Wookie Monster

(Can of Worms) Petrol grades

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My 1.6 Zetec normally runs on whatever I put in it at the time (as long as it's petrol, obviously.) Normally supermarket or branded doesn't seem to make any difference, though the tank of Morissons fuel I put in a while ago was terrible- almost felt like a misfire whenever you put your foot down. Putting something else in made an immediate difference.

Is there any advantage to using any of the 'super' higher-octane fuels? Last time I filled up with Tesco Momentum99 as I had a voucher for a few pence/liter off and it was a reasonable price, but I've mostly been bumbling around town so can't do any back to back comparisons on economy. V-power is a lot more expensive though so I can't see how filling up with it could be justified.

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I haven’t got much personal experience with higher octane stuff, as I find normal Tesco fuel to be fine. I did put V-Power in it the other week, and it didn’t make much of a difference. I feel maybe the 1.6 isn’t really an engine that’s susceptible to various fuel grades?

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It really depends on the car...

With a 1.6 NA petrol doing town driving, I doubt you'll notice any difference at all between the higher octane and the normal stuff.  On something that's designed with power in mind, the higher octane can make a difference as they are mapped specifically to run on it, most noticeable if you're B road blasting or track driving.  On older cars with big engines you'll often find higher octane stuff reduces pinking as well.  It's not just the octane rating though, they all have different additives as well, which is where the difference between supermarket and branded 'standard' fuels is.  People will tell you it's all the same basically, which it is, but every drink you have is mostly water, it's just the additives in it that make it tea, coke or beer lol.  Morrisons are known to be bad at keeping their tanks clean so it's not unusual to get contaminated fuel from them, ASDA aren't far behind.

In my experience, you're not likely to see huge MPG differences on any engine though, not enough to cover the price difference anyway.  I had a voucher this week for BP Ultimate...the price difference between regular and Ultimate (Diesel) was 14ppl...that's an extra £7 over the tank!  I didn't bother lol.

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The price difference between Esso* Synergy 95 and Synergy Supreme+ 97 is only 3ppl and I reckon I get enough improved economy to make it worthwhile, without taking the wear benefits of the detergents and reduced pinking into account. I haven't noticed any performance improvement though. That's on a 1.6 turbo...

 

* The only reason I'm specifically talking about Esso is that I get 2ppl discount with a loyalty card at a petrol station on my commute.

 

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I've carried out an extended comparison on 2 cars in the past - a C-Max 1.6 (182) and a SEAT Leon Mk 3 1.8 (180), in both cases over around 6,000 miles. I noticed no difference in performance or fuel consumption between 95 and 97/98, in both cases "branded"fuel. Can't speak about the longer term benefits ( if any) of the additives however.

I keep getting money off vouchers for our local Tesco but whenever I'm there the queue seems to stretch round the corner so it's years since I last succeeded in trying their fuel!

As others say, have not really noticed any difference between brands and supermarket generally though funnily enough like @Wookie Monster I have tried Morrisons fuel a couple of times and did seem to notice a slight (negative) difference and I was advised years ago to avoid Asda (the Mrs won't shop there anyway😀).

My company used to buy fuel direct from the refinery. Fuel would often go out from there in "unbranded" tankers, when it reached, say, a BP outlet the driver would add the appropriate additive when he unloaded. So as Tom says, it's all basically the same stuff plus the odd "magic ingredient", but the condition of the storage tanks is also very important. 

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if it was designed to run 95 then it will go slower with 99, the octane slows down the burn, its there to control things for high compression, earlier spark, higher temps etc. 

if its a shopping car then the slower burn results in less power.  if its got always advancing spark that backs off when the knock sensor says that's enough and has a high compression ratio it will most likely go faster.

additives in decent petrol won't make it measurably faster one day to the next, but in 20k miles it will be happier and faster than one running budget supermarket fuel that has cheap or no additives.  a car that gets synthetic oil and air filter just before recco service schedules and always filled with shell, esso or BP should be going as new at 100k miles.  The same car driven in same conditions that's gets cheap oil slightly late and runs non additive petrol might die at 80k

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Once a month I give my car a treat of Esso Super Unleaded or Tesco Momentum 99. The rest of the time I usually fill with Tesco standard.

I am not keen on the Asda stuff, the car does not seem to pull as well with it (it probably pulls the m same as any other fuel and just imagining it doesn't), but it seems to go a little further than other places.

