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