COLORADO SPRINGS — If you’re like many others right now, navigating through jumping gas prices and working to maintain balance in your budget, you may want to think twice before selecting premium at the pump.

Colorado offers gas at octane levels begining at 85, unlike most of the country, which offers a regular option with 87 octane. And it’s common for drivers to think that jumping up to premium (91 octane in Colorado) grade is better for their car or, as Kelly Blue Book refers to it, “a special treat.”

And who doesn’t want the best for their car?

But AAA says drivers should think twice before they pay more for a higher octane.

Octane, AAA clarifies, is “the ability of the fuel to prevent engine detonation or ‘knock.’ Uncontrolled knocking can cause severe engine damage and expensive repairs.”

But, the organization says, premium fuel does not provide any more power to your car than regular would.

In fact, they say, “The energy content of premium gasoline is actually a little lower than that of regular due to its additional anti-knock additives.”

Many cars only require regular gas.

According to Kelly’s Blue Book only “vehicles with smaller turbocharged engines and higher performance vehicles will have higher factory recommended octane levels.”

The bottom line is: know what your car manufacturer recommends. AAA adds:

  • If your manufacturer recommends regular gas, paying for premium is “a waste of money”
  • If your manufacturer recommends premium, using regular may only cost you a little power and fuel efficiency
  • If your manufacturer requires premium – particularly if your car is high performance – higher octane fuel is “essential”