With most vehicles that require premium gasoline, owners don’t have much choice: Either they use the more expensive, higher-octane gas or they risk losing performance or even damaging their engine. But the 2018 Lexus NX 300, a participant in our recent 2018 Luxury Compact SUV Challenge, offers a different choice: either a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that burns premium or a hybrid model that uses regular — and gets higher mileage.
That will be of some use in the current fuel climate. Gas prices fell for the second week in a row, but the average price of regular remained above $3 in 13 states, and motorists on average were paying nearly 60 cents more per gallon than a year ago. The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said the national average for regular was $2.91 on Thursday, down 3 cents from a week ago. Premium gas was down 3 cents to $3.45, and diesel fuel was down a penny to $3.19.
The front- and all-wheel-drive NX 300 models use a 2.0-liter turbo engine and six-speed automatic transmission and have a 15.9-gallon tank. The hybrid NX 300h, which has standard AWD, uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable automatic and has a 14.8-gallon tank. Here are the numbers for filling them up:
- Filling up an NX 300 with premium in San Francisco (average price of $4.10 for premium) would cost about $65; in Chicago (average price of $4.25), it would be $67.57; and in Washington, D.C. (average price of $3.66), it would be $58.19.
- Filling the hybrid 300h with regular gas in San Francisco would be nearly $57; in Chicago, it would cost less than $51; and in D.C. it would run $44.70.
- In addition, the NX 300h has an EPA combined city/highway mileage estimate of 31 mpg, versus 25 mpg for the front-drive NX 300 and 24 mpg for AWD models (including the performance-oriented F Sport).
Pump prices fell in most states over the past week, with the biggest declines in the Great Lakes area. Regular fell 7 cents in Illinois, 9 cents in Ohio and 10 cents in Michigan. Hawaii was among the few states that saw prices go higher. Regular rose a penny to $3.73 in Hawaii, edging out California by 1 cent to have the highest statewide average in the U.S. South Carolina had the lowest average price for regular, $2.57, on Thursday, and was the only state below $2.60. A year ago, regular averaged more than $2.60 in only six states.
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