I have never really filled up at Shell just because it is so expensive, if I am there I throw in a fiver or something just to get me home.

I have heard good things about the Costco premium unleaded. There is one not too far from me so I should see about getting a Costco card.

How well do the various add your own additives work? I know people say Reddox is just snake oil whilst others swear it.

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My ST250 runs well on COSTCO Super Unleaded.

All their petrol stations have the following prices, until 2nd December:

3123860_1.jpg

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8 minutes ago, YOG said:

My ST250 runs well on COSTCO Super Unleaded.

All their petrol stations have the following prices, until 2nd December:

3123860_1.jpg

Do their prices remain consistent across locations?

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No idea what's the norm is, but these are until until 2nd December.

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I wonder if Adsa sells E10

we allegedly run E5 in the UK (5% methanol) next year we are supposed to be changing to E10, it is crap and the car won't run so well.  You need decent plastics, decent rubber and a knock sensor for this to be a good idea

I gather cars prior to 2006 didn't have to reach the build standards for this fuel... there are quite a few Audi's, Seat's and VW's and Rovers that won't like it... the list I saw didn't  show any Ford's at risk - which suggests VAG are scumbags and Ford's are the good boys

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10 hours ago, Botus said:

I gather cars prior to 2006 didn't have to reach the build standards for this fuel... there are quite a few Audi's, Seat's and VW's and Rovers that won't like it... the list I saw didn't  show any Ford's at risk - which suggests VAG are scumbags and Ford's are the good boys

It's basically early direct injection petrols that aren't compatible, Ford just didn't really bother with DI in the early 00's.  There is one Ford on the list though...one that I don't think anyone bought as it cost silly amounts new, the Mk3 Mondeo 1.8 SCi.

But as you say it is mostly the first generation DI VAG petrols (FSI models) between around 2002 and 2006.  How many of those are still on the road though!?  They're the cheap engines in pov models, mostly been scrapped by now lol. 

 

 

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I fuelled up at a Shell once and had horrendous problems, it was just filled up its self. As Tom said, If the tanks aren't cleaned they can build up all manor  of crap in them, I reckon it gets stirred up when they fill it up allowing that crap to work its way in to your tank more readily, maybe im wrong but it makes sense I never have problems normally .  I do notice more engine noise with supermarket fuel, its usually easy to tell but then on other cars I cant hear any difference at all, I guess its just a car by car thing.

If your looking to improve MPG with the stuff I wouldn't bother, on diesels is can help lube up the injectors but I dont think petrols are as picky about such things. in saying that, you could also add a little 2 stroke oil to your take, I get about an 7% fuel economy 🙂 

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They're all messing with your heads guys, it's fuel FFS

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95 vs 99 or supermarket budget vs Premium brand  are very different things - you naivety is surprising

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Esso, Shell and BP fuels all have more additives than supermarket fuel.

 

https://www.allstarcard.co.uk/this-matters-fuel/fleet-news/supermarket-fuel/

 

Higher octane fuels can also benefit engines designed for them.

 

https://www.moneysupermarket.com/car-insurance/articles/is-it-worth-paying-more-for-premium-unleaded/

 

At the end of the day Ford will recommend which octane petrol you should use in your car and you can research or try different fuels for yourself too.

 

There's lots of uninformed opinion on the Internet, but I'm using a leading brand fuel with extra additives, the octane rating recommended by Ford, and I get better fuel economy and a discount to boot. Everyone can make their own decision though.

 

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If you are keeping up with maintenance and in particular not skimping on oil then it's very doubtful you save anything by using anything other than the cheapest fuel you car will run properly with. 

I know plenty of people swear by expensive brands, normally the only evidence they supply to back their claims is their 'Butt Dyno'.

 

Roger.

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4 hours ago, rustyroger said:

I know plenty of people swear by expensive brands, normally the only evidence they supply to back their claims is their 'Butt Dyno'

Therein lies the problem. Apart from when something's obviously wrong (such as my tank of crap from Morrisons) the only way to know for certain is to run two identical engines under the exact same conditions on a dyno and measure the output with two different fuel types. And afterwards to tear down the engine and compare the internal wear.

So we'll never have a scientific answer.

