Is All Petrol & Diesel The Same?

Filling up car with fuelIt’s a common question that often triggers big arguments.

Is branded petrol and diesel better than supermarket fuel, or should you just buy the cheapest you can find?

The problem is that most people don’t know how the fuel business works, and the truth is a well-kept trade secret. Let me explain.

The Easy Bit – Premium Fuels (Shell V-Power, BP Ultimate, etc.)

We’ll start with the easy bit.

Premium fuels, such as Shell V-Power Nitro+ and BP Ultimate, are not the same as regular petrol or diesel , although you can mix them freely with standard fuels without problems. Petrol like this is known as ‘super unleaded’.

Confusingly, the petrol that is labelled as ‘premium unleaded’ on forecourt pumps (e.g. Shell Fuelsave) is actually standard petrol. When it comes to fuel, super is better than premium!

These ‘super unleaded’ fuels cost several pence per litre more than regular unleaded. For this extra money, you get a different, more sophisticated package of additives for cleaning and lubrication, and fuel with a higher octane rating.

It’s a similar story with ‘super’ diesels, like BP Ultimate Diesel.

Octane (petrol) and cetane (diesel) ratings describe the way a fuel burns inside an engine. Broadly speaking, a higher rating means a fuel will burn more efficiently and effectively inside your engine. This may improve performance and/or economy slightly – although not all drivers will see a noticeable difference.

Some supermarkets also offer their own super unleaded — notably Tesco, which offers Tesco Momentum 99 octane. This is usually cheaper than Shell V-Power or BP Ultimate, but opinions vary as to whether it provides the same engine cleaning and mpg improvements as the top two fuels.

Another point is that Tesco Momentum 99 super unleaded reportedly contains more ethanol than super unleaded fuels like BP Ultimate. This provides an octane boost but some people believe it doesn’t provide the same efficiency gains as the more expensive branded fuels.

Like everything to do with fuel, people have different opinions, and the facts are hard to find.

Standard Unleaded and Diesel Fuels

The big debate is over whether the standard petrol and diesel sold by supermarkets is the same quality as that sold by branded fuel companies like Shell, BP, Esso and Total.

Let’s start with some known facts:

All fuels sold in the UK conform to the relevant British Standards. This means that they should all work in roughly the same way and you can mix them freely in your car’s fuel tank.

The standard petrol and diesel that’s sold on garage forecourts is mixture of two things:

  • ‘Base’ fuel
  • An additive package

The base fuel is the same for all companies – in fact, it usually comes from the same tanks at the local fuel refinery/distribution centre. What varies is the additives package that goes into the fuel. These additives packages are secret recipes of extra ingredients that help keep the engine clean and improve lubrication inside the engine cylinders.

Each fuel company has its own additives packages and these are different. So it is possible (but not common) for some drivers to feel that their car responds better to the additives used by one fuel manufacturer over those of another.

What About Supermarket Fuels?

There are all sorts of stories that go round about supermarket fuels, but the fact is that supermarket fuel tanker lorries are often seen filling up from the same tanks as branded fuel lorries (e.g. Shell, BP) – so the chances are that most of the time, the fuel they sell is the same, although again, it may have different additives packages.

However, one common story about supermarket fuel is that some supermarkets don’t have a regular fuel supplier. Instead, they buy odd lots of fuel from wherever it’s cheapest, including abroad. This could (if it happened) lead to supermarket fuel having a more variable set of additives than branded fuels.

Not many people really know the truth about this business, and they are not the kind of people who will reveal all on the internet. Unfortunately, that means we will have to keep guessing as to whether there is any meaningful difference between supermarket fuels and branded fuels.

As you can see from the many comments below, many drivers have strong (and opposing) views on this subject! Feel free to join in the conversation.

194 thoughts on “Is All Petrol & Diesel The Same?

  • May 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm
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    If you take a look at a list of refineries you’ll see that there really aren’t that many. So what happens is that standard grade fuels are pumped into each company’s tankers and the quality is the same. The difference comes in the additives that each company adds to its tankers. These might affect performance, so if you feel your car drives better on one type of fuel, keep using it. However, the fuel from different refineries may differ enough to blur any distinction. There are other variables too, but that would take several paragraphs to go into. As for supermarket fuel, it should all be of a minimum quality standard. So how come it is cheaper? There are three possible answers – a more flexible distribution network, fewer (or poorer) additives in the fuel, and thirdly, the fact that the big supermarkets are prepared to discount – they sell lots of things, not just petrol and chocolate bars, so they can afford to make a slight loss in order to attract customers into the stores.

    Reply
    • May 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm
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      @Richard

      Thanks for such a detailed comment, the point about the supermarkets selling fuel at a loss is a good one and something that seems likely to be true.

