When Gas Becomes Cheaper, Americans Buy More Expensive Gas
J Thoendell stashed this in Cars
When gas prices fall, Americans reliably do two things that don’t make much sense.
And they don’t just buy more gasoline. They switch from regular gas to high-octane.They spend more of the windfall on gasoline than they would if the money came from somewhere else.
A new report by the JPMorgan Chase Institute, looking at the impact of lower gas prices on consumer spending, finds the same pattern as earlier studies. The average American would have saved about $41 a month last winter by buying the same gallons and grades. Instead, Americans took home roughly $22 a month. People, in other words, used almost half of the windfall to buy more and fancier gas.
The source says premium gas is a waste of money:
Relying on these sensors, the engine controller can keep each cylinder's spark timing advanced right to the hairy edge of knock, providing peak efficiency on any fuel and preventing the damage that knock can do to an engine. But, noted Schiller, only a few vehicles calibrated for regular fuel can advance timing beyond their nominal ideal setting when burning premium.
So basically, if you have a specially calibrated car premium might be worth it.
But for most cars premium is just a waste of money.
Reddit weighs in on my vehicle's specific fuel requirements:
"Your cap and manual say 91 minimum. Don't go below that unless you have no other choice."
Yeah a few vehicles need the premium for some reason. But most vehicles don't need premium.