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Is premium fuel worth paying for?

Available at most fuel sites, premium fuel is a higher octane and more expensive fuel designed to boost the performance of your engine. Premium fuel is available as both petrol and diesel, and there are differences between both.

Premium petrol

Premium petrol is distinguishable by its higher octane content. Octane is a chemical component found within petrol, and the amount of octane determines how well it will work in higher compression engines.

The standard rating for petrol in the UK in 95 octane and most cars are tuned to run on this. However, higher performance engines need a higher octane fuel to run at their most efficient.

Premium Diesel

Diesel is used differently to petrol in an engine as it is not ignited, instead it is added to air that is then compressed. For this reason premium diesel doesn’t feature a higher octane content like petrol, but it is enriched with chemicals that are designed to clear soot deposits and oil build up from an engines fuel system.

If you have a standard car then it has been manufactured to run perfectly fine on non-premium fuel. However, fuel manufacturers suggest that topping up with a tank of premium fuel can help clear the engine of soot and oil deposits and avoid future breakdowns.

Different cars respond in different ways to premium fuels and its down to each driver to decide if there are any noticeable benefits of using premium fuel when not required. Experts suggest that if you can’t see any improvement in fuel efficiency and performance then its probably not worth paying the extra pence per litre.

If you have a high performance car that needs premium fuel, then this will be noted in the manufacturers manual.

Overall, the best way to see if premium fuel benefits your engine is to occasionally full up a tank of the more expensive fuel and see if it makes a difference.