It’s in middle of the day and you’re craving something sweet. Chocolate cake or a brownie? The cake sounds much more delectable than the brownie, but at the end of the day they both consist of the same product that will satisfy your craving. Chocolate. The same goes for when your car becomes a bit hungry. Amid the vast range of car-snacks comes the hard decision of which to choose. Premium or regular?
We all know the cost of petrol prices are always on the rise. So why do some of us pay extra for premium fuel when there is a cheaper version available? Many companies spend unwarranted amounts of cash constantly fuelling up on the posh pump. Don’t get me wrong, some fleets vehicles may require this needed ‘premium’, but some really don’t. So where’s the line?
Well, firstly what do all the numbers you see at the petrol pump actually mean? When you see an unleaded 91 or 95, the numbers are usually referred to as the Research Octane Number (RON) or the Anti-Knock Index (AKI). This simply illustrates the ratio of iso-octane (used for standardizing petrol) versus heptane (used to determine octane ratings) in the gasoline. For example, when your car is guzzling down a 91, it basically means the gas is 91% iso-octane and 9% heptane.
‘Gasoline with a higher octane number require more compression before it explodes, meaning that it’s less likely to explode in a piston before the spark plug sets it off. Because the gasoline has a high octane rating, gas companies charge more money for it.’ (mentoreng.com)
Now, depending on what type of vehicle your fleet consists of, the usage of premium fuel may not necessarily be needed in your particular circumstances. As stated in the quote above, if your car engine’s pistons (used to compress fluid, i.e. your petrol) compress the gasoline in excess it might explode spontaneously (and by this I don’t suggest your car will explode causing death by unleaded 91). I simply mean, when the gasoline explodes it drives your engine’s pistons backwards causing a knocking sound; trust me when I tell you this is not healthy for your car’s well-being!
Not to worry though, if you have recently bought a car then it is most likely fixed with a knock-sensor. This is a device which automatically detects knocking and adjusts the amount of air included in the gasoline to prevent it from igniting prematurely.
With this in mind, if your fleet consists of vehicles which are fairly new, maybe you should check with your manufacturer to find out whether your vehicles comprise of a knock-sensor. If so, filling up with premium may prove to be an expensive spend for your company, especially when you don’t need it!
On the other hand, if you’re driving around a fleet of nearly retired clunkers without knock-sensors, then premium may be the best option in this case.
Do you think regular is sufficient? Or do you believe premium should always be used no matter what? Share your thoughts below.