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Fuel Types, Normal or Premium, that is the question.

Fuel types – What is the difference between normal and premium?

Normal or premium fuel? This is the decision drivers face every time they find themselves at the pump needing to fill up their tank. The obvious difference of course is the price - this can be around 10p per litre more for the premium fuel, and with an average fuel tank capacity of between 50 – 70 litres that extra £5 - £7 on the price of a tank of fuel can soon add up. So, the big question is, really, what is the difference between normal and premium fuel types, and is it worth the extra cost?

What is premium fuel type?

petrol pump normal fuel type

The big difference between normal fuel and premium fuel, which is sometimes referred to as super rather than premium, is that the latter has an increased octane rating. Also known as a research octane number (RON) this can often be found inside the fuel cap of newer models of cars as a manufacturers recommendation of the preferred type of fuel. Most standard fuel has an octane rating of 95, whilst premium fuel typically has a rating of around 98.

Of course, the problem with creating fuel that has a higher-octane rating is that it costs more to produce, which raises the price of the fuel at the pumps.

So, what benefits do you get for this increase in price?

Higher Octane fuel should improve the performance of your engine for a lower consumption, although this difference in fuel consumption could appear to be so small that it is almost unnoticeable. It really does depend on two things; how you drive and what type of car you have

You should certainly notice improved acceleration, better pulling power at low revs, and, when on the move, a smoother and quieter drive.

Higher octane fuel can also help to minimise the risk of “engine knocking” – this occurs when un-burnt fuel pre-ignites in a car’s engine; this has the capacity to damage the internal components of the vehicle.

Premium fuel also contains additives that are designed to keep your engine clean, this can help your car to perform better for longer.

petrol pump with all various fuel types

So, it would appear there are certainly some benefits to using premium fuel but the real question is are these benefits worth the extra cost?

Experts suggest the average person does not drive in a way that would allow them to notice too much, if any, difference.  Most cars will work perfectly well on 95-octane standard fuel. And, if you do want to look after your cars engine, then an occasional full tank of premium fuel should do the trick perfectly well, by flushing through the system. If you lease a new car then you might find that the manufacturers recommend a premium fuel - some do, whilst others don’t.

Of course, for those people who drive high-performance sports cars then the benefits are probably worth the extra increase in price per litre. It’s a decision that only you can really make.

What are your thoughts on the fuel types, what car do you have and which fuel type do you use?