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VERIFY: The price difference in gas grades

In 2016, the difference between regular and premium was 47 cents. Throughout the years that difference continued to rise.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With gas prices nationwide hovering around $5 a gallon and drivers in the Carolinas paying well over $4, it's painful at the pump, and some drivers are feeling it even worse if they have to use premium fuel. 

WCNC Charlotte viewer Carole D. wrote to the VERIFY team, asking why there's such a difference between regular unleaded and premium fuel prices. 

"I remember years ago the difference between gas grades was 6 cents. It's between 50 cents each grade, how come it's so different?"

RELATED: What determines the price of gas?

THE QUESTION 

Is the price between gas grades the highest it's been in six years?

OUR SOURCES

THE ANSWER

Yes, the price between gas grades is the highest it's been in six years. 

WHAT WE FOUND

First, WCNC Charlotte looked at gas prices over the last six years and compared the cost of different grades. In 2016, the difference between regular and premium was 47 cents. Since then, that difference continued to rise. In May 2022, this average difference between regular and premium was 75 cents. 

De Haan said that's because alkylate, which is used to make the higher octane fuel, also costs more now. 

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"While gas prices have gone up, the price of alkylate that mixes into the premium has gone up even more, and that's why you see stations raise that gap," De Haan said. 

De Haan adds that more car manufacturers also require premium gas to fuel up 

"The problem is right now because of all the supply chain issues, the price of alkylate is high because it's in short supply," De Haan said. "So you're seeing those higher octane ratings go up."

Contact Meghan Bragg at mbragg@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

VERIFY is dedicated to helping the public distinguish between true and false information. The VERIFY team, with help from questions submitted by the audience, tracks the spread of stories or claims that need clarification or correction. Have something you want VERIFIED? Text us at 704-329-3600 or visit VERIFY.


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