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the extra additives are for longevity, not instant gratification

eat burger and chips the calorific content of the fuel is plenty... but by 45 you have diabetes

 

 

 

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I keep a spreadsheet of my fuel use to see how the mpg works out etc.  Each time I fill up until the nozzle clicks.  The closest stations to me are a Tesco and a Shell garage and I've tried to vary the fuel  but get a block of three tanks per fuel type.  Apart from V-Power, as the garage I visited on 16/9 didn't have any V-Power!   In October my Dad helpfully added £20s worth of Morrison's fuel for me, which throws out things a little.  The Sainsbury tank was an emergency fuel when I found that the Costco station closes when the store closes (at least in Edinburgh) so I used the Sainsbury next door.  I didn't notice the car behave any differently with those fuels.

The car's computer consistently overestimates the mpg compared with brim-to-brim calculations so either I am using an incorrect conversion (1 gallon = 4.456 litres) or the car is not doing it properly.  Most of my driving is in Edinburgh and the surrounding area.  Occasionally I have an extended fast run but not all that often.  The "miles to go" display is fun for playing a bit of petrol station roulette.

My car has a 1.0 L Ecoboost engine so I was not expecting anything significant from the Momentum or V-Power fuels in terms or performance or indeed mpg.  And that's what I see.  There is no immediately obvious fuel economy reason to use the higher octane fuel nor did I notice any difference in how the car behaved.  This is only on a few data points though. I don't drive often so consequently don't refuel too often.  By the time I have enough data I'll probably be thinking of replacing the car!  But for now using premium fuel is not worth the extra money.   The car handbook says to use only "high quality 95 RON fuel and no additives" and that is good enough for me.  Ford recommend BP and I think I will use BP fuel for the next few tanks (though the BP garage close to my work charges quite a lot for fuel compared with other places). 

image.png.8d70ea4f28c3585c0874c93ddca9c8ee.png

As others have said though you can't quantify the benefit to the engine of regularly using branded fuel vs supermarket fuel.  Anecdotally, however, it's a bit different.  My previous car was a 1.8L 54 plate Laguna.  It had belonged to my dad since it was six months old and I know that he would have fed it a diet of Morrisons petrol, deviating only when he filled up away from home.  I fed it whatever was closest and cheapest, probably Tesco 95 more often than not.  I sold it with 102,000 miles on the clock and the engine was absolutely solid, quiet, responsive.

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1 gallon = 4.54609 litres, so your calculated mpg would get a boost😀 and  would then be a little nearer the cars computer, which are usually about 10% out anyway in my experience.

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On 12/3/2018 at 5:00 PM, Eric Bloodaxe said:

1 gallon = 4.54609 litres, so your calculated mpg would get a boost😀 and  would then be a little nearer the cars computer, which are usually about 10% out anyway in my experience.

Ooops - systematic error!  Thanks for spotting it.

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I too have done similar testing to nitten_traveller.  I tested all the different fuel brands that were available reasonably close to me.  So all the supermarkets (well, ASDA, Tesco, Morrisons), then the bigger "premium brands" (Shell, BP and Esso).  I also tried "premium diesel" where it was available.  And I tracked the average fuel economy over 4 tanks of each (as in 4 tanks of Tesco, then 4 tanks of Asda etc...).  This was in my 530d that I had at the time, which I bought new, but performed the testing after 12 months, so around 15k miles on the engine, so it was run in to some degree.  But as each tank was 550+ miles, I was looking at around 2,000 miles per fuel type, so a reasonable amount of miles.

In the end, I noticed almost zero difference in economy.  Asda diesel was slightly worse, on average, per tank, netting about 30 miles less between fills.  That's relatively significant.  The Tesco, then I found Morrisons to marginally be the better of the supermarket fuels.

Shell and BP didn't matter between them.  Except BP was significantly more expensive, and more awkward for me to get to.  And their premium fuels also yielded little difference.  In economy comparisons.  Although they did feel a slight bit more responsive after the second tank run through them.  However, the premium Shell diesel near me, from Shell, is a full 11p per litre more than the regular diesel.  And so I felt it really wasn't worth it for regular fill ups.  Maybe once or twice a year, in case there were any additive that might help flush parts out or something.  But not regular for sure.

Unfortunately, my closest Costco Fuel Station (Edinburgh also) is around 100 miles away.  Else I'd probably try to fill up there most often.

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