Super fuels are a waste of money for most drivers, according to Which? Car magazine.
Tests showed that super fuels do not save the drivers money, don’t improve car performance and are of no help to the environment, the consumer magazine said.
For many drivers it was a ‘waste of money’ paying over the odds for the fuels, which the manufacturers claim can help the engines run more smoothly, Which? Car editor Richard Headland said.
“For many cars it’s a waste of money paying over the odds for so-called ‘super fuels’. The standard fuels we tested were all up to the job, whether from a major fuel brand or a supermarket,” Mr Headland said.
“There’s no conclusive evidence to show that super fuels are better for your car in the long run. So in a time of high oil prices, why would you choose to pay more?”
The magazine had tested three superfuels — Shell V-Power, which is said to help the engine turn more efficiently; Tesco Super Unleaded, which claims to be a cleaner fuel which remove existing deposits and allows smoother running; and BP Ulimate Diesel, which promised up to four times the cleaning strength of ordinary diesel, increased power and decreased fuel consumption.
“Shell V-Power gave a Ford Focus 1.6 a marginal power increase. However, filling the car on this petrol for 12,000 miles will cost £115 more than using Shell’s standard petrol. Tesco Super Unleaded actually decreased the power of the Focus,” Which? Car said.
“The Volkswagen Golf’s hi-tech 1.4 TSI engine responded well to Shell V-Power, but there was little to choose between super fuels and ordinary petrol on economy and emissions.
“The economy and performance of the Renault Megane 1.5 diesel were both slightly worse using BP Ultimate diesel, the super fuel furthest from the marketing claims in the test.”
None of the fuels had any more than a marginal effect on the emissions of measured pollutants (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulate matter), apparently putting paid to environmental claims, the magazine revealed.
“There may be benefits to using super fuels in the long-term as they include detergents to improve engine longevity. However, Which? thinks any break-even point in terms of reduced repair bills could take many years to reach,” it said.
The study revealed that 65% of Which? Car readers choose standard petrol, while 30% go for standard diesel, 4% opt for super petrol and 1% choose super diesel.
Some 25% of readers buy their fuel at Tesco, 19% from Sainsbury’s, with 15% buying Shell and 8% choosing BP.