Premium unleaded petrol

Submitted: Thursday, Oct 10, 2002 at 00:00
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I have recently used a few tanks of premium unleaded petrol (PULP) in our 1993 4-door Vitara and have noticed both an increase in power and better economy. The little 1.6L motor always struggles on hills, especially with a weekend load on board, but I think it is holding gears better. On mixed highway/back road/4WD track trips, we normally get about 10L/100km laden, but have got 9 or 9.5 on recent trips using PULP. The price difference for PULP over ordinary ULP where we go to the country (South Gippsland, Vic) is only about 5c/L (compared with about 9c/L or 10c/L in Melb), so it seems better value - the greater economy about covers the higher price. Am I imagining all this, or have others had the same experience? Does anyone know anywhere in Melbourne where PULP is more reasonably priced?
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Reply By: charl makssi - Thursday, Oct 10, 2002 at 00:00

Thursday, Oct 10, 2002 at 00:00
gadday des you are quite right on both counts and like all things you get what you pay for, now the reason for this is better quality fuel. you can go one better and i would highly recommend shell optimax(1st) or mobil synergy 8000(2nd) as both are true premium quality which will give you slightly even more power and more milage than PULP one other thing try always to stick to the main petro suppliers (shell, mobil, caltex, BP) they have far better quality control then all others and most refine thier own fuel, i say this because a lot of independants inc safeway use imported asian fuel of much less quality.
AnswerID: 7311

Reply By: Rod - Friday, Oct 11, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 11, 2002 at 00:00
Des, you now should try BP's 98 RON. Its a bit dearer again, but you'll notice a difference again. Here in WA the Dept of Consumer Protection provides a daily email subscription service for the best prices. Suggest you checkout the Vic govt equivilant.
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Reply By: Bob - Saturday, Oct 12, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Oct 12, 2002 at 00:00
Another factor is how much ethanol they put in. There is no way of knowing - could be up to 20% because the bloke running the ethanol production plant is a mate of the Prime Miniature.
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Follow Up By: Mudgutz - Sunday, Oct 13, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Oct 13, 2002 at 00:00 miniature is about right too..well done
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Reply By: Des - Sunday, Oct 13, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Oct 13, 2002 at 00:00
Thanks for these comments.

I suppose I was surprised at the improvement after reading something from the RACV saying the PULP made no difference for most cars. While that was probably before the new generation higher octane fuels, they still say something similar on their web site: "Using PULP in a car that is not designed for higher-octane petrol will not necessarily result in improved performance." On the other hand, Mobil says its PULP improves performance of all cars.

We have been using the Mobil Synergy 8000, but I shall try Shell Optimax and BP also. BP says its version is 95 RON, Mobil is 98 RON and Shell Optimax 98 RON. Good point Charl about preferring the locally refined fuels over imports.

I have found fuel pricing info at RACV, Fuel Watch ( and Consumer Affairs Victoria, but none of them includes PULP.

Nice comment about Howard and ethanol, Bob. I notice that BP says its PULP is 10% ethanol. The others don't specify.
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Reply By: Fred - Sunday, Oct 13, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Oct 13, 2002 at 00:00
Sorry folks but I am very sceptical about anecdotal reports of better performance and or economy. Tend to go with the RACV opinion. I've tried all and don't find any difference from normal ULP. I think many will believe what they are told - just as many will feel better when given a sugar tablet and told it's medication - people report what they are expected to report. I would need to see results supported by a series of controlled dynamometer tests as opposed to an oil company telling me to expect improvements in any car. Notice that they DON'T provide any scientific test results to back up their claims?? Why?? Because they don't exist!!
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Reply By: Brettski - Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 at 00:00

Wednesday, Oct 16, 2002 at 00:00
Some performance cars have a knock sensor built in which the ECU uses to determine (effectively - it isn't really this simple) the octane level of the fuel being used. If it detects knock it winds the timing back until it doesn't. Similarly it can wind the timing back forward when higher octane fuel is put in.

Generally this is done in turbo-charged cars to prevent engine damage from running too lean but it does mean that you get more power with better fuel. And it is noticeable.

Now, whether a car without a knock sensor and self-adjusting ECU will get more power or not is another matter...
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Reply By: Savvas - Friday, Oct 18, 2002 at 00:00

Friday, Oct 18, 2002 at 00:00
I've been tracking consumption in my Holden Monterey since April. The average consumption when using BP unleaded is 20L/100km, the average when using BP Ultimate 98 is 17.4L/100km. This isn't anecdotal, it's fact. However some engines won't see an improvement, for example the Commodore 3.8 V6 wouldn't benefit. The Isuzu V6 in the Jackaroo and Monterey has an ion burn sensor instead of a knock sensor and detects the quality of the burn, hence can take advantage of a better fuel.
AnswerID: 7566

Reply By: benau - Saturday, Oct 19, 2002 at 00:00

Saturday, Oct 19, 2002 at 00:00
to me PULP is well worth the the extra expence, I have a vl turbo with adjustable boost but otherwhise unmodified. the difference between different octane fuels if immence on standard clean unleaded fuel (87 ron) i can run a max of 8psi with out predetonation (engine ping), on caltex/ampol premium (95ron with fuel system cleaner in the mix) i can run 11 psi boost with out preditonation on mobil/bp/shell premium (98ron) i can run 13psi with out predetonation and get a massive increase in performance . I previously had a commodore v6 auto ute and i got 550-600k per tank on standard unleaded and 650-700k a tank on 95ron fuel and this was in the same trip on open road in western nsw/ vic, On carby motors it helps to advance the timing a bit to get the full increase in performance and economy(as much advance as you can get with out engine ping under full load) I'm a convert to pulp it gives me more power and better economy and thats what I want!
the cheapest fuel in melboure from my experience is usually the hwy strip past the old gmh dandenong plant
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Reply By: Savvas - Sunday, Oct 20, 2002 at 00:00

Sunday, Oct 20, 2002 at 00:00
One other thing to consider with some of these fuels are that they are "cleaner" than standard unleaded. For example, BP's 98 has 10 times less sulphur content than unleaded.
AnswerID: 7636

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