Pulling into a petrol station is no longer a simple matter of choosing ‘super’ or ‘unleaded’, then filling up. With the wide variety of engine types on the market and the growing costs of fuel, most petrol companies now offer a broad selection of fuel types- all differently priced- for your car.
So how do you choose?
This Car Showroom guide will help you decipher the jargon.
A petroleum-derived liquid mixture, unleaded is the most common type of fuel in Australia for passenger vehicles.
All unleaded fuels carry a Research Octane Number (RON), which rates the petrol’s ‘anti-knock’ quality. Vehicles run on low octane fuel often make a ‘knocking’ sound - this means the petrol is detonating instead of burning smoothly, which wastes energy and is bad for the engine. A high octane fuel will have a high RON, and will eliminate knocking.
ULP is classified as 91 RON.
A special blend of petrol designed to provide more engine power and energy efficiency. PULP brands carry a RON of 95 or 96.
Ultra Premium (UPULP)
At 98 RON, UPULP is the highest octane unleaded fuel, providing maximum engine power and performance, as well as less pollution.
Lead Replacement Petrol (LRP)
A blend of premium unleaded petrol and valve protection additives. LRP was once offered as an environmentally-friendly alternative to leaded petrol, but is no longer available at the pump.
Ethanol is a clear liquid made from natural, renewable sources such as sugar cane and corn. It can be added to petroleum based unleaded fuels to lower the price of fuel and reduce harmful emissions.
Diesel is a specific partial concentrate of petroleum fuel oil, mostly used to power fleet cars, heavy vehicles, some 4WD and commercial vehicles. Diesel fuel can only be used in diesel engines, can result in a noisier performance and still results in significantly larger pollutant outputs than other fuels on the market.
A relatively new, cleaner-burning diesel fuel, derived from natural, renewable sources. Biodiesel contains no petroleum and is biodegradable.
Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG)
LPG is made from butane and propane, and is cleaner and cheaper than petrol. LPG-dedicated models are available, such as the Ford Falcon, and most unleaded petrol cars can be converted to LPG.