CARS.COM — Drivers nationwide found collective relief as average gas prices hit a seven-year low in January, but those with luxury or high-performance cars may have scratched their heads at one nagging detail: What the heck was going on with premium gas prices?
Regular gas averaged just $1.86 per gallon on Jan. 25 — a price we haven’t seen since January 2009, according to the Energy Information Administration. Premium gas, however, averaged $2.34 per gallon. That’s a whopping 48 cents more. Fill that luxury SUV with 18 gallons a few times a month, and the difference alone will cost you $311 this year.
It hasn’t always been this way. The last time regular unleaded gas was this cheap — January 2009 — a gallon of premium averaged just 23 cents per gallon more. That held true until late 2012, when premium skyrocketed. In December 2014 when regular unleaded plunged below $3 a gallon for the first time in four years, premium stayed around 40 cents more. As regular gas tumbled toward $2 in 2015, the upcharge for premium didn’t decrease. It grew.
From a percentage standpoint, that drove the upcharge for premium gas to an all-time high. As of Jan. 25, a gallon of premium gas cost 25.8 percent more than regular unleaded fuel. That’s the highest percentage difference between premium fuel and average regular gas in more than 21 years of EIA records.