The good news is that consumers are visiting the gas station less. The bad news is that consumers are spending more at the pump. Wait, those two sentences contradict each other. Which one is true? According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), both of these sentences are correct.
Let us explain. As new fuel economy and emission regulations come into effect, automakers are trying to figure out ways to make that gallon of gas go farther. One method that a number of automakers are using is turbochargers. They allow automakers to use smaller displacement engines to improve fuel economy and retain the power of larger engines. The EIA says the market share of turbo engines has climbed from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 17.6 percent in 2014.
But the problem is that many turbo engines require premium fuel to operate at their full potential, which costs more than regular and midgrade fuel. Yes, you can fill them with regular and not have the issue of knock - premature fuel detonation due to increased cylinder pressure. But you lose some of the power that the turbo is providing.
The EIA says that only 12.5 percent of vehicles recommended premium fuel in 2010. This increased to 14.2 percent in 2013.
With turbo engines projected to be in 83.3 percent of new vehicles by 2025, expect to pay more at the pump despite going there less.