      Roland

      Reply
  • July 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm
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    I drove for many years in the London area and never had any rhinitis or breathing problems. Looking back it seems that my problems started once ‘cleaner engine’ additives were introduced. (I know I’m going back a bit). Does anyone know of any research into the short & long term effects of these ‘cleaners’ on health? Also, do other countries use a different mix of base fuels and additives?

    Reply
  • March 5, 2013 at 1:51 pm
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    I have a Nissan Pathfinder its just 12 months and have had several instances of it going into “safe Mode” Nissan dealer has checked it out and could not find a problem???? They also asked what fuel I used and when I said Tesco they said that is the problem “It is a lower grade fuel to Shell or BP” So this is what I have used and Nissan tech Centre have issued an instreuction to their garage outlets advising them to say Dont use suppermaket fuels?

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    • July 9, 2015 at 3:24 pm
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      Indeed. A friend of mine has had his own garage for many years. He says supermarket fuel clogs the injectors over time meaning big repair bills. When he has someone in with this type of problem he asks them if they use supermarket fuel & usually the answer is yes. On his advice I started using BP Ultimate in our Galaxy & a noticeable increase in power & fuel economy is evident.

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      • August 14, 2015 at 10:30 am
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        same here gary, i get over 30% better economy from BP over supermarket diesel

  • March 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm
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    I’m a taxi driver , our biggest expenditure is fuel ,
    Which we use plenty off , from past experience
    Shell & BP petrol & diesel is 100% better purely
    Because of the additives used , supermarket fuel
    Is cheap & nasty , our vehicles became sluggish
    & performed poorly with supermarket fuel , we now use shell V power , it’s a lot better & cars do more miles per gallon , well worth the extra cost !

    Reply
    • April 13, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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      I drive all over Europe,using the cheapest fuel that I can find. My Movano dropped a valve with just under 400000 miles on the clock, my SEAT Inca is still going after 325000. Regular servicing is more important than expensive fuel.

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      • April 13, 2015 at 12:42 pm
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        That tends to confirm another my belief that long journeys and regular servicing are the best way to keep a car healthy, especially with today’s long-life service regimes which can see diesels untouched for two years or even more at a stretch, when their owners don’t do many miles.

        For taxis, maybe the benefit of better fuel is in low-speed running, where wear and tear is greater and better additives help keep the engine cleaner?

  • April 4, 2013 at 11:41 am
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    Hi I’m happy to put the mileage difference to the test. I drive the same mileage every week on the same roads in a 2.7 Porsche Boxter. So today I will fill up from empty with Tesco premium unleaded and record the mileage on here. When it runs out I will repeat the process but with BP Ultimate…..results in a couple of weeks. : )

    Reply
    • April 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm
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      Hi Peter,

      It should be an interesting comparison, look forward to seeing the results!

      Cheers, Roland (SimpleMotoring.co.uk)

      Reply
      • April 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm
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        Okay just so you know I haven’t forgotten; I got 270 miles from Tesco premium unleaded. Just filled with BP Ultimate, results in a week. (This is mileage measurement only not performance).

      • June 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm
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        I got the same miles from the BP roughly 270.

      • July 23, 2015 at 10:31 am
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        Hi, I drive an Audi TT 2.0 TFSI REVO remapped to 280 bhp 2012. Same as Peter, I do exactly the same mileage every week commuting to my work place. I do unsociable hours therefore no traffic and nice countryside roads for me 😉 When I bought my car, I started using Tesco cheap 95. After couple of moths the engine appeared to have slightly irregular idling from time to time. I then went to see a mechanic I trust. The guy is a Bosch sys. specialist, has his own garage specialised in sport/racing cars and is a race driver. He almost shouted at me when I told him I have been using supermarket’s fuel with the spec type engine I have got under the bonnet. He has run a full check, nothing came up, no abnormalities at any stage in the compression, electric system etc… also checked on filters and previous Audi services. He then asked me if I was ok losing the half tank of Tesco petrol left in my car to which I replied: “yes”. He then flushed my tank, got me 5 litres of his premium petrol and told me to (in a friendly manner) “F… off to the nearest Shell petrol station, get me a Redex fuel injectors cleaner and fill the tank up with Shell power nitro+ fuel, and to be only using this petrol from now on. He charged me £20 only for everything. I used the first full tank of Power Nitro+ and felt a difference in engine’s response and sharpness, (pushed the car from time to time). I then naturally fill my tank up again with Nitro+ and restarted driving a car as I used to: commuting to work, doing the same mileage. I couldn’t believe my eyes! When compared the average mpg with the previous one I have noticed that my car was doing an extra +/- 7mpg! and the irregular engine idling has gone! I went from around average 37mpg to 44-45mpg! Engine now works like a Swiss watch, no issues! I sincerely do believe that if you have got a performance car or one that you cherish and wish to keep for longer, there is no brainer, you’d better go for Shell or, if there is none near by you, then BP or Total premium type fuels…and this applies to diesel engines too. Now a days engines are so advanced in technology (for fuel efficiency etc) therefore very responsive to the quality of fuel they burn. I stay away from supermarkets because of both quality of fuels as well as FOODS…and yes, I worked for a big supermarket back in time therefore I can say something about it. Hope it helps folks! I wish you a good ride and God bless! 🙂

  • April 22, 2013 at 9:50 am
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    Dear Friends,

    Talk about additives useful. Thanks.

