Fuel Debate 2 : Which fuel is the best?
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  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! Dr_Pug's Avatar
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    Default Fuel Debate 2 : Which fuel is the best?

    The question has been brought up a few times, which fuel offers the best peformance/mileage. Hopefully this qualitative study conducted by the university of sydney and MRT peformance comparing 98, 95 rom and specialist fuels enlightens you.

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    Last edited by Alan S; 18th October 2005 at 12:11 AM.
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    Sense Pug307's Avatar
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    The report hasn't been very professionally written - I'm guessing it's work in progress?

    I haven't found any differences between the fuels that are really worth harping about. Haven't run Synergy 8000 for some time, but BP Ultimate and Shell Optimax seem to be the same and the 307 runs happily on either.

    I have to say, fuels bring out some funny stuff - a guy on another forum in a certain German car was claiming that his car was 'pinging' on Vortex 98 at idle. Must've been an absolute disaster at anything above idle.

    For what it's worth, we know a Mobil employee who refuses to buy Mobil petrol.

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    While the process of tesing may look 'scientific', it does not closely follow the principles of DOE (design of experiments); The response measured was Kw.

    However, there are other outputs that need consideration. Ie fuel economy, carbon dioxide output. Among the effects that need attention: effect of fuel temperature (that affects its stability), cleanless of fuel, accuracy of octane rating, fuel shelf life (or how long ago was it refined).

    The 'study' is narrow alright, addresses the 3 key questions (are the fuels the same, which fuel is the best in terms of power, and power/cost) in not so systemic way.

    Not all of the fuels are available everywhere, there should have been a look at density of petrol stations per capita, per km sqrd, taking in consideration fuel types (real complex problem).

    Also, some of the fuels 'seem' to give 1-2kw more at the lower ranges better than those 'high performance' ones; that is what is good for city driving and economy wise.

    The report puts more question marks rather than answering...
    And oh, yes Caltex98 is what I normally use (since moving to Canberra anyways).

    Just my

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    Fellow Frogger! Pug4eva's Avatar
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    Another point to consider is that they have adjusted the mapping of ECU in their attempt to 'optimise' ignition times, which is something that very few (if any) can do when they fill up their cars.

    Not to mention the effect of previous fuel used (concentration levels in tank).

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    Fuels are sold as many brands, but there are few refineries. Therefore, some fuels ARE exactly the same as they've been refined in the same refinery. This varies from state to state, but often this is exacerbated by refinery exchanges, where a refinery will specialize in a particular fuel and provide that fuel to all suppliers within a region. Regular 91 fuel is often sourced from Singapore.

    I tend to go for low sulfur fuels (50 ppm) as they tend to have better emissions. This means bypassing 95 fuel and going for any of the 98 fuels even though my engine only has one fuel map, and that's for Euro standard 95 RON fuel. So far, the car seems fine on 98, and that's all I really care about.

    Lots of people have unbelievable biases for brands when in fact, it's all just dino juice.

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    Fellow Frogger! 505 to the max's Avatar
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    Zoom magazine did a test of a similar nature, but they tested fuel additives rather than the base product. As with all tech articles they publish, this experiment was conducted in an entirely controlled environment with all variables kept constant (is that an oxymoron?) and the results were quite interesting.

    The only reason I mention this is because they did exactly what the article mentioned herein didn't do. The fuel supply was taken from 20l drums which were dried completely before being refilled. The fuel temp was checked prior to each dyno run. The dyno runs were only done whilst ambient temps were the same as that of the previous run.

    One thing their tests did share with those upon which this thread is based is that they adjusted the ignition advance in order to get the highest possible power advantage from each additive.

    If this fuel test was to be 'fair dinkum', it would need to meet each of these criteria, and it would alo need to take into account all pros and cons for each product.

    Just to add my 2c worth, if cost has anything to do with this, wouldn't that automatically rule out Synergy 8000, currently selling for +14c above the ULP price?
    Chris

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    i have used in my car PULP, ULP, and bp's ultimate, and i didnt notice much of an advantage in terms of performance or economy, at least not one that is justification for the much higher price compared with normal ULP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 505 to the max
    Zoom magazine did a test of a similar nature, but they tested fuel additives rather than the base product. As with all tech articles they publish, this experiment was conducted in an entirely controlled environment with all variables kept constant (is that an oxymoron?) and the results were quite interesting.

    The only reason I mention this is because they did exactly what the article mentioned herein didn't do. The fuel supply was taken from 20l drums which were dried completely before being refilled. The fuel temp was checked prior to each dyno run. The dyno runs were only done whilst ambient temps were the same as that of the previous run.

    One thing their tests did share with those upon which this thread is based is that they adjusted the ignition advance in order to get the highest possible power advantage from each additive.

