/ Cheap vs expensive petrol? ⛽

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V1c 08 Feb 2020

Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons petrol is cheaper than Shell and BP's but does it work out cheaper overall? Quality petrol contain additives which lower the consumption a wee bit and it's probably better for the engine. Is more expensive petrol worth it? 

7
Jim Lancs 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

My brother's just retired from running a very busy independent garage. Most of their customer's had cars in the 2 to 10 year old range. They were convinced that supermarket fuel was a contributing factor in those vehicles that needed significant engine work. 

It was no secret that he was "quite careful with his money", but he would never put supermarket fuel in his own car.

2
wercat 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Jim Lancs:

the only engine problems I ever had were from filling up from an Esso station - my 205 was never the same again - I tended to stick to branded petrol then.  Had to drive back from Skye in 3rd gear as there was so little power.

I've almost exclusively used supermarket petrol in the last 20 years and not had such a problem, but then I've only had second hand cars in that time and my current car is nearly 15 years old so possibly less affected?

With it being a diesel (my first) I've taken the precaution of using injector cleaners from time to time and also avoided low revs like the plague even if it costs me a little more fuel as I was told by a diesel engineer that running a diesel car too slow (in revs) was the sure way to maintenance bills.  I've had it a number of years and it has been trouble free.

Post edited at 09:20
1
wintertree 08 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

> the only engine problems I ever had were from filling up from an Esso station - my 205 was never the same again 

I had that with a 306 once but really it was coincidence, and the problem was that Peugeot had some almost unbelievably bad electrics in their cars...

wercat 08 Feb 2020
In reply to wintertree:

they were definitely vulnerable electrically.  But no, mine was definitely a fuel problem that began, dramatically after filling up for Skye in Penrith with a series of "conkouts", as if it was choking itself out.   We managed to make it up there by running the car with the choke out and in low gear.  It appeared like an analogue problem, a slow choking to death and reduction in power that would clear by letting it stand for half an hour

It gradually recovered over the weeks after but sometimes had the same problem again.   Various mechanics checked the fuel system but failed to resolve anything.

Apart from that I loved the car but always fretted about it recurring in far away places but it seemd ok after some months had passed. Not a problem with damp as it ocurred during a spell of very fine weather in 1990.

Post edited at 10:33
mrphilipoldham 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Jim Lancs:

My 2009 model Volvo V50 1.6D had exclusively supermarket fuel in it and despite the engine only ever having standard servicing it was still running fine when I retired it at 230,000 miles.  

Ian W 08 Feb 2020
In reply to wercat:

That sounds very much like water in the fuel.

Archy Styrigg 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

With over half a million miles on red diesel I've never had a single problem. The occasional top up with vegetable oil has never caused any trouble either.

1
Baron Weasel 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

My mechanic asked where I got my diesel last time I had my car serviced. When I replied morrisons he said that's what he expected. He said don't use it because it has so much biodiesel that it's infected the fuel tank with a fungal infection that has caused a number of knock on problems and that it's a false economy. 

4
MarkJH 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

> My mechanic asked where I got my diesel last time I had my car serviced. When I replied morrisons he said that's what he expected. He said don't use it because it has so much biodiesel that it's infected the fuel tank with a fungal infection that has caused a number of knock on problems and that it's a false economy. 

Is  bio-diesel more prone to diesel bug?  It definately does affect traditional diesel too.  As I understand it, it grows on the interface between water and diesel, so leaving fuel for a long time in a partially full tank is the main risk factor, and adding a biocide to the tank is a good idea if you are likely to do this often.

gethin_allen 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

This is going to be one of those anecdote threads where nobody really has any proper data.

My car went three times to the moon and back on tesco petrol Vs my car spontaneously exploded moments after filling up in Morrisons. 

I'd bet that the supermarkets buy their fuel from exactly the same place as the branded stations, so if you are buying the normal fuel (which is all 5% ethanol now) you're not going to see any difference. 

A bigger factor is the storage and age of the fuel, both in the vehicle's tank and the station tanks. There's always a bit of water in fuel, and the petrol stations monitor this. And obviously there's always the freak events of fuel contamination. Otherwise, I'd say you are best to go to the busiest petrol station you can find, which will probably be a supermarket.

2
overdrawnboy 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

I have had Citroen C5 estate on a 52 plate that I have run almost exclusively on supermarket diesel in the 15 years I've had it. Currently 195,000 miles and the engine is the least of my worries of failure. (crosses fingers and touches wood).

Dax H 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

I can't speak for reliability but I have tried different fuel in my van and bike. I'm quite methodical with the testing and will run each type of fuel for a couple of months and check average mpg. 

