Using Premium Unleaded Petrol

Unleaded Petrol Pump

Which petrol is best for your vehicle?

Have you ever used Premium Unleaded petrol in your vehicle instead of Regular Unleaded? Did it seem to go further, dollar for dollar? Did it have any noticeable effect at all?

If your car is optimised to run on Regular Unleaded 91 RON (Research Octane Number), then using PULP may have a marginal effect on the fuel consumption and cost saving.

So if, hypothetically, a vehicle was designed to operate on any octane (which is never the case), using 98 RON would give a seven per cent increase in power or a seven per cent decrease in fuel consumption compared with using 91 RON. Cars that are designed to run on PULP 98 RON may still run on 95 RON but you may lose around three per cent of power, or increase fuel consumption by this amount.

Therefore, if ultra premium fuel costs more than seven per cent more than 91 RON, is it economically unwise to use it?

The simplest advice is to use the octane recommended in your owner’s manual.

Have you used Premium Unleaded and noticed any improvements in your vehicle’s fuel economy or performance?

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How do I know if my fuel is contaminated?

Issues with contaminated fuel are somewhat rare nowadays, however, if you are unlucky enough to be in this situation, repairs can be very costly. 


PROOF OF PURCHASE: Although many people do not retain receipts, they can be helpful when making claims for contamination issues.

If you notice any of the following symptoms soon after refuelling you MAY have bought contaminated fuel:

  • Engine running rough or lacking power/performance
  • Engine harder to start than usual
  • Misfiring, pinging or backfiring
  • “Engine check” light illuminated

If you suspect that you have picked up a bad batch of fuel, your first priority is to take your car to your local mechanic or servicing dealer, for a check and verification.

If you are unable to drive your car to your mechanic, call our Road Assist team, who offer NRMA Members a quick check and advice or towing if assistance is necessary. 

Be sure to note the date time and location of where the fuel was obtained. A fuel receipt will also be handy.

Advise the service station where you bought the fuel from that you are experiencing problems following the last refuelling and that you will be making a claim against them for the repairs that may be  needed. 

Have you ever experienced contaminated fuel before? Was it a costly repair? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

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Aussie motorists favour fuel efficiency over performance


When it comes to cars, Aussies value fuel efficiency above performance, according to a new study from Roy Morgan Research

Of the reported 15,140,000 motorists on Australia’s roads, nearly 80% of them consider fuel efficiency to be more important in a vehicle than high performance. Three-quarters of them will only buy a car with a proven track record, and 72% spend a lot of time researching their options before deciding what car to buy.

Meanwhile, 69% of Aussie drivers agree that “I usually only consider the main car manufacturers as I don’t like to take the risk of a lesser known make” and 69% name safety as their ‘number one concern when choosing a vehicle’.

Auto attitudes and type of car driven

The report goes on to discuss some telling differences between the attitudes of drivers of different kinds of vehicles: light passenger cars and large SUVs, for example.

The most striking difference between these two groups is in their attitudes towards fuel efficiency. For nearly nine of every ten (87%) light passenger car drivers, fuel efficiency is more important than high performance, while drivers of large SUVs are less concerned.

“Australians who drive light passenger cars are much more likely to regard their car simply as a means to get them safely and cost-effectively from A to B, while large SUV drivers tend to want much more than that from their vehicle,” says Jordan Pakes, Industry Director of Automotive at Roy Morgan Research.

However, both groups are willing to spend time researching their options before buying, and place a high priority on their chosen vehicle having a proven track record.

What do you think? Do you value fuel efficiency over performance?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=12,858).

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), December 2013 – November 2014 (n=12,858).


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Which grade of diesel should you use at the bowser?

Considering today’s ever improving diesel engines, our Members have been asking which grade of diesel should they choose at the pump.


DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Pricing is not the only thing you need to consider when filling up at the bowser.

NRMA Motoring Advice recommends the Low Sulphur grade Premium Diesel option, as this is the only type of fuel that is compatible with today’s diesel fuel systems. 

In older vehicles, the usage of  regular diesel can cause significant sulphuric acid build up which quickly corrodes piston rings, cylinder linings, valves and cylinder head. Oil changes are also required frequently, doubling the vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations.

For newer vehicles, high pressure diesel direct-injection systems such as common rail diesel engines are highly sensitive to high sulphur fuels. Also, electronic metering systems are rendered inaccurate by deteriorating fuel injector pins.

Overall, high sulfur fuels increase vehicle repair and maintenance costs are for both vehicle types. Low sulphur diesel can be used in any vehicle or stationary diesel engine that currently runs on regular diesel.

Low sulphur diesel summary:

  • Reduces sulphur in fuel potentially reduces the risk of corrosive wear in the engine;
  • Reduces the sulphur content does not inhibit engine performance; and
  • Reduces sulphur facilitates the introduction of new diesel exhaust treatment catalyst which will further enhance the reduction of environmentally sensitive diesel emissions;
  • Reduces the ultra fine particles from diesel engine exhausts will improve local air quality;
  • Reduces sulphur dioxide emissions, which contribute to acid rain, will reduce the risk of acid rain occurring.

Are you a regular user of low sulphur diesel? Have you noticed any improvements to your vehicle’s running and repair costs?

Have any more questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team are available to provide advice and information on just about anything motoring related for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)

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What’s the deal with Diesel prices?

Over the last few weeks motorists have saved at the bowser with unleaded fuel prices hitting a six year low due to the fall in crude and refined oil prices. Despite this, Diesel fuel pricing has not changed.

Diesel price_edit

PEOPLE POWER: Motorists are encouraged to share cheaper fuel prices on social media.

The price of diesel is determined by international market forces (independent of market forces associated with petrol). At present there is strong international competition and an over-supply of petrol within the international market (due to the US producing more off their own petrol and relying less on imported oil from the Middle East).

This is a major factor in petrol prices being as low as they are. However this is not reflected with diesel as there is not the same level of competition internationally.

Pricing at the Bowser

Only 25 percent of diesel used in Australia is sold through retail outlets – with most diesel sold to bulk commercial/industrial customers i.e. mining and transport companies.

There is very little diesel sold to private customers (as opposed to petrol), so there is no need for retailers to provide the same level of discounting for diesel products, as most of the market share is with commercial/industrial customers – not motorists. Therefore, retail diesel prices, unlike petrol prices are not subject to aggressive price discounting. At service stations, retailers concentrate on petrol/LPG  discounting to drive overall fuel sales.

Motorists are encouraged use our online Petrol Watch price guide or share the cheapest fuel prices in their areas on our NRMA Facebook Page.

Have you noticed any changes to diesel fuel prices in your area? What’s been the cheapest price? 

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