Does pricey gas boost your car or drain your wallet?

low gas prices 3

(WTNH) — For Hans Van Dyk, part of taking care of his car means pumping in higher octane gas.

“I put in, I guess, it’s premium 89,” said Hans Van Dyk of New Haven.  “I tell you, I think the 93 is not needed, but I don’t know that for sure, so I guess I push the little button in the middle.  It’s not very logical.”

Van Dyk is not alone. AAA released a study that found over the past year 16 million Americans paid over $2 billion to put premium gas in their car and they didn’t need it.

“There’s no benefit to splurging on premium gas for your car,” said Fran Mayko, a spokesperson for the Hamden AAA.  “It’s simply a higher octane, not a higher quality.  This is something you can keep in your own pocket versus wasting it and having no benefit to you car.”

There are exceptions of course.  Experts say if your car needs high octane gas, don’t ignore it.  It could cause your car to hesitate or sputter.

“My Range Rover?” asked Kate Campeau of New Haven.  “I do premium because it says to do it.”  Campeau says when she opens her gas door she sees the type of gas she needs.

A quick check of your owner’s manual will tell you whether your car needs regular 87 octane or premium gas.

Van Dyk figures why put the squeeze on your wallet if you don’t have to.

“Rest assured, I’ll be checking my manual now,” said Van Dyk.

Knowing what your car needs could save you money and heartache.  Just ask Gene Dombrowski.

“Even my wife was trying to put in, she puts in her 89 I put in 87 in her Ultima,” said Dombrowski of Hamden.  “I don’t tell her, you know what I mean.  The engine runs fine.”

Experts say if you want really want to do something good for your car, use Top Tier Gas.  It has a detergent additive in it that helps your car run better.  To find out which gas stations have Top Tier Gas, go to

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