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The pros and cons of premium fuel

A car being refueled

Should I pay for premium fuel?

One of the best ways to make a sensible decision before investing your money in something big is writing a pros and cons list. Whether you’re buying a new car or a new phone – you’ll want to make sure you’re getting good value for money. While this is a good habit to have, we should be using it more and writing pros and cons lists for the things we’re regularly purchasing. Premium fuels are the expensive version of petrol and diesel you see at the petrol station – but do you actually know what the differences between standard and premium fuels are? We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the benefits and disadvantages associated with premium fuel.


  • The first pro is that premium fuels have an official rating. Unleaded premium fuel has an octane rating which shows how well the fuel resists pressure and premature ignition as it is compressed by the piston.
  • Diesel premium fuels official rating known as cetane which can measure how quickly diesel fuel ignites under pressure.
  • The other key difference between premium fuel and standard fuel are the additives in them. Premium fuel additives are thought to reduce friction which results in keeping the engine’s components clean. This also creates a more efficient performance.
  • Professionals say that older vehicle engines with unknown history may benefit from additional cleaning with premium fuels. Using premium fuel for a couple of full tanks can create a cleaner, more efficient running engine.


  • There’s only one type of vehicle that NEEDS to use premium fuel and that’s petrol engines with a high compression ratio. This is generally engines fixed to high-performance vehicles.
  • All car manufacturers have said there’s no need for a diesel vehicle to run on premium diesel fuel.
  • Premium fuel costs a lot more money than standard fuel.
  • There’s no physical proof or research to show the benefits of premium fuel.

Is it worth it?

The biggest controversy surrounding premium fuel is its value for money – many people feel that it’s too expensive and there aren’t enough positives to it. In September 2017, the average price of a litre of standard petrol fuel was £1.19 and the cost of premium petrol fuel was £1.29. If you owned a Volkswagen Golf 1.4 TSI it could cost you an extra £5 to fill up your tank on premium petrol. And for every 10,000 miles travelled in your vehicle you’d have spent an extra £86 on premium fuel.

Standard diesel fuel is slightly more expensive at £1.20 per litre in the UK and premium diesel fuel is £1.33 per litre. One of the UK’s most popular cars is the family hatchback – the Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi. If you were driving the Ford Focus you’d be saving £6.90 every time you fill up the tank if you choose standard fuel over premium fuel. Every 10,000 miles would set you back £70 – which is a big chunk of cash.

Let us know!

Premium fuels do have some benefits and may be able to improve the performance of vehicles. However, there’s no research relating to it which makes it harder to want to invest. Sticking with standard fuel can have its benefits. The money you save could pay for your annual MOT test or refill the car with an extra tank of petrol! If you decide to try premium fuel out, let us know how you find it. Be sure to tell us if you see positive changes in your vehicle’s performance.

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