    My particular problem, specific to metallic additives. Have a VW Polo. VW state clearly that metallic additives are HARMFULto their engines.

    From reading around it seems clear that Shell & Bp (probably true also of Esso top brands)certainly do not have metallic additives. Ie the top brands, more expensive, are metallic additives free.

    Will move to their more expensive ranges for what you say, Mohammed about better mileage and cheaper in the long run is pretty persuasive.

    Reply
  • August 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm
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    I am launching this new product very shortly, which given the above discussion, i thought you may be interested in.

    https://www.facebook.com/peoplesfuelcard

    Its called the peoples fuel card and will enable drivers to pay with the card at the pumps and receive between 4-15p off the advertised price. There is no catch and you get to pay bi monthly or monthly, much like a mobile phone bill. If you are strapped for cash, you can still fill up and at a cheaper rate.

    i need 10,000 people for the company i am dealing with to do the deal.

    Reply
  • February 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm
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    Hi there, ive had my Fiesta st for just under a year. And since day one, ive used BP ultimate. About six weeks ago, an Asda station opened on my doorstep. An as it was cheaper, I started to use that. But since I started using it my car has been very sluggish, and rough to drive. So from now on, im going back to the BP ultimate unleaded.

    Reply
  • May 27, 2014 at 9:25 pm
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    I’m a Taxi driver and like most taxi drivers I stay well away from supermarket fuels! For two simple reasons – economy and for the health of my engine!

    Some engines take cheaper fuels better than others but Diesel engines particularly should stay away from supermarket fuels – they dont do EGR valves, injectors and DPFs any favours resulting in expensive repair bills. Vauxhall CDTIs and the PSA engines found in ford,Volvo,peugeot,and Citreons dont like supermarket fuels either resulting in problems mentioned above

    Only my opinion but shell is the best

    Reply
  • December 12, 2014 at 7:42 am
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    My injection seals have gone on my M Class Mercedes 2004 plate. SOne one non mechanical has said it’s because I’ve used tescos diesel?? could this be true or is it something that’s just said? now got a car I cannot use as cannot afford repairs?

    Reply
    • December 12, 2014 at 8:17 am
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      I shouldn’t think that using Tesco fuel has caused this problem. My guess is that it’s just unlucky and is age-related wear and tear.

      Reply
  • December 13, 2014 at 6:53 am
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    No that will be age a mileage i had a 2004 vito and had to have the seals done, ive gota new vw van and been using tesco fuel from day one about a month now and im noticeing the fuel going to quick even with no weight, think im going to convert to bp or shell when the tesco diesel is empty

    Reply
  • December 19, 2014 at 8:34 am
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    I avoid Supermarket fuel as advised by Honest John Daily Telegrapgh IME it is inferior to both Shell & Esso.IMO Shell V power is a waste of money no improvement for mpg on my KIA CEED 1.6 CRDI auto for me best diesel is Esso Standard. puts a tiger in your tank ha.

    Reply
  • December 19, 2014 at 9:40 am
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    I have used Tesco diesel ONLY in my Toyota Verso when bought it brand new in 2010, done 207000 miles and not a single problem…So all you talking rubbish here,that supermarket fuel is bad.
    And earlier I have used Morrison diesel for 3 years on Peugeot 308 and 157000 miles done without a single problem on engine.

    Reply
  • December 19, 2014 at 6:59 pm
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    I bought my first diesel car 2006 Alfa Romeo 150 2.4JTDm. Standard 200BHP. With full Meridien Milano service history. Mileage at the time was 101,234 miles.I was running my car on shell diesel and the car was rough at start up so I tried the v max diesel and the car loved it.I had the car Terra cleaned by Monster Truck Milton Keynes and the management light came on.
    The customer service was great but my car broke down days later and won’t start. Computer said dpf filter blocked. The car was taken to MK Motors in Birmingham who performed a remap and the car was transformed. Better miles per gallon around town and 43mpg on long motorways. With my average miles around 37mpg with my driving style.I have now fitted a oil catch tank. I love my car and it’s been reliable so far.

