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Cheap Gas: Really a Bargain?

The price difference of filling up your tank with regular instead of premium gasoline can be enticing – saving 10 cents or more a gallon easily adds up, especially if you’re driving a gas guzzler. But do the short-term savings cost you in the long run? The EPA has set minimum requirements for gas standards, but many luxury automakers claim they aren’t enough to keep a healthy engine. That’s why companies like BMW and Audi have paired up with oil giants like Chevron and BP to create their own gas standards. What’s the difference? It all comes down to price.

All gas sold in the U.S. has to meet the EPA standards, but the new standards developed by car and oil companies call for more detergents to promote cleaner emissions, but on average cost about a dime more per gallon. According to Gasbuddy.com, Tuesday’s average price for regular gasoline in New York was $2.62, and was as much as 70 cents higher at certain brand-name stations. That’s a $28 difference for a 40 gallon tank.

It doesn’t mean you will ruin your car by buying the cheaper, EPA standard gas. And it can’t hurt to save a little and take advantage of the lower prices so long as you’re driving around in a car that doesn’t require premium gas.

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