US drivers waste $2.9b on premium fuel
UNITED States consumers wasted billions of dollars last year filling their cars with costly premium-grade petrol for no tangible benefit, according to a study by the country's leading motorist advocacy group.
The report by Florida-based AAA comes as low pump prices and a growing economy enticed US motorists to buy more premium-grade petrol in June than in any month since 2003, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
While most cars on US roads are designed to use regular petrol, the study found that motorists still use premium grade in the hopes of achieving more horsepower and better fuel economy.
As a result, they spent an estimated US$2.1 billion (S$2.9 billion) extra by using premium petrol in vehicles designed for regular fuel.
Premium provides little or no benefit to cars designed to run on lower octane, regular petrol, the study said.
What distinguishes premium from other grades is its increased ability - expressed in octane - to resist premature detonation as it is compressed in the engine before ignition.