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Thread: Fuel comparison megatest!

  1. #1
    Regular Member MrT's Avatar
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    Question Fuel comparison megatest!

    Okay, Ste threw down the challenge a while ago on the Tractor Lotion thread like this:
    Anyone fancy doing some road tests to prove / disprove the performance gain claims? As no-one has risen to the challenge (even those who say SUL is the best thing ever invented) I can only say that no-one is willing to put their money where their mouth is.
    It's time to take up the challenge... and I haven't got enough time to wait - it'll take me about a year to build enough miles!

    This thread picks up from that thread. Here's what I'm proposing:

    • You need to make no other changes (e.g. tyres, unless swapping for identical brand)
    • Driver fills up on whatever is their regular brand for 3 tankfuls - defined as second click-stop on pump (round to a pound if that's your normal thing) down to fuel warning light blinking (usually 20 miles on my car - light on solid at 32 miles left)
    • Reset trip computer (either counter on systems with two readouts) for each tank
    • Driver posts the full tank average for the THIRD tankful (ParaPaul's suggestion based on petrol comparisons)
    • Driver then tries one of the following diesel brands:
      • Tesco/Sainbury's/Morrisons etc supermarket brand
      • Main brand standard fuel (BP, Texaco, Shell Extra, etc)
      • 'Premium' brand (specifically BP Ultimate and Shell V-Power)
    • Run the new fuel for three tankfuls and report the third tank average mpg according to your trip computer.
    • Report any immediate findings (quietness, responsiveness) on each tank if required, but DON'T record mpg until tank 3
    We need some other volunteers to bulk out the results, and to speed up the process - we'll all be in Chevy Volts before I can get round to testing all brands...

    It shouldn't make any difference if you run a 1.9(120), 1.9(150) or V6 CDTi because we're talking about a difference in your mpg, not going for the absolute hypermiling record for max mpg. However, it'll be good to compare similar experience to other drivers with the same engine, so include your motor in the report.

    No poll on this one - I can't work out how to make it read sensibly!
    Last edited by MrT; 16th November 2008 at 00:37.

  2. #2
    Regular Member MrT's Avatar
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    I'll kick this off:

    1.9 (150)
    Normal brand: BPU
    Average mpg (25k): 46.2
    Now running: Tesco

    Initial thoughts: On Tesco, car is less responsive below 2kRPM, smokes slightly more, is louder on both idle and running.

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    Regular Member parapaul's Avatar
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    good to see this

    I've been running supermarket standard unleaded for a few tanks now, I'll change to V Power which is 99 RON and see if it makes any difference.

  4. #4
    Regular Member yorkshireborn's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Insignia

    Trim : SE

    Engine : 2.0

    Year : 2011

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    Quote Originally Posted by parapaul View Post
    good to see this

    I've been running supermarket standard unleaded for a few tanks now, I'll change to V Power which is 99 RON and see if it makes any difference.
    thought V-power was 97ron (unless im looking at wrong websites)

    anyhow i only run tesco sul now as i seem to get between 20 and 30 miles more out of a tank full.

  5. #5
    Regular Member parapaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yorkshireborn View Post
    thought V-power was 97ron (unless im looking at wrong websites)
    I thought so too - was digging around the Shell website yesterday and they say it's 99 RON. I think the old Optimax was 97 RON.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shell Website
    Shell V-Power is a high octane fuel (99 RON) designed to help maximize the performance of many modern engines with adaptive spark timing capacity.
    link

    Quote Originally Posted by yorkshireborn View Post
    anyhow i only run tesco sul now as i seem to get between 20 and 30 miles more out of a tank full
    Is that Tesco 'ordinary' 97 RON SUL or their 99 RON SUL?

    Last edited by parapaul; 16th November 2008 at 09:54.

  6. #6
    Regular Member MrT's Avatar
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    Yeah, Optimax was 97RON - close enough to 4-star for my Cav to run fine on 98RON alternate ECU map in place of the std 95RON setting.