    Reply
  • January 8, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    Tesco delivery vans and lorrys use tesco fuel infact I work for tesco dot com and drive there vans they have done 80000 miles (80 vans) in just under 2 years and most common breakdowns is gearbox problems and over filling of oil

    Reply
  • January 12, 2015 at 1:54 pm
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    Stay away from supermarket fuel! (especially Sainsburys)

    When I got my BMW 520d 2 year back (3 years old then), I started with Sainsbury’s city diesel. After 2 weeks my car started show up error messages. Took it to a mechanic, he charged £70 to tell me that your EGR Solenoid is choking and it would take another £350 to replace that.

    I came back and read online to check. Someone on pistonheads suggested to fillup with Shell V Power and go on a long drive. I did that and the error message disappeared. 2 years and 50,000 miles later I still use Shell V power, never had any issue at all, even through I mostly drive to work in London and very few long drives.

    Reply
  • January 13, 2015 at 10:56 pm
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    We have a Ducatto van camper which we use for weekends away some 20 times a year marshaling on motor rallies and we always start with a full tank, and fill it up when we get home, and check the mileage. We have done this for several years, with this and two previous campers. I get 33 mpg on esso diesel, and I do occasionally try supermarket fuel, and find I get 27 on Morrisons fuel, and 29 on Tesco. We also have a diesel Clio, and checked full to full, I get 51 round town on esso, and 47 on the supermarket stuff. Need I say more.

    Reply
    • April 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm
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      If I’m right then when you fill up at Shell let’s say 20 pence dearer then at supermarket it will costing you £8 more which is roughly 1.7 gallons which could carry you driving around 70 milles longer then Shell. If you’re saving 4 miles per gallon on full tank from Shell which could be around 40 litres let’s say 9 gallons it will give you 9×4=36 milles extra. WHAT’S THE POINT?

      Reply
  • January 14, 2015 at 8:36 am
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    I personally only use shell fuels. I think alot of the time when you read reviews or forums they only ever talk about what mpg or performance gains they got on that one tank of said fuel. I think they miss the point alot of the time in that using a quality fuel helps look after and keep clean the fueling system and engine of your car. Its like a long term protection.

    Reply
  • January 17, 2015 at 8:54 pm
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    my vw passat mk 5 1.9 se tdi is 11 years old bought new it has never had super market fuel ever in the 11 years i have never had problems with the fuel system apart from the turbo charger needed cleaning about a year ago successful result the car has 84000 miles on the clock it returns 54 mpg in normal use .it has towed an advantie 534 caravan all over europe and apart from a starter motor and new battery last year the cars has been perfect

    Reply
  • January 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm
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    What do all you diesel Audi A2 drivers fill up with?

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    • January 27, 2015 at 2:17 pm
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      A “Diesel Audi A2” is very special! Obviously you have to treat this wild beast similar to a Jag or a Bentley.

      I recommend nothing but ,Shell V Power Super Nitro plus plus Diesel, for your A2.

      🙂

      Reply
  • January 27, 2015 at 8:43 pm
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    I think we are losing the plot here ! The life of any engine is dependent on many things, any engine that is serviced correctly, and has the filters changed regularly, will give good service regardless of where the fuel comes from. The point of this forum is to expose the poor running performance of supermarket fuels, not to suggest which cars run best on what fuel. Its a fact that, as a country, we could save some 5% or more of our total fuel import, with all the tree huggers jumping for joy, if the government got its finger out and made an ignition level specification to which all fuels should comply. But that would mean there was less sold, so less tax income, so ‘fraid its the status quo that will rule. Rock on fellas !!

    Reply
    • May 18, 2019 at 3:03 pm
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      i own a audi 80 19 tdi 1994 owed it for 13 years well serviced oil change twice a years filters r always change started useing asda diesel wot shit fuel engine runs rough tick over is up and down never had any probs with bp nor shell had it to a garage when i told wot fuel i use he just laughed dont put that shit in since going back to bp oh shell had no probs thats shows theres a diffrence

      Reply
  • February 3, 2015 at 9:31 pm
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    Well,this is my 3months experiment summary.driving daily 60 miles round trip Ford mondeo Tdci 130Bhp changing fuel after fuel meter drops to bellow reserve level every time taking 20 ltrs in Stafford town,conclusion? Shell Nitro 55.5mpg,Gulf cheap diesel 54.7mpg,Esso Premium 54.7mpg,cheapest Asda 55.2mpg sure and absolutely unbelievable,best fuel for money.Well,it is not always possible but thorough testing I was trying hard to keeping revs while changing gears bellow 2000 and drive not faster than 60mph between Halesowen and Stafford mainly motorway ride,somebody will argue but if you want to say that I’m a lair than be careful. This is serious testing not just talking about what other people says or what you have heard of some guy.

