Super fuels are a waste of money, says Which?Expensive super fuels 'don't improve performance'

25 September 2008

Super fuels are a waste of money for many cars, Which? Car said

Super fuels don’t save you money, improve your car’s performance, or help to protect the environment, a study by Which? Car shows.

Fuel companies claim super fuels, which cost more at the pumps, can optimise fuel economy and increase a car’s power.

But Which? Car put three super fuels up against cheaper alternatives, and found there was little point in using them.

Marginal power increase

Shell V-Power, one of the unleaded super fuels tested, gave a 1.6-litre Ford Focus a marginal power increase.

But filling the car on this petrol for 12,000 miles would cost £115 more than using Shell’s standard petrol.

And Tesco’s Super Unleaded – another of the super fuels on test – actually decreased the Focus’s power.

Supercharged engines

Which? Car also looked at the impact of super fuels on turbo- and supercharged engines.

The VW Golf’s hi-tech 1.4TSI engine responded well to Shell V-Power, but there was little to choose between super fuels and ordinary petrol when it came to economy and emissions.

BP Ultimate diesel – the only diesel super fuel on test – actually made the fuel economy and performance of a Renault Mégane 1.5 slightly worse.

Waste of money

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.

'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?'

Which? Car said motorists would do better to drive less frequently and more economically if they want to protect the environment, as the super fuels tested only had a marginal effect on emissions and pollutants.

There may be benefits to using super fuels in the long term as they include detergents to improve engine longevity. But Which? Car said any break even point in terms of reduced repair bills could take many years to reach.

If you’re looking to change to a more efficient car, check out our greener cars guide or visit the Which? Car Buying Guide, where you can find detailed reviews of hundreds of models.

* For daily consumer news, subscribe to the  here. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: http://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml. Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds