Supermarket Petrol - Good as branded? -
Hi, Is the petrol sold at supermarkets the same quality as branded fuels? Several years ago rumours circulated that supermarket fuel was inferior to that sold by the oil giants, BP, Esso, Shell, etc.. Any one have any thoughts on this?
OK here is the truth....I work at an oil refinery. All the major oil companies have swap agreements (ie we will lift petrol out of your refinery in the south of england and we will lift petrol from you in the north of England) the refinery I work at has all the majors coming in plus most of the supermarkets. Reference additives......I just wish I could tell you because you would be so surprised...no one in any posting I have read has even got close to the true answer.
GIM, it's a pity you haven't given us any new 'truth'. We all know there are only a handful of UK refineries the raw stuff can come from, but you aren't at liberty (?) to reveal anything about any real difference between branded and supermarket fuels. At the moment it seems hard to find a supermarket source which will save more than 1p/litre: say 50p per fill, which doesn't make it worth going very far out of one's way to save cash.
OK here is the truth....I work at an oil refinery. All
the major oil companies have swap agreements (ie we will lift
petrol out of your refinery in the south of england and
we will lift petrol from you in the north of England)
the refinery I work at has all the majors coming in
plus most of the supermarkets. Reference additives......I just wish I could
tell you because you would be so surprised...no one in any
posting I have read has even got close to the true
There aren't any additives used?
I suspect this because when I worked in an engine research lab we used to use 'research grade fuel' (i.e. regular fuel, additive free) and in several years I never saw any problems with either the engines or their fuel delivery systems.
Optimax has a higher octane level than any other petrol sold in the UK (no doubt somebody who knows will be along to say that some other producer's special fuel also has this higher octane rating).
Certain high performance cars benefit from this higher octane rating in Optimax and run better - largely because they have octane sensors that retard the ignition on lower-octane petrol, thereby reducing performance. (Again, no doubt somebody can give us a more technical answer, but this is about right.)
Accordingly you are no more likely to get Optimax out of Tescbury's tank of unleaded than you are likely to get 3 star out of it. Any more than you are going to get cider out of a barrel of beer.
Otherwise I suspect that it makes no difference whatsoever to the petrol sold. Yes there are additives in there (there MUST be detergent additives in there as the petrol companies say there are, and not even the most aggressive oil company with the dodgiest reputation would risk offending the Advertising Standards people with such a blatant lie), but broadly I suspect one additive is the same as the next, they pretty much don't cost anything anyway (least of all 8p per litre which is what Shell claims its extra additives in Optimax are worth). GIM's information about swap agreements rather suggests this is correct.
No supermarket would risk selling poor quality fuel - they sell to much of it. The damage to their reputation would be too great. (Anybody remember the great Persil Power makes holes in your clothes scandal (which it did) - I still don't buy Persil.)
That said, when I was a child my mother would never buy ESSO as she complained that it smelled.
Mapmaker, the additives they put in can affect the octane rating, thats why they put addiives in in the first place, to prevent knocking. So a base fuel of 95RON could be increased to 98RON with the relevant addities. However, optimax may be totally different.
High octane is not just for high performance, many holder engines with higher compression that are not particularly performance orientated benefit from higher octane fuels.
If you rear aprilia's post poor quality fuel does not exist any more in this country. I think its true that the supermarkets would not wish to sell a product worse than everybody else.
There probably are additives in most fuels but this does not tell us whether they perform any valid detergent role.
The issues must be: is uk fuel of high enough quality today that is does not burn leaving deposits, and are we sure the right addititives always go in the right tank?
I suspect a lot of problems are due to dirt in the pumping systems.
I watch these threads come and go and need a question answering. How do you rate the petrol? Do your cars perform noticably worse? I only ask because I'll fill up wherever I am and have used Morissons, Asda, Sainsburys (quite a lot as there is one around the corner) BP, Shell and Texaco. I have to be honest, don't really notice a difference. I never check fuel consumption or anything like that. Could my supermarket habits be detrimental to the car?
I have a relative who's a senior manager for Tesco's at their HQ. A few years back I remember he told me that Esso have the contract to supply Tesco's with petrol. I've no idea if this is still the situation though.
>>he told me that Esso have the contract to supply Tesco's>>
It makes economic sense for supermakets to be supplied by the main petrol refining companies and to brand delivery drivers' tankers with their own logos.
It's the same in many areas of consumer goods, from hi-fi to video recorders, computer components to food products - a great many are rebranded as it would be impossible for the majority of companies to manufacture everything it sold.
Just put 60 litres of BP's Ultimate diesel in. At 4p a litre extra it is going to have to perform miracles to become a regular, but hey what the hell give it a try. After 18k miles on mostly regular tesco soup I will let you know how it performs.
well, After 500 miles on BP ultimate Diesel, under strict laboratory conditions (not) I can report thus.
