Is premium worth it?

Car and Driver did an evaluation of regular vs. premium in four different turbocharged vehicles: not financially worth it, and no difference at all for the CR-V.

Depends on the vehicle and what the driver’s goals are. The Ecoboost F-150 had decent gains. I’d be more interested in seeing the numbers when you fill up with regular on cars that recommend/require premium though.


Agreed. I didn’t notice a performance difference with my mother’s 2002 Toyota Sienna, which only recommended high octane fuel. If I had a high performance vehicle, like one of BMW’s motorcycles, that requires high octane fuel, I’d definitely use it.

I said ‘financially worth it’. None of the cars’ mpgs increased enough to pay off the price difference. Performance wise, that’s a different thing.

I’m not sure how finance factors into this, but I see the possibility of voiding the warranty on a vehicle that requires high octane fuel as an issue.

Do any modern cars require high octane fuel, other than cars that cost more than a house?

Some folks have previously posted that the added cost of premium could be paid for by the better mpgs. Not for these 4 vehicles. And they didn’t violate the warranty requirements in the tests. The BMW warns against damage using regular, so they used mid grade.

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First off a disclaimer I’m not qualify to make a opinion or a recommendation that say I would like to share my observation
Like everyone said the benefits of higher octane fuel are dependent on the vehicle, altitude the compression ratio and if it’s s naturally-aspirated or forced induction.
If the car is forced induction supercharged or turbocharged then I’ll follow manufactures recommend octane and fuel guidelines. Also if a vehicle has a high engine compression ratio 10 or 11 then again I would use a higher octane.
Most engines have octane sensors and knock sensors that can retard the trimming and the spark.
So basically I would feel safe using a cheaper octane gas that recommend if my car is not super or turbo charged and if it does have a really high compression ratio. This is what I would do to my own car
Not a recommendation or an opinion just an observation

I have found gasoline receipts for regular unleaded in premium required vehicles but have never had the desire to attempt to “void” the warranty, the gasoline has nothing to do with routine warranty repairs.

Mechanically speaking, on a modern day car, there is no benefit to using premium if the engine is designed for regular.

Now the other way around, I also see no financial benefit to using regular in an engine designed for premium. The difference in price for a tank of gas amounts to a cup of coffee. The savings is all psychological.


I am really surprised to see the only non-turbo engined car to post such a large gain in HP and torque. I think the Charger would have posted better performance numbers with better tires.

That said, seems as if the advice to follow what the manufacturer requires is correct.

We will still get posts asking if people can run 87 octane in $45,000 cars that require 91 or 93.

My SIL whines about paying for premium fuel and their household income approaches $200K a year!

Yeah, that always gets me. I suspect it’s what the younger set calls a humble-brag. “I’m rich enough to afford a car that requires premium, and I want people to know I’m that rich, but don’t want to be seen as bragging, so I’ll whine about having to spend extra money on it as though it’s a hardship.”

Doesn’t really fool anyone.

Of course, the opposite side of that is the guy who picks up a 15 year old BMW M5 for 300 bucks because no one wants the headache of a 15 year old unreliable car that costs a fortune to fix, and then figures out he’s gotta choose between premium fuel and lunch on Friday.

The difference between low octane, mid-grade, and high-octane used to be as low as $0.10/gallon, but I’ve noticed the difference between high octane and low octane has gotten a lot bigger, and the difference between high octane and low octane can be as high as $1.19/gallon.

Unless you have a small fuel tank or you drink very expensive coffee, it doesn’t add up under those conditions. Where are you buying coffee where they charge $10-17 per cup?

I only drink Black Ivory coffee from Thailand. The cherries are fed to elephants and the beans are harvested once they pass through. It’s $500 a pound. I thought everyone drank that.

Hanging out with you poors is getting awkward. :wink:


I’ve seen a cost difference of $0.70/gal at the Cumberland Farms here in southern NH. $1.29/gal is nuts. Manufacturing cost differences is just pennies.

Ewwww! I have had poop coffee before but that was just really bad stuff from a hospital vending machine!

What is the other coffee like this… Civet cat coffee? Can’t remember its actual name.


Kopi Luwak.

“We secretly replaced his regular coffee with cat crap. Let’s see if he notices!”


If you can’t remember the name Kopi Luwak, you probably haven’t seen the movie The Bucket List. It’s a good movie if you ever get a chance, and it has a great scene where they race classic muscle cars. Unfortunately, we’ve already spoiled what might be the funniest joke in the movie.

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I remember the movie, just haven’t seen it. Must remember to look for it on Netflix

I see a price difference of about .40/gallon around here. Let’s say you drive 300 miles a week at 15 miles/gallon. You’re going to buy 20 gallons a week. That’s $8. I can’t buy lunch at Subway for that.

The fact remains that in terms of car ownership $8 a week is insignificant.

Here’s an explanation of the increased premium ‘premium’: