Fuel: Mind the Gap

This escalating price gap between 87 and 93 octane is out of hand. The luxury car brands are going to need to rate their cars on regular unleaded in the US rather than requiring premium at these rates.

Let’s say I wanted a fuel efficient luxury utility. I like the Lincoln Aviator but 20 mpg combined isn’t going to cut it so I purchase a Lexus RX hybrid expecting to get 28 mpg combined.


Averaging 20 mpg over 10,000 miles at $2.869 per gallon, that Aviator (which only needs 87 octane) will cost $1,434.50 to run.

Averaging 28 mpg over 10,000 miles at $3.999 per gallon, that Lexus hybrid (which requires premium fuel) would cost $1,428.21 to run. The price gap kills that 8 mpg gap when it comes to your wallet.

I would double check whether your car requires premium or “only recommends” it for better performance. An engine like Hyundai Group’s Tau V8 still makes 404 hp on regular fuel, which is not that big of a performance drop from the 420-429 hp the engine makes on 93 octane.


Driving 10,000 miles, at $2.869 per gallon, averaging 16 mpg will cost you $1,793.13.

Driving 10,000 miles, at $3.999 per gallon, averaging 19 mpg will cost you $2,104.74.


Even if you notice better fuel economy when you use premium over regular, unless you’re getting your moneys worth in power, you may be better off puttering around in town on the cheap stuff. But that’s only if your engine is fine pouing wine out the box instead of the bottle.

Automakers will need to adjust to this price gap in the US because once people realize that their new car is fuel efficient but their wallet isnt showing it, all of a sudden that 20 mpg big, regular truck really looks like a hero compared to that 28 mpg little premium sedan next to it at the pump.

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