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AAA Presents Fuel Strategy Options For Drivers

Avoiding premium grade fuels is recommended for some, but not all car owners.

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As prices at the pump continue to rise, people are looking for ways to stretch their dollar. More specifically, how to stretch fuel mileage.

Jeanette Rivera, of East Hartford, is among the countless people looking for relief at the pump this week.

“It is ridiculous. It makes you not want to go anywhere,” she said as she filled her tank up in West Hartford on Tuesday.

Rivera says she only has one car in her family and uses the most inexpensive grade fuel, but the price spike is still impacting her daily life.

“Thank God I work from home so, I just stay home,” she said.

Working from home, though, is not an option for everyone. The roadways continue to be busy. So, how do you stretch a tank of fuel? AAA says there are things you can change, starting with your driving style.

“Reducing your speed on the highway by 5 to 10 mph can actually increase your fuel economy by as much as 14 percent,” said Greater Hartford AAA spokesperson Tracy Noble.

AAA says eliminating redundant travel and backtracking is also important.

“Plan out your route. See the most efficient way to get from point a to point B to point C and back home again,” said Noble.

AAA has more advice. They say make sure tire pressures are at recommended PSI, eliminate excess weight, use cruise control if possible and take advantage of frequent use gas club or grocery store memberships.

AAA also says shop around for the best prices. The AAA app searches by zip code and can help you find the best price near you.

Finally, choose your gas grade carefully and only use premium fuel if your car requires it.

“If your car does not specifically say that, save yourself some extra money at the pump and regular is just fine,” said Noble.

As for cars that do require premium fuel, that is different.

Ken Zagorski is the service manager of Olender Auto in Vernon. He says using lower grade fuel in a car that requires premium comes with a risk.

“You could probably get away with it in a fix, but long-term damage on some of these vehicles will be a buildup of carbon inside the engine and on the valves,” he said.

Zagorski says high end cars like Mercedes and BMWs require premium fuel to insure long-term optimum performance.

“It does give you better fuel economy and keeps the engine cleaner,” he said.

As for buying less expensive fuel and supplementing with an octane additive, Zagorski doesn’t recommend that, explaining those additives are pricey and could result in a higher overall cost than paying for premium.

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