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Unleaded or unleaded plus - Does it really make a difference?

By Chris Hugh

You went to refuel your tank and the gas station offers you with super unleaded petrol instead of the regular one. Have you faced similar situations? Are you confused between super unleaded petrol referred to as unleaded plus and the standard unleaded petrol? Do you often ask yourself whether it is worth paying more for premium fuel? Does the premium one offer more millage? If you are being bombarded with these questions daily, then today is the day to find your answers. Let's find out.

Like others you too might be stuck between the gas prices – which one to choose unleaded or unleaded plus? Super fuel or premium fuel is petrol with a higher octane rating or research octane number (RON). An octane rating is often referred to as an ‘anti-knock index’. If fuel has a high octane number, it will have a higher resistance to engine knocking. Octane number is measured under tougher test conditions and at higher engine speed and temperature.

Generally most fuels, the standard ones have an octane rating of 95, while the unleaded plus has an octane rating of 98. It makes the engine work more efficiently and improves millage. Petrol companies demand that these fuels improve engine performances, increases millage and reduce engine wear and tear. So is it worth paying the extra buck for these fuels?

The difference in price will come up to 10p per litre depending on the country you live. The higher octane rating will allow the fuel to burn more efficiently and hence deliver more power to the engine. But it has also been reported that 99% cars work well with the standard lower priced fuels. Many drivers report that they found a significant increase in the millage of their vehicles, while other complain that there is very little or no difference at all. It depends on how you drive and what your drive.

Unleaded plus petrol is suitable for high performance engines where you have high pressure and temperature and thus it can be used to deliver maximum horsepower and improve performance. On the other hand regular engines would work more efficiently with the standard petrol, since they have lower compression ratio and engine temperatures. Additionally, the super fuel is also responsible for reducing noise and hence offers you a comfortable ride. The unleaded plus fuel provides more torque which generates greater pull, allowing you more speed and fun.

Premium petrol producers make claims of additives designed to clean and protect your engine but does this make it worth buying regularly? Premium fuels do have effective detergent properties which help the removal, and prevent formation of, carbon and gum deposits on valves and other components inside the combustion chamber. Moreover, the higher octane rating prevents the engine knock and hence protects your engine from unwanted wear and tear. But this anti knocking feature cannot be enjoyed by all. It can only be experienced by drivers or people with high performance cars where engine knock is more prevalent due to the higher compression ratios caused by superchargers or turbochargers.

Has your confusion been cleared or you got more confused with gas prices??? The best solution might be premium fuel at a discounted price. Maybe a reality in the coming years, but let’s look a bit further into the comparison of the two fuels. It is said that unleaded plus petrol has double detergent add on, to increase the lifetime of your engine. It is a general notion that high performance car owners will enjoy the benefits of premium petrol, especially if they are driving hard on an open road. But drivers of vehicles with smaller engines that are used for little more than local errands and the weekly shop are unlikely to see any significant benefit.

Another added advantage of the higher octane rating is that super fuels are environment friendly. Since the octane number is high, thus it allows the fuel to burn out completely, leaving behind less room for production of dirt, ash, debris and fuel burn outs. So using unleaded plus petrol is definitely environment friendly as compared to the standard ones. So you can have a cleaner engine with a greener environment.

So are the benefits worthy enough that you pay the extra money for super fuels. Unleaded or unleaded plus – which one is supreme? All facts, figures and research work will not help you find the answer. So what is the best way to find whether the premium variety increase millage or not? Self-test is the best way to find out. Try using the unleaded plus for 2-3 times, find out whether your millage is increasing, whether your exhaust pipe is looking cleaner and whether you are enjoying your ride more than before. If it’s a yes then go for super fuels form today, else sit back and relax – use the standard one.