Supermarket defiantly has a lower mpg. 

Branded fuel is better on the mpg. 

Premium branded fuel has the best mpg. 

Looking at mp£ (miles per pound) I find branded the best, then super market then branded premium.

I used to have a spreadsheet from my testing but I don't have it anymore otherwise I would post the data. 

SouthernSteve 08 Feb 2020
In reply to gethin_allen:

I think Morrison's were using a proportion of bio diesel at least at one stage. There diesel did not seem to suit my car with a lower mpg noted, but I don't think petrol can be so adulterated. Interestingly current car explicitly states NO biodiesel under the flap.

Martin W 08 Feb 2020
In reply to SouthernSteve:

> Interestingly current car explicitly states NO biodiesel under the flap.

It almost certainly means pure biodiesel.  There are very few cars on the roads (~3% is the number I've read) that can use pure biofuels.

Both petrol and diesel as sold on UK forecourts at the moment are allowed to contain up to 5% biofuel: bioethanol from the fermentation of crops like corn and sugar beet in the case of petrol, and biodiesel from vegetable oils and animal fats (including recycled oils and fats) in the case of, er, diesel.  These do not have to be declared at the pump.

The government started a consultation in 2018 regarding a proposal to allow "E10" fuels (i.e. with up to 10% biofuel in the mix) from 2020.  These fuels are already available in some continental countries, usually sold with some kind of 'green' branding.  Given that there is a non-trivial minority of vehicles currently on the road that cannot use E10 fuels*, I would expect that such fuels would have to be explicitly and clearly labelled as such at the point of sale.

* For example, the owner's manual for my car - which was new in 2017, with an engine that was a new Euro 6 compliant design in 2014 - says 7% is the maximum amount of biodiesel that it can handle.

Yanis Nayu 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Dax H:

That’s interesting, cheers. 

Baz P 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

I have a mix of all brands in my car and because I never really open up the engine speed wise it was suggested I use a couple of tanks of premium petrol to decoke it. Throughout all of this the mpg indicator hasn’t moved significantly. The indicator is correct as I check it twice a year on along journey. 
Also, isn’t all petrol made to a BS standard.

gethin_allen 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin W:

Reading a few articles and a few big fuel producer websites I'm under the impression that all large scale fuel producers are mandated to use a percentage of biofuels and pretty much all fuel is blended so petrol is E5 (5% ethanol) and Diesel is all B7 (7% Biodiesel).

And this includes all the premium fuels like BP Ultimate and shell V-power diesel.

SouthernSteve 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Martin W:

That's very interesting - thanks.Steve

balmybaldwin 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

Well I've run my car almost exclusively on Sainsbury's "SuperPlus" (the 97 ron petrol) since I got it a year ago with no problems at all. It cost me the same as 95ron from Esso/BP but I think the Ron value is more important than the branding.

Most cars these days with anything other than the smallest petrol engines are designed for higher RON levels. I'm not convinced that the "extra additives" aren't just marketing bumf - all fuel has additives to assist with burn, temperature variations etc e.g. the same petrol station will not stock the exact same fuel all year round, and diesel in particular will have  antifreezing additives added in the winter.

Name Changed 34 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

 You’re right when I charge up at work  they are solar panels on the roof across the road and he sells his electric to EDF so the electricity is not as good or powerful as when I charge up at home from the National Grid  

I think to charge up next to the power station is probably best 🚎

1
wercat 08 Feb 2020
In reply to Ian W:

that was the conclusion I came to in the end, other than some kind of lump of filth or fluff or sludge stuck somewhere

wercat 08 Feb 2020
In reply to overdrawnboy:

yes, in the words of Gene Krantz 's portrayal in Apollo 13, my car is getting to the age where I ask "what have we got on the ship that is GOOD?"

The propulsion system is still OK, hull integrity declining, electrics declining ..., main bus undervolt more common unless I turn of unnecessary things on short trips.

Post edited at 19:17
krikoman 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

My work as a control engineer has taken me to many different companies and factories.

I once went to Esso in Purfleet, where they we filling up B&Q oil containers with Esso oil, I was sworn to secrecy.

Make of that what you will, but there is likely to be very little difference between petrol from different service stations, other than how it's stored at that particular site, it would be too expensive to make a different "mix" for each customer of the refinery.

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Ian W 08 Feb 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> My work as a control engineer has taken me to many different companies and factories.

> I once went to Esso in Purfleet, where they we filling up B&Q oil containers with Esso oil, I was sworn to secrecy.

Thats just "own branding". Extremely common throughout all industries.

> Make of that what you will, but there is likely to be very little difference between petrol from different service stations, other than how it's stored at that particular site, it would be too expensive to make a different "mix" for each customer of the refinery.

