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What petrol should I be using?

If you’ve ever gone to a petrol station, chances are you’ve seen multiple types with varying prices- but not really known the difference. Most people will go for regular unleaded by default. However, in the current climate of sky-high petrol prices, sometimes we start to look around at our other options. Not every type of petrol will suit every car, and not every car needs a special performance style of fuel. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to hopefully make your next trip to the petrol station a little simpler.

Unleaded Petrol

When entering a petrol station, you’ll generally be faced with three different unleaded petrol options. These will be 91, 95, and 98. These are also known as regular unleaded, and two types of what is considered ‘premium’ unleaded. So, what’s the difference?

The first thing to understand is that fuel can be measured by it’s octane rating. This represents the fuels ability to avoid burning too early, therefore increasing performance.

Regular Unleaded 91

Coming in with the lowest octane rating of 91, regular unleaded is your standard fuel. This will be the cheapest of the range, and is a safe bet for most cars.

Premium Unleaded 95

The next step up with the first of the premium fuels with a rating of 95. This is your middle of the range, and generally doesn’t jump too much in price from regular.

Premium Unleaded 98

This is your top of the range unleaded fuel with a rating of 98. It’s the most expensive, and therefore yields the highest performance.

Now, when choosing between these fuel options, it’s important to check your vehicles specifications and manufacturers recommendations. If it is recommended that you use regular fuel, it’s totally fine to opt for one of the premium options. However, it’s important to note that cars that are typically meant to use regular fuel won’t note a large difference when opting for premium fuels. If there is a difference, it’s often minor and not worth the price difference. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if your manufacturer recommends a premium fuel, you should not be using a lower or regular fuel. This can cause damage to the car overtime and reduce performance and fuel efficiency.


Fuels containing ethanol generally grab our attention at the petrol pump, due to their noticeably lower prices. The most common of Ethanol fuels is known as E10, with E85 also being available but no where near as often.


As its name hints, E10 contains 10% Ethanol and 90% unleaded petrol. When comparing this fuel to the other unleaded options, it sits somewhere between regular and premium unleaded with an octane level of 94. With this lower price and higher-octane level than regular unleaded, it can be a good option of slightly higher performance. However, the presence of ethanol does reduce this performance, so it is said to perform relatively similarly to regular unleaded. While most cars made after 2005 can support E10 fuel, it’s important to double check before filling up with this type. Using an unleaded petrol with ethanol present can do irreversible damage to your vehicle if it is not built to take it.


Similarly to E10, E85 contains anywhere between 50% and 85% ethanol with the remaining percentage being unleaded petrol. While E85 has an octane level of 100, very few cars can take this fuel as it is meant for high performance vehicles and generally regarded as a “racing fuel”.

What petrol you use all depends on your own needs and car. Make sure to check your manufacturers recommendations to avoid any damage to your vehicle.






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