The days when stopping over at the gas station, waiting in long queues are long gone. Now, just like humans, cars have their own preferences for fuel intake. They might not like it if you feed them with an incompatible fuel, and might react as well, but certainly not aggressively.
Hence, instead of going for the cheapest option at the fuel station, try to be more empathetic towards your car and offer it the one which suits the best for its optimal function. Unaware of what’s probably the best fuel type for your vehicle? Here’s a simple guide on the various fuels available to keep your ride happy (sort of speak) and intact.
The most common automobile fuel, gasoline, is a refined petroleum distillate. And that’s how gasoline got its moniker ‘petrol’. Gasoline customarily comes in three (03) different grades or octane ratings.
What is octane rating/grades?
Octane rating measures the fuel’s ability to resist knocking during combustion. Knocking occurs when air and fuel mixture detonates prematurely in the engine.
The research octane number (RON) and AKI of a specific formula designates the grades.
- 87 AKI (Lowest rating and cheapest option, aka regular)
- 88-90 AKI (Mid-grade)
- 90-94 AKI (Premium or High-grade)
Which Grade is Optimal for your Vehicle?
Generally, the higher the octane rating, the greater is fuel resistance to knocking during the combustion process in the engine. Most engines are designed to withstand pre-ignition, but cars with high compression engine are more likely to experience knocking during combustion. These vehicles require a higher grade like Premium. Hence, high octane fuels are generally for engines with high combustion ratio or the ones that use turbocharged energy for forcing air into the engine. They not only boost vehicle’s performance but its overall fuel economy too.
To go for a lower grade fuel for the sake of money will damage your car’s engine and performance. Thus when in a state of utter oblivion, it is generally recommended to go for a higher grade which is more preferable since it won’t cause any damage to your vehicle. Here are a few key points to keep in mind before choosing a grade for your vehicle.
- Refer to the owner’s manual before choosing the optimal grade.
- Don’t opt for a lower grade than recommended in the owner’s manual.
- Choosing a higher grade might improve gas mileage, depending on your vehicle.
- High octanes are costly but if it’s your vehicle’s requirement, they’ll be cost-efficient for you, reducing your need to fill up often, minimizing costly repairs, increase efficiency and prevent damage from the wrong octane.
Diesel is also petroleum made, obtained from crude oil, but refined through a different process. Most trucks used for industrial or towing purposes use diesel because of its powerful delivery, fuel-efficiency, and better gas mileage. However, diesel is more expensive than gasoline. Conventionally, there are two (02) basic diesel fuels. One is used for general automobiles, other is used specifically for off-roading vehicles. Otherwise, diesel comes in five (05) types:
- Petroleum Diesel
- Synthetic Diesel
- Hydrogenated Oils and Fats
- Dimethyl Ether (DME)
Synthetic Diesel is a low-carbon fuel alternative, recommended for its near-zero Sulphur content reducing emissions.
Biodiesel is an alternative renewable fuel made from vegetable oils or animal fats. However, manufacturers have their concerns as it can corrode components, increase blockages, and can even cause seizures.
Dimethyl Ether (DME) is a great alternative fuel to meet carbon-emission reduction goals. It’s a non-toxic fuel with low cost, high cetane value, restrained combustion, low soot and NOx combustion.
LPG & CNG
LPG stands for Liquified Petroleum Gas and is composed of butane and propane. Although it’s cheaper than petrol and diesel, vehicles need to be converted before running on gas. It has lower greenhouse gases emissions, and thus is considered to be an environment-friendly fuel. It’s not only used for vehicles but for various other purposes due to its versatile nature.
CNG or Compressed Natural Gas is made of methane, and is an alternative for gasoline in automobiles. In comparison, CNG is considered safer since LPG barely disperses and/or settles on the ground.
Produced from organic materials, two (02) types of biofuels are used in automobiles; bioethanol and biodiesel. Bioethanol is an alcohol made from corn and sugarcane. Biofuels are not conventional in a manner of speaking and thus are not commercially available. They are often mixed with petrol and diesel to make the former more environmentally-friendly.
Now that you are aware of all types of fuels and their uses, choose your preference wisely. Although refer to your car’s owner manual to opt for the ultimate one for your automobile as manufacturers determine the best fuel rating for your vehicle.