You might think that, as we previously reported, with so many “regular” cars engineered to run on premium-grade fuel these days, that all performance-minded cars would require the costlier 91-octane fuel, but that’s not necessarily the case.
We scanned the Environmental Protection Agency’s fuel economy database and found 10 bona fide sports coupes and cabrios that are certified to run perfectly fine on basic 89-octane petroleum, which we’re featuring in the accompanying slideshow. Of course, these are, for the most part, base engines. While the 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6 engine that comes with standard Dodge Challenger runs on regular gas, all the V8s in the line, including those in the 707-horsepower Hellcat and 840-horsepower Demon models, demand premium fuel.
Owning a car that runs on regular instead of premium can save a motorist anywhere from 50 cents to a buck per gallon, depending on where one lives. That can add up to an extra $1,000-$2,500 spent over a five-year period.
At that, while four of the 10 cars on our list fitted with turbocharged four-cylinder engines are EPA-certified to run on regular, it’s something of a good news/bad news situation. You can either pocket some cash and fill the tanks on any of these models with 89-octane fuel, or realize a bit better performance by running them on premium. Among them is the Volkswagen Golf GTI, which comes with the spec-sheet footnote, “Stated horsepower and torque figures (220 horsepower/258 pound-feet) achieved with premium unleaded.”