder Jeep Renegade.

The findings fly (drive) in the face of the common-held belief, especially held by owners of luxury vehicles, that if you put premium into your tank, it will perform at an optimal level. But that's just an average.

"Based on AAA's testing, vehicles that only recommend premium gasoline can't take full advantage of higher octane fuel and, as a result, the benefit that comes from upgrading to premium gasoline may not offset its high cost".

In a study released previous year, AAA found consumers wasted almost $2.1 billion fueling vehicles that neither recommended or required premium gasoline. But most engines are created to run on Regular all the time.

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