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The American Automobile Association (AAA) has released a new report with a simple message for the majority of U.S. drivers: stop wasting money on premium gasoline.

According to the organization’s survey, many consumers have the incorrect notion that buying premium fuel for their vehicle can increase its performance. However, for the vast majority of cars, it doesn’t – and this has made an impact on consumers’ wallets. The survey found that 16.5 million U.S. drivers spent an additional $2.1 billion on premium gasoline that they didn’t need to in the past year.

“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle. . . AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality, and urges drivers to follow the owner’s manual recommendations for their vehicle’s fuel,” said John Nielson, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair, in a statement.

Paying extra

The survey shows that the vast a majority of cars on the road only require regular fuel (87-octane) in order to run optimally. Researchers found that around 70% of the cars being used are best served by this fuel type. Only around 16% of vehicles benefit from filling up with premium, 93-octane fuel, while the remaining 14% require at least a mid-grade fuel or run using an alternative fuel source.

Knowing which type of fuel your car needs can save you a lot of money in the long-run. The report released by AAA shows that fuel prices between regular and premium gas differed by 49.33 cents per gallon between August, 2015 and August, 2016. That’s a price discrepancy of around 23%.

Gas prices via AAA's report

Perhaps one of the few times that drivers should ever consider using a higher-octane fuel is if their area or region is experiencing a gas shortage, much like the one that parts of the East coast are seeing due to a pipeline leak. The rest of the time, it’s acceptable to go by your driver’s manual and use the recommended fuel type.

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