Pain at the pump is bad enough when you fill your tank with regular, but filling up with premium can cost you 1 to 20 cents more per gallon. So is it really worth it? If your vehicle requires premium, or it's strongly suggested, the answer is yes--cutting corners could make your engine cut out.
"If you're running too low a grade fuel, the fuel combusts, ignites and explodes instead of burns," said Marquette Automotive mechanic Bob Frak.
Premium gas isn't actually higher quality, it just has higher levels of octane, which most high performance vehicles, like muscle cars, luxury cars, large SUVs and high powered trucks, demand.
"It needs a higher octane level to resist detonation on premium high performance cars, and that's what premium fuel provides," Frak said.
But what if you don't have a high performance vehicle? Will putting high octane premium gas in your car make it run any better? Well, mechanics say it could actually make your car run worse.
"They have sensors on what the combustibility rate is in the pistons and stuff, and it will screw up the sensors because the rate is slower than what regular gas fires at higher combustibility rates," said Fox Negaunee sales associate, Casey Massie.
Regular, mid-grade and premium fuels do not relate to good, better and best. Follow your vehicle manufacturer guidelines when choosing a fuel. You can find those instructions on the inside of your gas cap or in your owner's manual.