Premium vs ordinary unleaded

Submitted: Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 09:49
ThreadID: 19217 Views:2876 Replies:10 FollowUps:2
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Hi all

I hav just recently (about 3 tanks full) started running premium in our little Holden Nova twin cam (1989) but not EFI. The result is that I am getting at least 10% better fuel economy out of it. Given that the premium costs only about 5% more, It seems to be a win win situation. I think the car is running better too, idling smoother. Now getting about 9.8l/100km from a tank, and that is running with the a/c on a lot of the time because of the baby. All is around town stuff too. Not bad I say.

My question is though, are there any drawbacks? If not, why are we running standard unleaded at all, assuming most cars will get better economy and running/performance? I also understand it burns better and produces less pollution. Almost no-one according to the servo guy I spoke to uses premium (unless in high performance or really late model expensive vehicles requiring it) It may be that people can't look past the lower price of ordinary unleaded, can't see the longer term savings than at the time at the pump.

I know that premium is unavailable at many remote spots, but for around town it sounds like the go.

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Reply By: GO_OFFROAD - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 09:59

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 09:59
Really, its just another side to the toyota/nissan debate, and although the pain of the purchase price is long forgotten when the benifits of quality remain, the average person in the street cant see past the up front cost.

Otherwise they wouldnt bombard us with price in all out junk mail, tv ads, etc.

When i ran optimax or synergy in my HSV's I averaged 70km more per tank, which made the same saving you are looking at from your vehicle, and my 4.5 petrol 78 series also returned similar figures in savings when running on premium.

AnswerID: 92137

Follow Up By: Uppy - Member - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 10:19

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 10:19
I agree with,OF ROAD.Ive got a gq patrol 4,2 efi,I only use pulp and get the same results as OF ROAD .
regards uppy
FollowupID: 350950

Reply By: Member - Smocky (NSW) - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 10:00

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 10:00
Hi D-Jack,

this has been discussed a few times and I am a fan of PULP. However, there are a few other things that happen. Firstly, a lot of the newer cars are auto tuning. I've noticed that the first tank or 2 I use the economy is great, then it goes back to the normal unleaded. So not all cars will benefit.

I agree with smoother idling, better performance etc as well.


AnswerID: 92138

Reply By: hoyks - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 10:06

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 10:06
One word - price.

My boss used to (probably still does) run his Commodore on premium and had similar results to what you are getting, but most see the pump price and that's all.

The difference between premium and unleaded on the price of a tank of fuel, I loose more than that to my wife in the washing machine.
AnswerID: 92140

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 11:53

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 11:53
Hmm, I wonder if it will work in the Mighty Festiva?
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 92164

Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 12:15

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 12:15
Just as a side issue, does anybody run their inverter generator on PULP? I would imagine these small units would also benefit from the higher quality fuel.
AnswerID: 92176

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 15:09

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 15:09
Funny you should mention that, I am also a fan of PULP and only used it on my petrol vehicles (when I had some).
I thought I was doing a good thing and filled my garden jerry can up with PULP. This runs my Blower Vac, Whipper Snipper, Edger and Lawn Mower. (obviously 3 of those are 2 stroke and hence I mix it for them). I also was borrowing a 4 stroke 3kva Genny from work. They all run like total poo on the ULP. Hard starting, rough idling etc etc.

Dunno why, but I always buy the cheap crap for my gardening tools now! :-P
FollowupID: 350999

Reply By: Member - Davoe (WA) - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 13:08

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 13:08
It is my understanding that the when using normal unleaded the knock sensors fitted to modern vehicles retard the ignition to prevent knocking the higher octane fuel allows them to run a more advanced ignition timing which results in more power and greater fuel economy. My 1989 camry specifically stated not to use pulp so I would imagine the setup of the vehicle has a lot to do with it. This info was extrapolated by me when I read a street machine article that gave in depth testing of octane boosters and the conclusion was the increase in power had more to do with the advancing ignition timing that the extra octane allowed - pulp same thing
AnswerID: 92184

Reply By: XS Challenger - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 00:01

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 00:01
I have used PULP Caltex Vortex and BP Ultimate and I would have to say no difference. the two tanks before use where slightly higher use at 14.8l/100 then with the PULP it went down to 14.4l/100, the first tank of regular after the PULP went up to 15.2l/100 but after that it settled back to the normal 13.5l/100.
The consumption is way too high for my vehicle anyway and that will be getting looked at at next service.

Here is something most people don't know about the PULPs.
I have a new Motorbike that has to run on PULP of 96 or better octane rating.
I usually run BP Ultimate or Caltex Vortex. Anyway when I had a running problem (due to water around the spark plug apparently) the mechanic asked which PULP I use. Apparently the Shell fuel is no good for motorbikes unless they have been specifically tuned to cope with the heavier fuel.
At least that was what I was told.
AnswerID: 92304

Reply By: Greg - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 11:53

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 11:53
There is PULP (95 oct) and Optimax, Ultimate etc at 98 octane. I get better consumption (about 10%) out of both vehicles on Optimax tested over a long time and the vehicles definitely perform better.
AnswerID: 92365

Reply By: Member - Blue (VIC) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 17:49

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 17:49
I ran 7 consecutive tanks of caltex vortex, noted mileage against litres and had no improvement.
AnswerID: 92471

Reply By: MarkN - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 23:49

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 23:49
Hi i have noticed that depending on which fuel you use will depend on the difference.

Caltex Vortex is i beleive 96 Octane and i found no difference on km per 100 using so not worth the extra dollars. On previous vehicles i found that both the BP Ultimate and Optimax made a decent difference. I beleive both of them our actually 98 Octane and that makes quite a difference.

Intend to try an Optimax tank shortly and see if it makes a difference.

AnswerID: 92559

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