Americans burn billions on unneeded premium gas

Are you among the millions of Americans who like to "treat" their cars to an occasional tankful of premium gasoline? If so, you're not only not doing anything good for your car -- you're also contributing to a waste of some $2.1 billion every year.

Are you among the millions of Americans who like to “treat” their cars to an occasional tankful of premium gasoline? If so, you’re not only not doing anything good for your car -- you’re also contributing to a waste of some $2.1 billion every year.

That’s according to a new study from AAA, where researchers extrapolated from a consumer survey to determine that 16.5 million motorists filled up unnecessarily with premium gas an estimated 270 million times in the last year.

It seems an urban myth has become entrenched saying that fueling up now and then with gas having the highest-grade octane is a good idea, even if your car is designed to run on the regular stuff. This notion may have started in the 1950s, when premium contained a tetraethyl lead additive that prevented damaging engine knock (caused when fuel ignites prematurely in a cylinder’s combustion chamber) and helped engines run cleaner. 

For the complete story, visit CBSNews.com.


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