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Can supermarket fuel damage your car?

Is cheap supermarket fuel bad for your car’s engine? We investigate some urban myths around supermarket fuel and reveal whether they’re fact or fiction.

Can supermarket fuel damage your car?

October, 2019

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Supermarket fuel can damage your engine – FICTION

Supermarket fuel can damage your engine – FICTION

45% of the petrol and diesel sold in the UK is bought at supermarket filling stations. So if supermarket fuel was responsible for damaging engines, our road network would be permanently jammed up with broken down vehicles. The simple truth is that supermarket fuel tankers often queue up at refineries alongside branded tankers waiting to fill up on petrol or diesel, which means that most of the fuel sold at supermarkets is the same as the standard grade fuel at branded filling stations.

Supermarket filling stations sell poorer grade fuel than big brand garages – FICTION

Supermarket filling stations sell poorer grade fuel than big brand garages – FICTION

All motor fuel sold in the UK has to conform to clearly defined standards: BS EN 228:2012 for unleaded petrol, and BS EN 590:2009 for diesel. These international standards set out the purity levels and sampling methods that fuel suppliers must comply with, and all brands are regularly monitored to ensure consistent high quality – including supermarkets.

Big brand petrol and diesel contains special additives – FACT

Big brand petrol and diesel contains special additives – FACT

The petrol or diesel you fill up with contains a variety of chemical additives, and each fuel brand has their own secret blend. The big brands spend a great deal of money trying to engineer a cocktail of additives that delivers the best mix of performance and efficiency. And, of course, supermarkets have their own version, it’s just that they manage to deliver them at a slightly lower price. Are they just as good? There really is no definitive answer.

Branded fuel can enhance your car’s performance – FACT and FICTION

Branded fuel can enhance your car’s performance – FACT and FICTION

There are six major UK oil refineries supplying the country’s network of 8,000+ filling stations, and the petrol and diesel they manufacture is all of a similar quality. However, the different chemicals that each fuel brand adds to their product may make a very small difference in terms of fuel economy, engine performance and emissions. You’ll pay a few pence per litre more for premium fuel with the extra additives, but the petrol or diesel component is just the same as any other brand’s fuel.

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