    V-Power petrol is 99RON, which is even better for cars that can adjust to it fully (you'll need a system with knock-sensing, like on the original Astra/Cav 2.0 16v GTE/GSi - Bosch Motronic 4.5, IIRC). Otherwise, you may not notice too much by way of a power boost. What petrol units fitted to Vec-C include this sort of thing? If I was to guess I'd say the 2.8V6, the 2.0T and possibly the 2.2direct, although the 1.8VVT unit is also trick enough to presumably require tighter control over ignition than the old non-VVT one.

    99RON - don't they have one higher in Euroland? Something in my mind thinks about 102RON, which is like back in the days of 5-star leaded that only Ferrari Daytonas needed.

    For diesel, its the Cetane value that is important. IIRC regular diesel is around 45, with BPU in region of 53, and V-Power even higher (is it as high as 57? Someone please confirm!)

    Diesels should need no fancy ECU work because it's all done by compression ignition - if the mix is more explosive due to boosted cetane values the difference will be felt even in an average motor.

    If anyone runs fuel additives like Fortis etc, the test is still valid - just run three tanks of your standard fuel and then follow with three of std+additive - this adds loads of new variables, and we may find that one additive works best on budget fuel whereas another is better with premium.

    It will be useful to include price per litre too, especially if we are to work out if it's more cost-effective to give our 8p/litre to BP for Ultimate or to buy cheap and add something like Fortis (which the last time I looked at it ran at approx 8p/litre of fuel when mixed - coincidence?). Some tests have shown that adding these things caused a drop in mpg though...
    Last edited by MrT; 17th November 2008 at 00:53.

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    Regular Member MrT's Avatar
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    Actually - memory does me down again - Optimax was 98RON (officially 'greater that 98RON') - if it was 97RON, I'd have had problems like pinking on hills cos the map would have pushed ahead of the fuel in higher-load situations (which it often did on 95RON UL; avoiding this was one of the reasons I switched to Optimax).

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    Regular Member m8internet's Avatar
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    If you are performing this test, then all fuel consumption will have to be performed over the same road types and conditions
    You should also consider which refinery the fuel is sourced from, in some cases it may all be from the same one!

    I've previously compared BP, Shell, ASDA, and TESCO, all from BP Grangemouth
    BP, ASDA, and TESCO all returned about the same
    Shell returned a minimal improvement, less than 1%
    As a result I fill up with Shell whereever possible, TESCO is choice number 2

  9. #9
    Regular Member MrT's Avatar
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    True, but only for the tank where the mpg is being noted (the others are just for 'acclimatising' the engine to the fuel). I guess it's a lot easier if folk have a fairly constant pattern, given the mileage that can be wrung from a good setup these days. Saw a figure in the IAM magazine that today's average of average mpgs is 38, whereas thirty years ago it was 29mpg.

    How do you find out the refinery? I was hoping that just by filling up at the same place for each fuel would be enough to sort out any problems with the different sources. http://www.energyinst.org.uk/educati...neries/map.htm - I guess it'll be easier in some parts of the countrythan in others - the M62 corrider has two refineries at either end, so any local supermarket in Kingston or Liverpool could shop around.
    Last edited by MrT; 17th November 2008 at 23:59.

  10. #10
    Regular Member Hideous's Avatar
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    Vehicle : Insignia

    Trim : SRi Nav

    Engine : CDTI160

    Year : 2012

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    Feel free, but this will prove absolutely nothing to anyone but yourself.
    I, and many others have tested the super diesel extensively over many miles and have concluded that it is a waste of time and money. Others swear by it, who's right? Who knows.
    I use Esso or Texaco standard - staying away from supermarket fuels because of the bad reputation with contaminants.

    The only thing that could prove performance benefits is some monitored acceleration races with identical cars - first checking that they run the same on the same fuel (as most cars are different anyway, so difficult to do).
    My prediction - no difference in performance when using superfuels - unless the car is specially tuned to make use it.
    Last edited by Hideous; 18th November 2008 at 00:17.

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