The short answer: You should look for savings elsewhere, because Top Tier gas really is better for your car. And it might already be cheaper in the first place.
To save money and still get Top Tier, you might have to do a little homework. Your first step should be to check out this updated list of Top Tier retailers to find a brand that is guaranteed to have Top Tier gas. Then head to a site like GasBuddy to find a Top Tier station near you with a comparatively low price.
You might not even have to make a trade-off between high quality and low price. Even with prices currently at record highs, a quick search of stations near CR’s Colchester, Conn., test track uncovered a few Top Tier stations that were among the lowest-priced in the area. A 2016 AAA price analysis showed just a 3-cent price difference between non-Top Tier and Top Tier gasoline over a one-year period. In addition to regional and national fuel chains, Costco sells Top Tier gas, and it’s known for its aggressive pricing.
Many automakers told us that they recommended Top Tier fuel use but did not require it. Every manufacturer recommended that drivers refer to their owners’ manuals.
“You’ll see there that we do recommend Top Tier Fuel due to unknown variability in other fuel sources, however, the language used is ‘endorses’ and ‘where available,’” says Chris Martin, spokesperson for Honda. “Thus, an owner should decide for themselves based on their confidence in the quality of the available local gasoline.”