Horsepower results continue the tale that premium fuel is not worth the cash. Test vehicles averaged 1.1% improvement in torque and 1.2% improvement in horsepower in
dynamic testing. For example, the study cites usage of a 2017 F150 equipped with the turbocharged 3.5L V6 and an automatic transmission. The majority of power increase while using premium fuel was seen at road speeds in excess of 100 km/h. In fact, notable improvements only came north of 130 km/h, a speed far exceeding the limits of Canadian roadways.
The lab used six vehicles in their testing, selected to provide a good cross-section of real world vehicles. Testers selected a rear-wheel drive 2017 Ford F-150 with a turbo V6, a Cadillac Escalade equipped with a monster 6.2L V8, a sporty manual shift 2015 Mazda Miata, an Audi A3, a hairy-chested V8 Ford Mustang and a four-cylinder equipped Jeep Renegade.
“There’s no question that higher octane premium fuel has the potential to boost a vehicle’s fuel economy and performance, however, engines have to be calibrated to require that fuel to see the full benefit,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Based on AAA’s testing, vehicles that simply recommend premium gasoline can’t take full advantage of higher octane fuel and, as a result, the benefit that comes from upgrading to premium gasoline may not offset its high cost.”
The organization does allow that premium gasoline provides a benefit in select vehicles under very specific conditions. Vehicles such as high strung supercars need the extra octane in order to run optimally and produce the advertised amount of horsepower. For the rest of us, however, we’re better off keeping our money in our pocket.
Missed Part One in this series? Check out Fuelin’ Around: Premium Gasoline Is a Waste of Money for Most Drivers to read more about where it all started.
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Written by: Matthew Guy