Gas prices drop slightly

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In many cars and SUVs, Premium gasoline is "recommended", but not "required". The findings essentially erase the gray area for vehicles that carry manufacturer recommendations - but not requirements - for premium fuel. Prices are about 24 cents more than at the same point a year ago.

"Fuel economy for test vehicles averaged a 2.7% improvement".

While some vehicles are created to run on premium octane gasoline, others simply recommend it. AAA set out to determine the effects of using premium gasoline in vehicles that recommend it and whether the benefits in fuel economy and horsepower are worth the higher price at the pump.

The Dearborn-based auto club says early Monday the average price for self-serve regular unleaded gasoline was about $2.51 per gallon.

AAA pointed out that premium fuel can cost $0.50 more than regular nationwide.

"Each vehicle was tested on a dynamometer, which measures horsepower, and emissions testing equipment to determine fuel economy and tailpipe emissions when using both fuel types in a variety of driving conditions".

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The research suggests premium fuel works best on engines calibrated specifically for high octane.

"The modest fuel economy improvements found in AAA tests do not offset the higher cost of premium gasoline", AAA said in a statement.

Because prices for premium vary greatly across the USA, both AAA and GasBuddy urge drivers to shop around for the best prices.

Motorists throughout Virginia have seen prices at the pump drop steadily throughout the week, as much as three cents in some areas, outpacing the national trend, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

AAA reported that over the past four weeks gas prices have been on steady decline across the country. Premium gasoline, that exclusive liquid reserved for only the choicest drivers and vehicles, may be a big waste of money for most drivers, the national autoclub says. "In California, however, some stations charge just 20 cents per gallon more for premium than regular". But new research by AAA shows that paying-up for premium may not be worth the extra money, unless the vehicle absolutely requires it. In line with Cars.com's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers.

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