• Staff Writer

Should You Really Use Premium Petrol for Your Car?

With high import duties and other forms of taxes imposed on cars here in Singapore, cars are now one of Singaporeans' most prized possessions. But, is it really worth it to pump premium petrol?

We know that cars are one of the most valuable personal possessions in Singapore, as an average car these days can easily cost more than S$90,000. As such, it comes to no surprise that one might want to spend extra to "pamper" their car, as they fill up their vehicles with the best. But the question is, is it really worth the money to fill your car up with premium fuel? First let us understand what "premium" fuel is all about.

Understanding the Ron Rating

Often you will see these numbers listed at the petrol station - 92, 95, and 98 and wonder what they are. These are what we call Research Octane Numbers or RON rating, the RON rating measures how well a fuel resists uncontrolled combustion in an engine or what we normally refer to as pinging or knocking. The higher the RON number, the greater the resistance. The three numbers mentioned are commonly known to drivers as regular, mid-grade and premium fuels.

Is It Really Worth It?

Premium fuels by the numerous brands in Singapore often come with the promise to clean and protect your car's engine as well as help squeeze additional mileage from your tank. To a certain extent, it is true, but it also comes at an additional cost, which means whatever you gain will also have a corresponding loss, which in this case equates to a thinner wallet. This is why it is imperative that one pumps the correct grade of petrol rather than use a higher RON rating fuel that the car does not require.

So What Should I Do?

First and foremost, you should check out your car’s manual. Every car manual gives a recommendation for the minimum RON rating to use. You should always match that number, and never go below. In fact, 99 per cent of cars work perfectly well on 95 (mid-grade) standard unleaded fuel, but with certain high-performance sports cars such as a BMW M5 or a Ford Mustang, filling them with premium fuel does improve performance, as the various petrol companies add in various additives into their premium fuels to clean and protect your car's engine. However, for those who drive daily runabouts such as a Mercedes-Benz CLA or a Honda Freed, there’s no need to regularly fill your car up with premium fuel on a weekly basis. If you feel that it would help look after your car's engine, just the occasional tank once a month would suffice.

In summary, if you don't really see any stark improvement in fuel efficiency and performance, you shouldn’t reconsider the rationale of paying for premium petrol. Moreover, different cars will respond differently to different brands and grades of fuels, so the only way to truly find out is to try out a few tanks’ worth and assess.

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