In Part 1 of the 15 Ways to Save Money on Gasoline article, I suggested buying lower octane fuel as a way to save money. Well, Kristen would disagree with me and it looks like she’s done her research to back that up. Here’s what she emailed in:
We’ve heard that by upgrading your fuel octane lever, you can get better gas mileage. Since one of our vehicles is a truck, we are always looking for ways to cut back on our gas costs. We actually spent a month calculating the miles we got at octane level 87 and 89. We found that while 89 was on average $0.03 more per gallon, we actually get better gas mileage with it.
My husband gets 11.6 miles per gallon on our truck with 87 and 12.6 miles per gallon with 89. We have a 26-gallon tank, so basically we get one more mile per gallon when using 89. That means we get 26 extra miles per fill-up! Looking at our mpg, we save about two gallons’ worth of gas each time we fill up (the amount will vary depending on gas prices; it’s anywhere from $6-$8 per trip).
26 gallons at $3.50 per gallon of 87 = 301.6 miles for $91.00 ($0.302 cents per mile)
26 gallons at $3.60 per gallon of 89 = 327.6 miles $93.60 ($0.286 cents per mile)
This might not sound like much, but when you purchase 100+ gallons of fuel per month, it adds up quickly. Depending upon gas prices and mileage, we will save at least $100 to $120 per year by using higher octane fuel.
I’m curious: have any of the rest of you calculated whether or not you save money by buying higher octane fuel?