    Reply
  • March 28, 2015 at 9:23 pm
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    I have owned an Audi A3 2.0 litre TDi S-Line for the last 4 and a half years, and only ever filled with TESCO diesel. The car has been serviced regularly, and the exhaust gases tested for the MOT Test every year since 2013. It has just passed 70Kmiles and until recently ran around town and long distance giving 50plus MPG.
    However, on a recent trip the engine suddenly lost power and warning signs for “Emgine Management fault” showed on the driver information system. I then drove the car some 30 miles to my regular service centre, who advised that the EGR system which re-circulates hot exhust gases through the Turbo into the engine (in order to maximise fuel economy, and minimise pollution. The cost of the repairs was in the order of £800, including VAT, and took 5 man/hours in the workshop to complete. A box of new Audi Parts was installed, and the old parts were show to be full of black carbon soot deposits.
    I have been advised to use only Sheel, BP, ESSO, or Total diesel fuel in future, and the engine will burn cleaner, and without leaving sooty deposits in the Exhaust Gas Recycling valve unit.

    My previous car was an Audi A4 1.9 litre TDi and part from timing belt changes and regular servicing, it gave me 13 years and 270 Kmiles of trouble free motoring, using Supermarket diesel.

    Does anybody else have a similar experience?

    Reply
    • March 30, 2015 at 10:17 pm
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      The problem you have experienced is not the brand of fuel, it is the diesel particulate filter not being cleared of soot.
      This will happen again unless you look for the DPF regeneration instructions for your car. Diesel cars with the dpf are no good for city/town driving without frequent fast road journeys. There are many articles online explaining.
      I have just changed my volvo d5 for a petrol BMW after paying £850 to clean the filter and EGR.

      Reply
  • March 31, 2015 at 8:00 pm
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    I’ve worked at Milford Haven Oil Refinery for twenty years. Different fuel additive pack are used in supermarket tankers, I can assure you of that. Supermarket fuel is ok for some vehicles but not all. Its down to Engine management architecture and the engines ability to adapt to slight changes in Octane etc. One can add something like Millers fuel additive which is brilliant stuff.

    Reply
  • March 31, 2015 at 8:36 pm
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    The oil industry is struggling to keep up with the latest advances in engine technology. Manufacturers are producing ever increasingly frugal, lean burn engines with advanced turbo technology, in line with European emission legislation.
    If one has successfully run a vehicle on Supermarket fuel without any problem that’s fine. My personal advice to anyone running the new breed of highly tuned turbo petrol or diesel engines is play it safe and avoid supermarket fuel. The odd tankful won’t hurt.

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  • April 2, 2015 at 6:36 pm
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    just had first experience of contaminated fuel in 35 years of driving, put £60 deisel in my ford mondeo 2010 at asda on portrack lane STOCKTON-ON-TEES, after a few miles spluttering lack of power and no speed this was Sunday 29-03-2015 around teatime, so tried car again Monday same problem, so Tue I put car on diagnostic machine nothing wrong with car at all, so after returning to asda and explaining problem, they took my details and said someone would get in touch wit me, next day someone phoned me and said an investigation would take place, so I arranged with my brothers help to drain £60 worth of fuel from my car, when we got it all out, it was thick and very cloudy and discoloured, it looked and felt in my fingers just like cloudy cooking oil, it never cleared and is still thick cloudy oily mush, I then removed fuel filter it was caked and choked in sludgey oil like used chip fat, I put a new fuel filter in, bought a 5 litre can of deisel from BP garage on Durham Rd STOCKTON-ON-TEES, before I put this in my car, I poured a sample into a glass to inspect, CRYSTAL CLEAR, put it in my car, lovely car a dream driver again, I await asda test, but Ive got sample for trading standards, and after 35ish years of driving never again will I use ASDA fuel, IM just glad I was able to save costs and drain car myself.

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  • April 4, 2015 at 8:06 am
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    I drive a 2003 Subaru Impreza WRX and have done 165 000 miles in it. I have only used Tesco Momentum 99, Shell V-Power and on a couple of occasions BP Ultimate. BP Ultimate is far too expensive and also seems less powerful than the other two. For the past 5 or 6 years I’ve been filling up with Tesco Momentum 99 more frequently than Shell V-Power as it is not only less expensive but seems to deliver more power above 60mph. Both deliver about 27.5 mpg and as the high mileage suggests I’ve had no engine problems using Tesco Momentum 99. I think you should experiment with different petrol brands and use the one that you think best suits your own particular car.

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  • April 8, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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    I run a ten-year-old diesel Nissan X-Trail. Twice in the last year I have had trouble with it misfiring at speed; both times the problem started just after filling up at a Tesco station. On both occasions, as soon as I refilled with new diesel, the problem disappeared.