All unleaded (for example) starts from the same base, the difference between different brands is in the additives they use, and the particular mixtures. Supermarket brands tend to not have many additives, and to be honest, there isnt that much of a difference in other brands (Shell / Esso / Jet etc etc) as cars are pretty sensitive to differences (see biofuel problems referred to previously in this thread), but there are differences, even though as you say, they all come from the same refinery. Indeed most of the supermarkets are supplied by the same company. See this article - its a bit ut of date, but nothing much has changed since then

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/nov/28/tesco-petrol-retail-industry

Rob Kennard 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

In my student days I worked in a Shell service station. Back then during a delivery the forecourt would be closed and we would 'supervise' the delivery. Plenty of time to chat to the drivers. They worked on a contract which meant that they would pick up fuel from Fawley refinery and deliver to different branded outlets, including supermarkets. Every different outlet received fuel from exactly the same source, with the exception of premium fuels(i.e V Power in the case of Shell). As a result, Ive always been happy to use supermarket fuels

girlymonkey 08 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

In November (when we got a brief spell of winter!), my van just stopped one morning in the road. I had driven about 10km probably when it died. I called the breakdown people (and got VERY cold toes while waiting - I was in running kit!) and they towed me to a garage who said it was the fuel filter clogging up due to supermarket fuels having extra additives which go thick in cold weather. A couple of weeks previously, my mother had exactly the same problem. So the mechanic told us we should get at least 1 fill in 3 from a garage rather than supermarket.

LastBoyScout 09 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

Haven't used supermarket fuel since I filled my old Diesel Focus at a Sainsbury's. Performance and mpg both nosedived and throttle response was terrible.

Took 2 tanks of Shell and a bottle of injector cleaner to get it back to normal.

These days, I tend to use Shell for preference, then BP.

artif 09 Feb 2020
In reply to V1c:

Read an article recently about vatious fuels and mpg that was tested (unfortunately can't find it) but there was a significant difference between the various suppliers, supermarkets and one of the big names came out worse. I think it was shell came out best.

However there are many variables to consider, storage of the fuel, ethanol evaporates and also attracts water (useless for longer term storage). If like me you play around with older cars, the high ethanol is a nightmare on rubber hoses and old carbs.

Diesel bug is also a PITA biocide only goes so far, you will still have to flush the tank and fuel lines etc.

Another factor is the garage, the local one near me, has just had its tanks replaced, after numerous complaints of water in fuel damage. The complaints had been going on for a few years. We certainly had some issues but ours being older cars, were more tolerant of it.

The direct injection cars weren't so lucky.

The funny part is, that it has changed brand several times in this period from BP to Esso to Shell.

Re diesel in winter, the supermarkets are less likely to add winter additives, and cold weather can cause it to gel. 

One last thing, the premium fuels have less ethanol to maintain the higher octane rating, which works better for longer term storage, ie lawnmowers chainsaws or stoves. Still only good for a few months though. 

Post edited at 09:09
marsbar 09 Feb 2020
In reply to gethin_allen:

I think one thing I've learnt that seems to be more important than where you get fuel is not to let the tank get to the bottom. 

krikoman 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Ian W:

> Thats just "own branding". Extremely common throughout all industries.

I know what it is, but whatever you want to call it, it was the same oil, for considerable less price-wise.

Which works from many products, it's simply too expensive to make many different variations, so they make the same stuff and put it in different bottles / petrol stations.

Post edited at 11:09
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Ian W 09 Feb 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> I know what it is, but whatever you want to call it, it was the same oil, for considerable less price-wise.

Indeed; often worth checking the labels in supermarkets / diy chains for the "packed for b&q by bp oils" or whatever.

johncook 09 Feb 2020
In reply to Baron Weasel:

My mechanic showed me the fuel filter which contained a lot of 'jelly'. He asked if I bought my diesel from Morrisons who were just down the road. He suggested I stop, pay a little more, and get better mileage/performance. He was right. Never had a clogged filter since and get better performance. This was in an old 306 with 300 000 plus on it.

DerwentDiluted 09 Feb 2020
In reply to krikoman:

> I know what it is, but whatever you want to call it, it was the same oil, for considerable less price-wise.

> Which works from many products, it's simply too expensive to make many different variations, so they make the same stuff and put it in different bottles / petrol stations.

Not always the case. I work for a blender of lubricating oils of all kinds. There isn't an over abundance of blenders in the UK and sub contract blending and filling is a pretty big thing.  Customers sometimes want a particular formulation which might differ from the blenders own formulation. If the volume justifies it there is no reason why you cant blend to a bespoke formulation.  


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