AAA: Gas prices drop to five-week lows

AAA: Premium Fuel Not Worth The Price

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said that average gas prices in the country were lower this week because of a large build in gasoline inventories and gasoline demand numbers have seen a reprieve.

Ohio's gas prices were down 5.7 cents since last week's average.

If your engine makes a pinging or knocking sound on regular fuel, AAA said higher octane gas might resolve your problem, but it's a good idea to get it checked out by a professional first.

Gas prices in Rockford are down more than 5¢ over the past week, bringing the average tank of gas locally below the national rate.

Drivers are wasting their money if they use more expensive premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend but do not require it, according to new research by AAA.

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The fuel economy improvements recorded during AAA testing do not offset the potential extra cost to purchase premium gasoline. The gap has widened steadily since the Great Recession. But that's just an average. On average, vehicles produced 1.4% more horsepower using Premium. That may matter at the Daytona 500, but you'll never notice it on the way to work or the grocery store. The research revealed that while recommended premium might upgrade fuel economy and performance, the additional cost isn't worth it.

Test vehicles included a Ford Mustang GT, Jeep Renegade, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Cadillac Escalade ESV, Audi A-3, and Ford F150 XLT. The Auto Club of California conducted the tests.

The organization tested six cars where manufacturers recommend - but don't require - premium gasoline (rated as 91 octane or higher) and found that premium fuel had a slight benefit in "extreme driving scenarios", like towing or cargo hauling.

Octane is not a measurement of the amount of energy in gasoline, but of the fuel's resistance to "knock", or burning before it's meant to. But most engines are created to run on Regular all the time. The higher compression ratios, in turn, lead to more energy when the fuel ignites in the cylinder. That improves efficiency and can extend an engine's life.

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