It does appear to be better. The engine is smoother, quiter, has better low revs tractability, and performance is definitely perkier. MPG however is not changed 1 jot, sooo at 4p a litre more expensive (on 60 litres thats £2.40) it is consigned to the "I may treat myself from time to time if feeling flush" category.
"One driver has complained that the supermarket fuel is poor quality, has low detergent content and if used frequently leads to breakdowns, which in a diesel car means a new fuel pump! Is this correct?
Answer: "Basically, all fuel retailed in the UK must meet certain standards. There are British Standard definitions for every fuel type and quality, usually marked clearly on the pump.
"It is also well-known that most supplies to forecourts are blends from 'the local refinery'. While these are branded, there is a huge amount of cross-branding of the same chemical mix, with some additives mixed in, late in the process (often in the tanker itself) to support product differentiation.
"In my view, the overall level of fuel quality from UK forecourts is high and pretty uniform. It is not generally true that 'supermarket fuel is very poor quality' ? much of it is almost the same as the branded liquids with the oil-company names."
Note the fact that supermarket fuel "must meet certain (BS)standards" and that much of it is "almost the same as the branded liquids".
Also, from ClassicCars:
"Cheap supermarket petrol often doesn?t have the extra detergent additives that more expensive brands feature but for old car engines, which may have decades of internal deposits that are best left untouched, this isn?t necessarily a bad thing; the octane rating is more important."
I've no personal qualms about using Tesco etc fuel but I do freqently also used a branded fuel to help keep the engine in good order.
Stuartli: 'if you use supermarket fuel on a regular basis you are advised to occasionally fill up with Esso'
Aprilia: 'Which body or organisation is it that advises this?'
Stuartli: 'the overall level of fuel quality from UK forecourts is high and pretty uniform. It is not generally true that 'supermarket fuel is very poor quality' ? much of it is almost the same as the branded liquids with the oil-company names."'
So your point, Stuartli is exactly what????
And Stuartli, what makes you think that using a branded fuel keeps the engine in good order?
By the way, I've jsut started up a new business selling fuel additives that will make your car run better. At £25 per litre you cannot go wrong: it will improve your driving no end - just send me some cash & I'll send you some.
Supermarket Petrol - Good as branded? -
If you happen to do the same journey every day, then an easy test to see which is best for you is to try supermarket petrol vs a decent brand. I did and here are the results (remember I do the same journey to work & back 5 days a week (30 miles each way) and do not use the car at weekends).
Tesco petrol - 420 miles on 1 tank (42 mpg)
Sainsburys petrol - 360 miles on 1 tank (36 mpg)
TOTAL petrol - 480 miles on 1 tank (48 mpg)
The results shocked me and I wouldnt touch supermarket petrol with a barge pole. I drive a 97 Honda civic 1.5 Vtec and all the above tests were carried out in July/August 2005.
Like Stuartli, I find that 120 miles difference to comprehend.
In the 3 years i've had my Tdi, I have logged every tankful, and other than long distance drives as opposed to my daily commute, there is little variation
I've tried Shell, Shell Extra, BP, BP ultimate, sainsbury's, tesco, asda, with and without millers, with and without 20% veg oil (purely for research purposes) and i can tell you that the only thing that makes more than 2 or 3% difference is...
the school run.
When other people stop driving their kids to school, my consumption figures improve by 4-7%
What we really need to know is when any additives are added to the fuel.
To be more specific, I think it is crystal clear that fuel comes from many different refineries to most fuel retailers, and fuel, be it petrol or diesel, is these days refined to fairly precise specifications. However diffent oil companies do use differing additive packs, especially where diesel is concerned, (ie anti-foaming, anti-waxing and cetane improving etc).
Therefore my question is if Sainsburys gets the odd load from say Oil company 1, is it just luck that they might use better additives than Oil company 2 who usually supply Sainsburys. Or is the additive pack added once the destination of the fuel is known, eg Good stuff for franchised stations and crap for the cost cutting supermarket forecourts ?
Generally speaking the petrol stations around my way, including the supermarkets, all charge the same price for petrol and diesel.
In fact my local Tesco is just a stone's throw from a BP outlet and yet it's definitely the busier of the two - must be Clubcard points that swing the balance...:-)
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What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
I?ve posted this in the past but will repeat it. My son in law drove fuel tankers for Wincanton with Texaco livery several years until about two years ago when he changed to car transporters.
He tells me that when they fill the tanker they are given some kind of card by the clerk in the office which slots into the filling rig which tells it what additives to put in.
It depends who the customer is what additives and how much is put in.
The drivers haven?t a clue what additives goes in as everything is done automatically and literally don?t care either but is definitely different for different customers.