    Now this may be coincidence – and I have many times filled up with Tesco diesel and *not* had a problem. However, I don’t think it is a coincidence. I think that Tesco stations occasionally buy in bad batches of fuel that happen to be going cheap. Don’t ask me to explain “bad”, or why different batches made by different refineries to the same standard can behave differently in my engine. I only know what I have observed, and I’m never going to buy Tesco diesel again.

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  • April 15, 2015 at 10:41 pm
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    My high mileage 58 plate Corsa diesel was stuttering & stammering for a couple of months so someone who knows a bit advised me to use Shell diesel rather than Asda which I had previously used. After changing to Shell normal diesel I didn’t notice any significant difference so gave Shell V-power a try. It became ten times worse using V-power. I swapped back to normal Shell diesel again and it’s back to it’s normal level of stuttering again. I thought if anything the V-power would help. Has anyone any ideas as I’m stumped?

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  • April 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm
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    I drive a Vauxhall Insignia cdti auto with a mixture of town and motorway driving and with Tesco diesel I can achieve only 40-42mpg but using Shell (which is more often) I achieve 50mpg easy and I must say I have quite a heavy right foot. So She’ll is best for me.

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  • May 20, 2015 at 11:46 am
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    I was told by the fuel card issuing company two main players BP and Shell, BP high grade for motorway driving and Shell VPower for local.

    Good for your pocket and your engine, it costs a little more but cheaper in the long run with no repair bills.

    Reply
  • May 28, 2015 at 11:28 am
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    Toyota diesel D4D engine management light illuminating and engine going into ‘safe mode’ every 40 miles or so at 100,000 miles. Garage suggested new/cleaned injectors at price of £750>£800. Changed from supermarket basic to Texaco basic…result no recurrence in last 2500 miles. No brainer really as far as I am concerned.

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  • June 11, 2015 at 12:26 pm
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    Very interesting! Just for the record: Diesel Peugeot 407SW Auto HDi – Problems with power loss from time to time, no acceleration. Garage said it was possibly ASDA diesel doing it. A can of fuel additive in the tank and change to Shell! I ran the car down to 25miles left (!) and filled up (car holds 67L) with Shell V Diesel.
    Result, the car started to go like it never did before, so lightened right foot. This resulted in an extra 47 miles to a tank full! I always run on Shell V now. Always at least 40mpg better than of old.
    I am getting a second hand Volvo D5 sport next week. I intend to run that on Shell V too.
    P.S> Err….Shell? Any chance of a discount? (Got to be cheeky!)

    Reply
  • June 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm
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    Most of the feedback about fuels mentioned here major on main brands v supermarket , but what about the minor ones such as Murco, Gulf, Q8 Etc. how do they fare? Observations of their quality and performance would also be relevant to this debate.

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  • June 29, 2015 at 10:23 pm
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    i have been a taxi driver for 30 years,have usually gone for cheapest fuel and have taken cars to around 300000 miles with no engine problemsi would have put more miles on them but our council has an 8 year age limit for cars so friends and family end up with my old cars!

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    • June 30, 2015 at 4:46 am
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      I’ve always believed that the more you use a car the more reliable it tends to be. Your experience seems to back this up!

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  • July 18, 2015 at 7:44 pm
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    LIke a previous contributor, I too am a Tesco dot com Driver. The big city Tesco fills up with Tesco diesel, and we, 20miles away use agency cards with Shell. This engineer is responsible for the maintenance of both, and a mechanic has assured me that most of the fuel problems arise from use of Tesco diesel, and we, running 9 vans have had none. QED.

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  • August 7, 2015 at 9:02 am
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    Something over 65% of all fuel for cars and light vans is sold via supermarkets. Tesco alone fill up 1 car in six. I don’t see the majority of UK cars in trouble because they’re running on supermarket fuel. Tesco have a major stake in Greenergy, a leading bio-fuel company. I do accept that a lot of engines do not perform best when there is a high percentage of bio in the fuel, but this does not warrant writing off supermarket fuel. You need check what car can run on.

    Just about all diesel is produced by some 8 or 9 refineries in the UK (you might be surprised who actually owns and operates them) and the chances are your fuel, irrespective of brand, comes from the nearest to your filing station.

    In a decade of owning diesel cars, covering some 200,000 miles, I have filled up whenever possible with “supermarket” fuel and never had a problem. I have tried so called premium brands, e.g. Total Excellium, Shell V Power, but not noticed any difference, certainly no improvement in mpg. In fact my best figures were achieved using Tesco’s regular diesel.

    Supermarkets with 24 or more pumps are shifting fresh fuel at an alarming rate – questions must be asked of small branded stations where the fuel can hang around for long periods and deteriorate..

