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Fuel Economy And Fuel Types

With the ridiculous fuel prices of today, fuel usage is a big topic and a concern for most people and families who have to budget for their travels and fuel costs associated. 

There are a few myths around fuel types and fuel economy which we will clear up and give you some information on best practices for your car and your hip pocket. 

There are so many different fuel types and advertising of fuels these days is very confusing to the average person. Bio fuels, ethanol, e10, e85, 91, 93, 95, 98 optimax, super unleaded, ultimate, vortex, premiums…

OK, let’s break it down into categories.

Fuel Economy: Fuel Types

It’s the octane rating of the fuel which gives the number. The higher the number the better the fuel is.

So, 98 is the best pump petrol we have in Australia and it is the best for your cars engine and performance, however, it comes at a cost.

95 is very good and far exceeds most of the rest of the worlds fuel octane ratings and will be very good for 95% of cars excluding high performance applications where 98 should be used at all times. 

91 & 93 are budget fuels and also for older cars which are not as reliant on higher octane fuels. If your car is 10 years old or newer then the best fuels to use is 95 or if you want the best out of your car, use the 98 – it isn’t advised to use the 91 or 93. 

The ethanol fuels are e85 which is purely high performance applications and requires your vehicle to be setup on e85 for it to run properly. E10 is a cheap alternative to 9. It has 10% ethanol mixed in to keep it cheap for the consumer, however this is not a good fuel and it is not advised to use it at all. Ethanol absorbs moisture and this moisture sitting in your fuel tank will make your fuel pumps fail and also causes many other problems with your engine. 

The names like “vortex” or “ultimate” etc are pure branding and don’t hold any value to the quality of the product. 

The ‘myth’ that using the air conditioner will consume more fuel is, in fact, a true statement due to more load on the engine.  However it’s that small that it is not measurable and if you want the air conditioner on please do so as you won’t notice a difference in fuel consumption. 

The quality of fuel used will however show a fuel consumption difference. The lower fuel octane produces less power and therefore you push the pedal down more creating more fuel consumption to get to a given distance compared to the higher octanes like 98. Each person’s car and driving style will vary on the amount of fuel consumption and the differences available by using different fuels. 

The use of lower quality fuels is not very good for your fuel system and engine.  It will result in more maintenance over the vehicles life and in general there will be more out of pocket costs by using the cheap fuel. To gain a couple of dollars saving at the pump when hit with a bill for vehicle repairs, is bad economy. 

As your car gets older the sensors that are used to adjust the fuel usage by the engine get worn and slowly will affect your engine’s fuel consumption and performance. When the sensors are not operating in the range specified, they will bring on an engine light. However, much earlier than this, the engine’s fuel usage will be dropping. A good way to check this if you’re concerned about fuel usage and cost, is to press the trip meter when you fill up and watch how many kms you get to a full tank of fuel. If this drops you have an issue. 

Every manufacturer will list the suitable fuels for the cars make and model and we at Coastwide Service Centre are more than happy to discuss different fuel options for your vehicle with you.

Fuel Economy Summary

The best way to keep your engine using as little fuel as possible is to keep it serviced regularly, clean filters and good oil will always be the best way to keep your car running on the literal “smell of an oily rag“.

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