Should you buy the cheapest fuel, or will it damage your car?

Petrol prices have sky rocketed recently, but what do the cheaper options do to your car?

Should you buy the cheapest fuel?

Petrol prices have sky rocketed recently, with many drivers scrambling to save any way that they can, but what are the best options to take when you fill up your tank?

While E10 petrol is always cheaper than the unleaded alternative, it is not always the most cost-effective option. E10 is regular unleaded petrol blended with between nine and 10 per cent ethanol.

Because the E10 fuel is not as efficient, you will not get as far compared to filling your tank with regular unleaded.
,br>Natalie Roberts, the managing director of engineering group ABMARC, which conducts testing on fuels, believes you should only fill up with E10 if it is at least four cents per litre cheaper than regular unleaded fuel. If the price difference is any less than that, it will end up costing you more in the long run.

The situation is complicated further depending on the age of the car that you are driving. Because the ethanol content in E10 fuels increases the octane rating of the fuel, modern vehicles have an advantage that older cars do not.

“Higher octane can enable the engine management system on modern vehicles to optimise spark timing to suit the engine load and fuel grade, which will increase power and improve fuel efficiency in some circumstances,” Ms Roberts explained in an opinion article on

“For the folks driving modern vehicles, the small performance benefit provided by E10's higher octane will help make up for the fuel's lower energy content and on average their driving costs could end up the same as driving on regular unleaded.”

According to Ms Roberts, around 10.7 million Australian vehicles require regular unleaded fuel as a bare minimum and at least 40 per cent of these vehicles will not derive any benefit from the higher octane provided by E10 at current prices.

What fuel do you use in your car? Have you noticed a difference between using E10 and regular or premium unleaded petrol?



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    26th Oct 2018
    We both have European cars that suggest they should only run on premium unleaded, which have a huge premium cost over E10 at 20 cents a litre! We alternate our fill ups with both and can honestly say, you cannot tell the difference in performance and mileage and why is there such a disparity in cost between both fuels? Is it a fuel company rip off to catch the motorists who have a penchance for “luxury” cars?
    26th Oct 2018
    my mechanic didn't like the idea of E10 for my 2003 car
    26th Oct 2018
    I have a motor scooter that says don't use fuels with added ethanol like E10.
    I have a diesel car that runs only on diesel fuel.
    26th Oct 2018
    Why is diesel $166.9 around here now? A war coming? Maritime charges? Cartel collusion?
    Oil running out?
    26th Oct 2018
    Profiteering by governments likely the reason. Diesel used to be like LPG is now.
    26th Oct 2018
    Considered dirty fuel these days, ever been back of a bus when it starts up again.
    Try to tell that to our farmers with all their Diesel vehicles.
    80 plus
    26th Oct 2018
    $199.9 for Diesel, try living in North Queensland.
    26th Oct 2018
    I never knew that and always put in E10 because that is what was recommended by the manufacturer.
    Thanks Ben. Never too old to learn.
    26th Oct 2018
    Never heard ofE10(W.A.?)
    i have sports rotary MAZDA RX 8....TRIED PREMIUM 95 But it runs beautifully on PREMIUM 98 COSTS MORE BUT DON`T DRINK ,SMOKE OR COFFEE OUT!
    26th Oct 2018

    26th Oct 2018
    I don't use E10 on the advice of a mechanic who told me all of the above plus he said that E10 should never be used in 2 stroke motors. That's your average mower and whipper snipper which are not built to accept E10. If you look closely at the bowsers you may see a small sign to warn about this, so small it can easily be overlooked.
    26th Oct 2018
    I use 95 octane in my 2004 Toyota Avalon V6 it run much smoother is more responsive and more economical, it uses approx. 1.5 litres less per 100kms than if it was run on 91 octane.
    There is a noticeably different when I tow our caravan, get 14 -15 litres per 100km towing at 90km per hour, tried with 91 and got 16/ 17 litres per 100km.
    Apparently the engine runs cooler internally which is good for engine life.

    If you try the higher octane fuels you need at least two tanks for the improvement to occur, apparently the computer needs to recalibrate for the higher octane fuel.
    91 octane needs to be removed from sale, it is know in the industry as dirty fuel
    26th Oct 2018
    Toyotas like proper fuel without ethanol and the engine is running smoothly as Bazza13 writes above. Well worth a couple of cents more me thinks.
    26th Oct 2018
    Why are some brand petrol stations an average of about 15 cents a litre cheaper than the bigger companies? Even within the same brand in the same capital city along the same "Highway" prices can vary up to 4 cents a litre for the whole day.
    Gee Whiz
    27th Oct 2018
    The price difference between unleaded and e-10 is about two cents a liter. Why would anyone run the risk of using e-10 to save this small amount

    On a fill up from a totally empty sixty liter tank that's about $1.20. But how many people let their fuel tank get totally empty before buying fuel.

    I use unleaded in both of our cars. The saving between both grades and the risk of engine damage is just not worth switching to e10.

    You'll have to ask the government about the publicity stunt about how e10 will save you lots of money. It has all been pure bullshit.
    Chris B T
    29th Oct 2018
    The high Present Fuel Prices, have costs not part of Fuel Production Costs as we don't Produce fuel. IE GST Excise Duty all of which add to cost of Fuel.
    The Grandstanding of Fed/State Governments Can Cap These Charges at $1.00/litre.
    We are being Screwed By All involved With Fingering To One Another.
    Transport Costs Will Make It Impossible To Run A Viable Business.
    2nd Nov 2018
    Every time I have bought car/lawn mower etc etc -- they all say DO NOT USE E10 as it will wreck motors, in the long run. I use 91

    Tags: money, finance, petrol,

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