I would be interested to know by what mechanism one brand of petrol can have 5-10% higher calorific value than another - especially if it is all down to these mystical 'additives'. In fact most additive (detergents, octane improvers etc.) actually *reduce* the calorific value of the fuel.
Have been using Tesco fuel for many years,never had a problem.Also tried where I cannot locate a Tesco,other suppliers whether BP/Shell or any other when a refill is necessary.I have found no difference between any of them.So as far as I am concerned Tesco fuel is as good as any other!!
If I had a product that i could factually and scientifically prove that it was better than my competitors, and more cost efficient, I would be singing it from the rooftops, taking out full page ads and providing conclusive evidence that could not be argued against.
There was an item on local TV news tonight about a Texaco garage in Derbyshire charging £1.05 a litre for diesel. The owner said words to the effect thet "we are an independent retailer, although Texaco branded we are supplied by the majors and have no control over prices". Sounded as if it wasn't always Texaco and could be any of the "majors" which he used. So how do we know whether it is Texaco, Shell, Esso, BP etc that we buy at this garage? Doesn't that rather negate saying "buy Shell or Texaco"?
Except for premium fuels eg optimax and ultimate, the base fuels come from the same source.
The additive is added to the tanker dependent upon customer.(except lubricity additive for diesel that is added at the refinery)
All brands of additive contain detergent the difference between the brands can be significant. (I've seen the inlet valves and injectors)
the additives industry spends a fortune on developing new detergents that are more thermally stable. (very difficult)
All additives increase cylinder head deposits by ~10% the main aim is to keep inlet valves and injectors clean.
Feel companies really squeeze the additives manufacturers on price.
Thought of the day a Polos inlet valves run at ~400C an old Mercs inlet valves probably run at ~250C
I do find a difference between different brands of Diesel. I buy Esso as a rule, the car just feels a bit livelier, and goes a bit further on a tank full, than Shell or BP (which is usually dearer). I tried texaco once, no difference.
I haven't touched supermarket petrol or diesel since an automatic Omega I had kept cutting out when turning into/out off side roads. The garage cleaned out the fuel system (throttle body??) and said it was gunked up. HJ reported similar finding from other Omega readers, and put it don to supermarket fuel. Changed to Shell petrol, problem solved.
BTW "super" diesel seems to be more common in France,but I just by the cheaper stuff (but not from supermarkets - even in France I don't rate it)
For Sale: in a Supermarket near to you. Kills all known germs, Big Dom Domestos. iirc £2 per 2 litre bottle. What more can you ask for?
Alternatively, on the bottom shelf, 2 litres of own brand bleach, 59p. Makes no claims to killing germs.
Which do you buy?
Well, bleach is bleach is bleach. Big Dom has an expensive advertising campaign to fund, as well as paying for the bleach. (Something has to pay for the luvvies and their champagne.) Yet enough people fall for the advertising campaign to justify charging three times the price (or whatever the premium is).
No prizes for guessing which bleach I buy! Same goes for my petrol.
i always used to use the main stations until i was leaving our local waitrose one morning and saw a main supplier lorry at the waitrose petrol station. i filled up there a few days later and asked the employee behind the counter if that's where their fuel came from - it was. same petrol, different price.
Yeah but, (and I,m a supermarket diesel buyer) it may be the same tanker but did it have these additves things in the fuel?
How/when are these additives put in?
And, while on the subject, can I point people back to my Q above which is basically about the station owner who said "we are Texaco branded but supplied by the majors" so when we go into a Texaco station is it Texaco or could it be Shell, Esso, Total, Jet, Sainbury's, Tesco's (the last two are surely "major" fuel retailers?)
I would like to know if it does damage to your car putting £20 of Esso then £30 of Sainsbury's £25 of BP/Shell £20 of Tesco etc etc. In other words mixing some of the obove with another.
Same with Diesel.
Please tell me it makes no difference in the long run?
No reason why it should - they all comply with BS???? whatever it is don't they? If it mattered you wouldn't get aircraft mixing up jet fuel from all over the World. It meets a prescribed standard and so should be OK!
>>Please tell me it makes no difference in the long run?
Never known anyone to have problems with any fuels,apart from mixing petrol with diesel or vise versa.Only problems with fuel systems themselves,I have been(mainly)using supermarket fuels and the majors for years without any problems
I dont think in the cut throat supermarket trade any of them would sell duff fuel,I draw a parallel with restaurants,go for the house red or white,its cheaper and they cant afford to sell rubbish either.
Rubbish wine is costly at any price. Ditto with fuel. Unless I know what the supermarket fuel package is, and I don't, it seems more sensible to avoid headaches later, by buying fuel with the stated aim of preventing the engine clogging-up. Silence on this matter by the supermarkets indicates their stance on effective additives over and above the bare minimum EN : there ain't any.