    If this fuel test was to be 'fair dinkum', it would need to meet each of these criteria, and it would alo need to take into account all pros and cons for each product.

    Just to add my 2c worth, if cost has anything to do with this, wouldn't that automatically rule out Synergy 8000, currently selling for +14c above the ULP price?
    Chris

    Interesting about the price difference, it means that the demand for 98 is high. There is only so much 98 that can be made as a percentage of the total amount of petrol, so the price will go up as demand takes up the supply available.
    This makes the 98 ethanol fantastic value, especially given that it gave the most power!
    Graham

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    I've just finished reading this report and a couple of glaring points popped up at me right away.

    "Fuel effects power in two ways. One condition is that there is an optimum air to fuel ratio, which varies with the type of fuel and it's density."

    Almost true. AFR does not directly effect power production. In fact, you can vary the AFR from 13.5:1 to 11:1 and you'd be lucky to see a 1% change in power. I'm not alone in this observation, it has been common knowledge in the aviation industry since the thirties. If you get on the NACA tech website you can even still download a very extensive test that backs that statement up.

    Also, this report was posted before it was even finished. If you read through it, it's full of unfinished sentences and editing notes.

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    Not very scientific, and the data set not terribly big, but I got 8.3 l/100 from a tank of Optimax, and 8.7 l/100 from Mobil 8000. Have tank of Ultimate in now and will figure that out. A fairly even mix of country/freeway and city driving.
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    In Victoria, there is one refinery, Mobil Altona, providing all three majors with 98 RON fuel and everyone else with 95 "Premium". This refinery provides about 50% of Victoria's petrol and diesel supplies, and basically all of the Avgas and Jet A fuel regardless of brand.

    The difference in fuel economy is due to your driving style and when / where you drive.

    thanks,
    Andrew
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    1000+ Posts Haakon's Avatar
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    Nope - there is a Shell refinery in Corio near Geelong as well. The two tanks of juice were both taken up by the same trip to Castlemaine and back, and back and forth to work along the freeway, so a pretty comparable set of driving conditions for both tankloads. But happy to admit the worse economy could be down to a pretty strong headwind on the second trip to Castlemaine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wicked504
    i have used in my car PULP, ULP, and bp's ultimate, and i didnt notice much of an advantage in terms of performance or economy, at least not one that is justification for the much higher price compared with normal ULP.
    You'd only notice a difference in a car that can advance its ignition timing itself to take advantage of the increased octane rating. Otherwise, you can advance the timing yourself when using 98 octane and I'm sure you'll notice the difference. Whether or not it's worth it is personal of course.

    My Mi16, although able to run OK on 91 octane, runs better on 95 and 98 PULP. It can advance the timing to optimise timing to best suit the octane.

    On my R12 (which is set up for 96 octane standard) I use 98 with three degrees of advance, and it certainly make a great difference in responsiveness. Occasional forays with 95 don't make it pink, though. Must be the mix of fuels.

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    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chucky
    Almost true. AFR does not directly effect power production. In fact, you can vary the AFR from 13.5:1 to 11:1 and you'd be lucky to see a 1% change in power. I'm not alone in this observation, it has been common knowledge in the aviation industry since the thirties. .
    that's true (although I'm not sure the range is that wide), but when you relate it to a change in ignition timing it has an enormous change in torque. As you increase the ignition timing, fuel is used up, leaning out the AFR. Likewise, decreasing the ign. timing, richens the AFR.

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    Tadpole Chucky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanderaj
    In Victoria, there is one refinery, Mobil Altona, providing all three majors with 98 RON fuel and everyone else with 95 "Premium". This refinery provides about 50% of Victoria's petrol and diesel supplies, and basically all of the Avgas and Jet A fuel regardless of brand.

    The difference in fuel economy is due to your driving style and when / where you drive.

    thanks,
    Andrew
    There's also a lot of fuel coming in from Singapoer which is of dubious quality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT
    that's true (although I'm not sure the range is that wide), but when you relate it to a change in ignition timing it has an enormous change in torque. As you increase the ignition timing, fuel is used up, leaning out the AFR. Likewise, decreasing the ign. timing, richens the AFR.
    Believe me, the range is that wide. I do it as a practical demonstration in the EFI University classes ( www.efi101.com ) and it never ceases to amaze even the most hardened dyno tuner. Yes, the ignition timing does have a much greater effect on engine torque/power as it determines when the cylinder peak pressure occurs and yes it can affect the AFR due to increased vol. efficiency, but not always and not by a great deal..

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    Quote Originally Posted by vanderaj
    In Victoria, there is one refinery, Mobil Altona, providing all three majors with 98 RON fuel and everyone else with 95 "Premium". This refinery provides about 50% of Victoria's petrol and diesel supplies, and basically all of the Avgas and Jet A fuel regardless of brand.

