Is Premium Gas Worth The Premium Price?

January 25, 2012

Price versus value: When is it worth the upgrade?  

 In today's economy, people want to know how they can keep their vehicles on the road for longer periods of time. Frequent maintenance will keep your car in good health, ensuring you get the most out of all those expensive-to-replace parts, according to the Car Care Council. When does it make sense to upgrade to a premium automotive product?

That's a question that stumps a lot of people when confronted with the wide range of prices for seemingly comparable products. Here are a few tips on common automotive product categories to help you make informed decisions.

Gasoline: Engines are designed to use a particular grade/octane of gasoline. While some auto manufacturers specify using a high-octane gasoline, some consumers purchase the higher octane gasoline based on the assumption that it's better for the car. However, there is no benefit in using a higher octane than recommended by the manufacturer. In fact, if you paid 40 cents a gallon extra to purchase super premium gas as opposed to regular, that would cost you an additional $320 a year (assuming 12,000 miles driven and 15 miles per gallon).

The bottom line: Don't use a higher octane rating than recommended by the car's manufacturer.  

Motor oil: Lubrication technology has seen significant improvements over the years. The longer oil life of high-performance synthetic motor oil allows for extended oil drains, saving time and money, and reducing the impact on the environment. Additionally, some high-performance synthetic oils have been reported to improve mileage as much as 3 percent or more. Three percent may not seem like a substantial amount, but it can result in hundreds of dollars in savings over the course of a year.

The bottom line: Upgrade to a high-performance synthetic motor oil for extended oil drains and improved fuel economy.

Wiper blades: Where you live is the critical factor in determining the value of upgrading to a premium wiper. There is a noticeable performance difference in low-cost wiper blades versus those specifically designed for rainy and snowy climates. Premium wiper blades are considerably sturdier and more durable than low priced blades.

The bottom line: Rainy and snowy climates justify spending a few dollars more for premium wiper blades.

Courtesy of ARA content