What’s the best fuel for your car?

November 6, 2017

What’s the best fuel for your car?

Choosing the right fuel at the petrol pump can be so confusing. Today we are faced with a multitude of choices, so what is the right choice for you car? Here we will look at the options in an effort to help you decide which is best for your car.

Premium Unleaded Petrol (PULP)

Premium has the highest octane rating at 95. Super premium has a 98 rating. The octane rating indicates the anti-knocking properties of an engine. The higher the octane rating the higher the resistance of the fuel to burn early inside the combustion chamber. If fuel burns early, it results in ‘pinging’ of the engine, which you do not want to happen.

Since Premium (95 RON) has a higher octane level than regular unleaded (91 RON) , it is usually designated for use in an engine with a high compression ratio. If you fill a high compression ratio engine with low-octane 91 RON petrol, the engine will heavily knock and may be mechanically destructive. Use the correct type of fuel recommended by your car manufacturer for the best engine performance.

Regular Unleaded Petrol (ULP)

Standard unleaded petrol (ULP) has an octane rating of 91. This is the fuel that most cars in Australia run on.

Ethanol Blended E10

E10 is a mixture of 10 percent of ethanol in petro, it will replace the 91 octane rated fuel in most states. Ethanol has a high octane rating of 109 which is more than what petrol packs. Hence, refineries mix ethanol in petrol to boost the octane rating.Ethanol is blended as low as 3 percent and as high as 15 percent in petrol. The disadvantage here is ethanol has 30 percent less energy than petrol. This means that an engine which uses e10 will consume about 3 percent more fuel.

E10 Fuel Compatibility Checker

The NSW government has released an online checking tool to allow motorists to check if their car can run on E10 petrol. More info here.

The Federal Chamber Of Automotive Industries FCAI also has a list of E10 compatible cars as well as more information regarding the use of E10 fuel.

Can I use a higher octane fuel than recommended?

As a general rule, you can use a higher octane fuel than recommended for your car. For example, you can use 95 or 98 in an engine designed for 91 RON, however you should not use the lower 91 RON petrol in engines designed for 95 or 98 as this can damage your engine.