Petrol, diesel, hybrid, PHEV or electric?
Is it time to embrace electric technology in some form in your next car?
The automotive landscape is shifting in a big way. Technology in cars is set to change more dramatically in the next decade than it has in the last century. Some manufacturers are embracing electrified technology and autonomous functionality more than others, with 1 brand in particular which is estimated to be 2 years ahead of the rest of the pack in its electric technology development. The terminology, the features, and the options can be overwhelming to navigate. Since cars are kind of our jam we’ve dug deep to find the information you need and put it all down in one place so that you can use this to help guide your car purchase. This is Part 1 where we look at petrol powered vehicles and the differences between the liquid at the bowser.
Everyone is familiar with petrol powered vehicles, but perhaps not everyone is aware of the four main types of petrol available. Let’s start with some of the key differences between each of the fuel types available, there are varying impacts here with regard to how you maintain your chosen vehicle to the costs on your back pocket, and the environment too.
The “standard” unleaded fuel available in Australia has an octane rating of 91. The quality of this fuel is pretty poor on a global scale but is fine for most Japanese/Korean/American manufactured vehicles. Most cars produced in Europe (and most higher performance cars) will require “premium unleaded fuel”. This comes in the form of either 95 octane, or 98 octane (with 98 octane being the best quality fuel widely available in Australia). The quality of fuel available in Europe is generally higher than Australia, and as such, cars manufactured there are designed to run on a higher standard of fuel. It is very important that a car which requires premium fuel is fed premium fuel, or the car can become sad. The final mainstream fuel which is available is “E10”. This is basically regular unleaded fuel, which is blended with a component of up to 10% ethanol, which is a renewable energy source. E10 is typically the cheapest fuel available (by a few cents per litre), however in reality there is no cost benefit to using E10, because the ethanol burns at a different rate to regular fuel, and your car will actually consume the fuel more quickly as a result, negating any cost benefit from the initial purchase. The only logical reason to use E10 would be for environmental reasons, because the ethanol is renewable, and therefore better for the environment than 100% dinosaur juice. You do need to be careful though, as only fairly modern cars are able to run on E10 fuel. It can be detrimental to older vehicles which aren’t designed for it. Check your owner’s manual or the inside of your fuel flap to see if E10 will work for your car or not. It is this blogger’s opinion that E10 is rubbish, and should be avoided at all costs. There are far better ways to serve the environment than buying E10!
Moving on to diesel, this is an oilier liquid than petrol. Diesel contains more energy, and the combustion process is typically more efficient than in a petrol engine. Diesel motors also produce less C02 emissions than an equivalent petrol engine. Aside from the fact that diesel is more efficient, meaning you get more kms out of every tank, diesel motors also produce more torque (the twisting force produced by the engine) than petrol, meaning diesel is typically the fuel of choice for people who drive large vehicles, or vehicles which are used for towing. Diesel can be smellier than petrol which can put people off, and despite producing less C02 than petrol, diesel does create larger quantities of other pollution than petrol vehicles. Many cities and countries around the world are moving towards banning and phasing out the sale and use of diesel vehicles, and manufacturers are finding it increasingly difficult to produce vehicles which comply with ever increasing emissions standards. As such, demand for diesel vehicles is dropping off dramatically, and diesels are becoming less and less common in new car showrooms as a result, with diesel primarily limited to SUVs and commercial vehicles. Diesel does have a small, committed following of people though, and some devout diesel fans wouldn’t use anything else.
Keen to stick to the bowser and eager to lease your next vehicle? We’ve put together some specials for you, or you can view more specials on our dedicated specials page. Part 2 of our “To pump, or not” series looks like Hybrid and PHEV technology.