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There is a wide range of gas prices in the Toledo area. Some spots are 40-cents a gallon higher than the others. Drivers with certain cars are even more frustrated because their gas prices are even higher.
Spring is the time of year when gas prices make their annual march upward so that many drivers pay a very close look to those prices. If you're not careful these days, you could pay a lot more for gasoline than you expected if your car requires midgrade or premium.
Harold Almond drives a Volkswagen and like many European cars it says premium fuel only. That was fine until he noticed the price of midgrade and premium gas becoming higher.
"In my entire life I've always thought there was always a 10-cent difference in price between regular and midgrade, and midgrade and premium," said Almond.
You know what he's talking about: regular at $3.79 and midgrade 10-cents higher at $3.89. That has been standard. But Almond says recently he's noticed the spread between grades getting wider. He calls it a hidden price hike.
"They will match the regular price, but if your car takes midgrade or premium, it's much higher," said Almond.
Many stations, like Shell, now have only the price of regular showing. You have to pull up to realize midgrade is $3.86 and premium is $4.01. The station would not comment, but Shell tells the tech blog CNET that "V-Power is costlier than other brands due to its lower friction and extra cleaning agents."
GasBuddy.com, meantime, says refineries are producing less premium fuel nowadays, so the price is up. Almond just wishes stations would post it, and says drivers need to be on guard.
"I think they need to be careful, yes," said Almond.
If your car suggests premium, check with your handbook and your dealers service department to see if its required or just recommended. You may be able to drop down a grade, saving a few cents per gallon and so you don't waste your money.