Tips About Finding the Cheapest Gas; Do You Really Need High Octane?
We decided to revisit the issue of finding the cheapest gas prices using our area's zip code. A different route to locate all stations in our area was through MapQuest's gas pricing tool. And we updated the government's Fuel Economy site cited previously.
Perhaps one of the most information sites was not the usual that consumers might consult: The Federal Trade Commission answered a question many older women might ask. Are you tempted to buy a high octane gasoline for your car because you want to improve its performance?
First, the FTC's take followed by the opinion of our NPR Car Talk favorites, the brothers Magliozzi:
If so, take note: the recommended gasoline for most cars is regular octane. In fact, in most cases, using a higher octane gasoline than your owner's manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. It won't make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner. Your best bet: listen to your owner's manual.
The only time you might need to switch to a higher octane level is if your car engine knocks when you use the recommended fuel. This happens to a small percentage of cars.
Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money, too. Premium gas costs 15 to 20 cents per gallon more than regular. That can add up to $100 or more a year in extra costs. Studies indicate that altogether, drivers may be spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year for higher octane gas than they need.
And now, to Ray and Tom's unvarnished response:
QqQ: My owner's manual says my car will run just fine on regular, unleaded gas. Will "treating" it to premium gas provide any benefit?
Finding the Lowest Prices on Gas
At gasprices.mapquest.com, simply select a city and state or type in a zip code to find the lowest-priced gas in that area. Additional specifications can be made such as alternative fuel stations or different fuel grades, as well as sorting stations by distance or price.
If you want to use the gas consumption calculator at the top of the map, drivers must enter their total trip distance, miles per gallon, and the cost per gallon.
Tools on MapQuest.com may help consumers plan more effectively with replacement options, including:
(Photo from Wikipedia: Arne Jacobsen, Tankstation, Belysning)
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