    The commonest reason for diesel engines and DPFs playing up these days is the system not getting hot enough through too many short journeys. In such circumstances, petrol engines are better.

    Finally, if fuel from a particular outlet has caused problems for your car and appears to be not fit for purpose, this needs to be reported to both the outlet and Trading Standards.

    Reply
  • August 10, 2015 at 8:11 pm
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    I had a little 1 litre corsa until earlier this year and used supermarket fuel in it. The engine light was constantly coming on and the car would get very jerky no matter what speed I was travelling, but the mechanic I use couldn’t find anything wrong when he ran the diagnostics. In the end it seemed like the engine light was coming on and the car was responding to that rather than the other way around. After seeing my usual mechanic, having to plug in to switch off the warning ligt myself every 50 miles (so twice each day), and seeing a few other mechanics the only explanation anyone could give was the supermarket fuel had wrecked the engine.

    I now have a new (and much more appropriate for the miles and rural location) 4×4 and will only use BP event though it’s an extra 10 miles to the petrol station. I fill up every Sunday and alternate between BP regular diesel and BP Ultimate diesel. I get just under 600 miles out of my tank and she runs like a dream.

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  • August 14, 2015 at 10:27 am
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    To cut a long sotry short , after having to replace the injectors in my mondeo twice within 14 months. The second time i had took it to a delphi specialist and after telling him of my woes he removed some fuel from my tank, he smelled it and did a couple of test on it, he came back out and told me i was using supermarket diesel and that was the problem, the tolerances on delphi injectors are really small, and that supermarket diesel can contain upto 80% bio-diesel, where brand diesel contains at the most 20%. This makes the fuel system run at a higher pressure than it was designed to do, therefore blows the seals out on injectors and fuel pumps .

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  • August 28, 2015 at 9:49 am
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    Hi Guys,
    All I would like to know is sulphur content in diesel sold in the UK.
    Back home in South Africa the best we get is 50ppm.
    Whats the chances of my new UK car being effected by this fuel.
    Cheers,
    Ken

    Reply
    • August 28, 2015 at 10:19 am
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      Hi Ken,

      Here in the UK we have ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) with sulphur content not exceeding 10 parts per million.

      I can’t say whether your new UK car will be affected, but it may not be a problem.

      The UK only completed the switch from 50ppm to 10ppm in December 2007 (see here), so there are plenty of vehicles on the road which ran on higher sulphur fuel and now use the low sulphur fuel without any issues. I’m guessing that the reverse might also be true, although I can’t say for sure.

      Cheers,
      Roland

      Reply
  • August 31, 2015 at 5:26 pm
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    Hi I have a vauxhall insignia from brand new and after about a year Im having poor running problems, it’s been back to an unnamed Vauxhall dealer in rotherham(there’s only 1) , they are saying either my driving style or asda fuel is at fault. The bar feels like it’s only running on 3 cylinders, they say that all the filters are clean but the problem still persists, they cannot find any problems on the diagnostic computers. I commented that the problem might not be electronic and basically got laughed at, I haven’t told them yet I was a fully qualified mechanic years ago, Im saving that. Can anyone comment on the basic quality of supermarket fuel as Perry’s say it contains water (I smell bull shit)

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  • September 6, 2015 at 9:28 pm
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    I agree with Kevin Mohammed’s much earlier comment. The new Fiesta ST’s seem to be particularly sensitive to what you put in them, I’d hazard a guess that it would be the same story with any of the new Fiesta Ecoboosts. You can feel a definite difference between premium fuels from Esso, shell and BP, than when you use supermarket fuels. It’s also very evident from fuel economy when you attempt to be economical, though this is difficult as putting your foot down is ridiculously addictive.

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  • September 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm
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    You do realise there are different compartments in these tankers? Of course it’s going to be different!

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  • September 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm
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    Hi all

    I have a 51 plate vauxhall astra with 53k on the clock and is running but sometimes it feel so sluggish I just feel like throing it away until i started using BP regular petrol. For some reason my steering become much lighter and the engine become instantly smoother which i had never got from sing Esso, Shell etc.

    My car was such a joy to drive that i now try to always fill up BP cause of its effect on my car. I had contacted vauxhall and they said that they found this somewhat strange.

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  • October 4, 2015 at 7:38 pm
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    Please take note:
    As speaking from many aspects here, I have a fuel business, haulage business and car dealership.
    There is lots and lots of variables for a cars fuels systems failure, i.e.; worn , damaged or faulty parts, dirty or rusty garage fuel storage tank, dirty/corroded delivery fuel tanker tank, bad batch of fuel from the refinery.

    As a haulier, Its a common sight to see most supermarkets – tescos, morrisons, sainsburys or asda qued up behind each other in the shell or bp docks terminal waiting to get loaded to deliver to their stores. There is no difference between supermarket or branded fuels, just the price you pay.

