an experiment

Even though I am outraged at the unjustified spike in fuel prices yesterday and today, I had to buy gas.

All of the gas stations near me (around the 54/55 junction) are out of regular. Several were totally out of fuel.

One, Crown, was not out of fuel, but they were out of regular. They’re also the cheapest near me at the moment.

So, since I needed gas anyways, I bought mid-grade. I haven’t bought anything but regular in years because I’ve done well enough mileage-wise on regular. That, and the last time I bought mid-grade, it was a 10% premium in price over regular.

In the intervening years, though, with the rise in gas prices, the percentage difference between regular and mid-grade has been reduced to about 3% – even though the absolute price difference hasn’t changed: it’s still about 10-12 cents.

If there is a 10% difference, my mileage would need to be 10% (or more) higher for it to be worthwhile to buy the more expensive gas. Generally I saw only a 1-2 mpg improvement, which on a 30+ mpg car was not worth the increased cost.

However, if I see a 2 mpg improvement on my Escape, that’s about 10%. With only a 3% price difference, that’s a worthwhile investment.

I’m going to use only mid-grade on my trip up to NY and my driving around Albany the next few days.

Then, on the way back, I’m going to use only premium (an additional 2-3% price premium over mid-grade) to see if I see another mileage improvement… unless using mid-grade provides no discernible difference, in which case I’ll go back to regular.