I’ve always wondered what the fuss is about when it comes to buying fuel. So I thought it about time to find out the difference between buying fuel from a supermarket or a petrol station? Is super or premium petrol really better for my car than regular unleaded and when looking to buy a vehicle should I choose petrol, diesel which costs a bit more at the pump or a car converted to LPG. It all seems so confusing!
All UK fuel must meet British and European standards – EN228 for unleaded and for diesel EN590
Delving a little deeper into this question, but at the same time keeping the answer really simple-buying the premium fuel for your car, is the way forward if the manufacturer has recommended it but if regular unleaded has been shown as being fine for your vehicle then that too can be the right course of action. Additives and cleaning agents are added to most fuels but it is premium additives, fuel type and cleaning agents of a higher quality which are put in the premium or super fuels. Buying a higher octane fuel doesn’t necessarily mean that the fuel will last longer but it may be better for your engine.
In a normal spark-ignition engine, the air-fuel mixture is heated due to being compressed and is then triggered to burn rapidly by the spark plug. If it is heated (or compressed) too much, it will self-ignite before the ignition system sparks. This causes much higher pressures than engine components are designed for, and can cause a “knocking” or “pinging” sound. Knocking can cause major engine damage if severe. Wikipedia
What about Diesel?
In the 1980’s and 90’s when I was nothing more than a spring chicken myself, you could always hear the chug of a diesel vehicle coming along the road. The noise differentiated it from a petrol car and at the time – diesel was also a cheaper fuel to buy than petrol. I can remember starting our diesel van, one click on the ignition and then waiting before turning it on, so that the fuel could ignite properly. It was a bit of a pain, when all I wanted to do was to get going. Fast forwarding towards the present, things are now a little different. The Peugeot estate we owned recently, still sounded a little different on start-up but not much and I no longer can hear the sound of a diesel car driving past when I’m walking. Diesel is also slightly more expensive than petrol. Diesel and petrol are independently traded products, so will not be the same price or necessarily cost the same at the pumps.
Autogas – a commonly used name for liquefied petroleum gas. It is classed as the green alternative for petrol, as it has a lower environmental impact.
- CO2 emissions of Autogas are up to 15 per cent lower than petrol
- NOx emissions (one of the main contributors to smog) from Autogas are up to 80 per cent lower than diesel
- There are up to 98 per cent fewer harmful particulates in the emissions from Autogas than in other fuels Autogas
To switch your can to run on LPG, may seem initially a costly expense. It can cost around £1200 depending on your vehicle (the UK average cost of LPG is 56.7pence a litre) but in the long run it will save you money and that saving will show, every time you fill up at the pump. Also, you will still have your petrol tank and so can use that as a back up if needed. If you want to check out how much money you’d save converting to LPG – work it out on the conversion calculator here!