    Most branded garages are franchised and are working on a small 4-7p margin ppl, as where the supermarkets have got the buying power to buy cheaper and sell at cost or at a 1-3p loss as a means of advertising to create a greater footfall into the supermarkets where they get their cream.

    In my opinion and may it not be correct to all, i stay away from most/ all sole trader(s) garages as they are to benefit the most in fuel stretching / cheap fuel tricks.

    But please bare in mind as most people love their treasured cars they always blame the fuel but as in most mechanical items , such as fuel systems, failure is inevitable. But for main car dealers they will always pass the buck onto the fuel or service stations.

    Please feel free to comment to my rant but i feel it is a true account of the industry

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  • October 12, 2015 at 2:16 am
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    Got a 1998 VW t4 tdi transporter camper with 75.000 on the clock. I’ve owned it the past 8 years. It’s never never been the fastest and was always sluggish on the motorway. Got myself a small eriba caravan to tow and after a couple of weekends away decided it was time to change the van because it was next to useless. After looking on internet and seeing the prices i decided to see if there was anything i could have done with my old faithful one. Found a local company that did engine diagnostics, one of the first questions he asked was where i got my fuel, i replied “Morrisons for the last 8 years” and he replied with a smile. Anyway 3 days later and £630 less in the bank i went to pick up the van. I could not believe the difference it was like driving a new one, where the extra power came from i do not know or understand.
    Work done was a full engine clean, a full service and some filter replaced. Last thing said before i left was “keep away from Morrisons and find the nearest BP garage”.

    Reply
  • October 19, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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    My car is a Japanese GREY import with a genuine 45000 when landed in the UK.Japanese diesel is is superior than UK standard diesel.

    The car in the UK has had two owners prior to me and I know them both.

    the UK service history until I purchased the car not know but the last owner continually charged the oil and filter.They both used supermarket fuel as it was cheap.

    when I acquired the car it averaged 18 / 21 mpg but I do live in a hilly area.

    I had had the car fully serviced all oils etc and over a period of time the mpg improved to23/24 on texaco diesel.i have filled up the car three times with shell v plus nitro and the mpg rose to 27mpg.

    The real difference in how quite the engine is , low speed idle is constant and not erratic and engine is much smoother at speed.

    The emminision level has reduced from an average of 2.00 to .91 on the MOT test over a three year ownership.

    the internals of the diesels gone ,is hopefully ,much cleaner.

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  • October 24, 2015 at 3:18 pm
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    Re the above post : Don’t know why but the fuel consumption using shell v nitro plus has dropped back to 23 mpg from 27 mpg.

    Everything else remains the same re the benefits of the Shell fuel.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2015 at 11:54 am
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    Just thought I’d chuck my two penneth in.

    I have a 2009 Citroen C3 Picasso and encountered the ‘safe mode’ problem and car reporting an anti pollution fault. Looked online and everything pointed towards a faulty DPF so I booked it in at the local garage. They called me back and said the computer had not recorded any faults and the car doesn’t have a DPF!! They seemed to think it might be the fuel filter so they changed that along with a full service and it was fine………………for a few months.

    Again the sluggish driving and ‘anti pollution’ fault reappeared so I called the garage again.

    Garage man: “Where do you buy your fuel from lad?”
    Me: “Sainsbury’s……cause of the nectar points”
    Garage man: “ooh, tha dunt want to use that muccy stuff, fill up with Shell Nitro and give the beggar a long blast on 62”

    So I did, tank was more or less empty so I filled up with the shell stuff and took the car on a long drive on the motorway for a couple of hours. Job sorted, no more faults, no more sluggish car. It also feels like it has a little more poke (not that it has much anyway) and a tank seems to last a little longer.

    I’m firmly in the “supermarket fuel is crap” camp.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2015 at 3:34 pm
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    Hi everyone, a comment above about fuel tankers having different compartments is a good one but it’s more about safety than ripping you off, when accidents occur only the damaged tanks are lost not the full capacity.
    Right, the different fuel packages it’s all the same stuff, but ‘branded’ fuel companys say There’s is better so it costs more, it’s basically an ingredient that makes there fuel burn slightly hotter thus helping to keep the cars engine cleaner and giving slightly better performance.
    A shot of redex in a full tank of fuel once a month will give the same effect,It’s safe to use on brand new cars even those with a turbo and dpf filters
    I firmly believe that car manufacturers today are trying to make their cars so efficient and cleaner to run that they’re going too far with their claims that whenever cars have poor running problems that they blame anyone like the supermarkets , all forecourts are regularly checked by trading standards and have to be clean enough to pass British standards rules. These car manufacturers will not admit their own failure, just look at Volkswagen,,, I rest my case

    Reply

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