    The difference in fuel economy is due to your driving style and when / where you drive.

    thanks,
    Andrew
    Andrew, where are you getting your information from? It is completely incorrect!

  18. #18
    1000+ Posts PeterT's Avatar
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    I spoke to MRT. They advised me that the document is very "HOT" and the base of a current court case, as it was leaked. They suggested to stay well clear of the document. (Perhaps this thread should be deleted?)

    Does anyone know where you can buy 98 E10? (MRT couldn't tell me due to the court case)

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    Moderator Alan S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT
    I spoke to MRT. They advised me that the document is very "HOT" and the base of a current court case, as it was leaked. They suggested to stay well clear of the document. (Perhaps this thread should be deleted?)

    Does anyone know where you can buy 98 E10? (MRT couldn't tell me due to the court case)
    In the interests of possible legal implications, I've zapped the link referred to.



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    Quote Originally Posted by PugS16
    Andrew, where are you getting your information from? It is completely incorrect!
    I live a couple of doors down from a fairly recently (as in a couple of months) retired Mobil senior refinery employee. We've had a long chat or two over a few beers. I must admit I had forgotten about the Shell refinery, but my basic underlying point still stands: Vortex / Optimax / Synergy / Ultimate ... in many states are the *same* fuel or very slightly different depending on the additive package added. There are no real reasons to buy one over the other beyond price.

    There are four majors in every state, and 8 refineries in all of Australia, of which three states (NT, SA , Tas, etc) don't have a single refinery.

    http://www.aip.com.au/industry/facilities.htm

    Note: ExxonMobil's Port Stanvac has been closed since 2003 http://www.mobil.com.au/mobil/mn_mob..._adelaide.html

    Note 2: According to Caltex there are seven petroleum refineries in Australia. (http://www.caltex.com.au/about_facts.asp)

    Note 3: All of Tasmania's fuel comes from Shell Geelong:
    http://www.shell.com/home/Framework?...t_us_0709.html

    Australia does not import much refined 98 fuel, so it must come from those 7 or 8 refineries. In Victoria, we have *two* refineries, and four major retailers, and a bunch of independents. Even if different additives are mixed in, the refinery needs to produce a certain MON / RON figure with the crude oil they have available, whilst achieving legislated fuel pollution outcomes (such as max ppm for sulfur, benzene, aromatics, and olefins).

    These are combined in various ways to bring them up to spec. Petrol has three major components:

    Paraffins
    Hydrocarbons
    Naphthenes

    http://www.aip.com.au/industry/fact_refine.htm

    And they must do it for a price which returns a profit. Removing and adding certain substances costs money, so they try to do it for the best available return.

    http://www.aip.com.au/industry/benchmark.htm

    So to achieve 98 RON with the same base imported and local crude oils available to the refinery requires them to mix things *just* so. The detergents, colorings, and other additives do not make much difference to the MON / RON rating of the base fuel, so basically, it's just a brand thing.

    Do you like your fuel to come from a Dutch, English, or US branded retailer (who for the most part are just a franchised local store owner)?

    It's as simple as that. I buy my fuel from outlets that are on my way at the right time of the week when discounting is at a maximum. I have zero brand loyalty as it's a furphy.

    Andrew
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    1000+ Posts Uga Boga's Avatar
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    My C4 will spew everything out... EXCEPT BP ULTIMATE.

    It absolutely loves BP Ultimate, so does the wallet
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterT
    I spoke to MRT. They advised me that the document is very "HOT" and the base of a current court case, as it was leaked. They suggested to stay well clear of the document. (Perhaps this thread should be deleted?)

    Does anyone know where you can buy 98 E10? (MRT couldn't tell me due to the court case)
    United here in Victoria have it. I am about to try it in my 205 GTi.
    I have been using their 94 octane E10 for a few weeks now as it is 5 cents a litre cheaper than 91.
    Graham

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    All of this is also very dependent on the site you buy it from. I've used Optimax straight out of the tanker, fresh from therefinery at race meetings and it was much better than anything I've got at a servo. Ditto Mobil Synergy 8000.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GRAHAM WALLIS
    United here in Victoria have it. I am about to try it in my 205 GTi.
    I have been using their 94 octane E10 for a few weeks now as it is 5 cents a litre cheaper than 91.
    Graham
    Just be careful with it. I read on Drive last week that a Range Rover has the fuel pump replaced 3 times because the ethanol eat through the wires.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J206GTI
    Just be careful with it. I read on Drive last week that a Range Rover has the fuel pump replaced 3 times because the ethanol eat through the wires.
    Gee,

    Nice avatar, Jason...

    Regards,

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