Recently we had a customer come into the workshop complaining that his vehicle was lacking power, especially when going up the big hills on the freeway. After some investigation it was revealed that he was running E10 fuel in an older vehicle. Matt suggested refueling the next tank with higher octane fuel. This simple measure immediately fixed the problem, leading to another very happy customer.
What’s the Difference Between the Fuels?
So what is the difference between higher octane fuel (95 or 98% unleaded) as compared to E10? And why is the age of the car relevant?
The octane rate of fuel determines its burn rate. A higher octane fuel will burn better and cleaner inside your engine. A cleaner engine equates to the car having more power, which in turn can save significant maintenance costs.
Is It Worth Saving Money With E10 Fuel?
Although the cost of buying the higher octane fuel is a few cents higher than the E10 version, you need less of it to create the same amount of power. The lower usage of fuel may potentially balance out the increased cost per litre.
Further, the lower octane fuel allows carbon to quickly build up within the engine. This can further impair your car’s performance and can result in extra servicing costs required to remove that carbon. The build-up of carbon will still happen with higher octane fuels, but at a much slower rate.
Whilst the maths on whether your fuel will cost less over the long term is variable and impossible to calculate, the bottom line is that it’s better for your engine to run higher octane fuel.
If You Have An Old Car…
Running E10 in older cars is highly unadvisable. It can have very detrimental effects on a lot of the engine’s various components, and end in an otherwise avoidable and potentially very expensive repair bill.
Put simply these older cars were not designed to run on E10 so please don’t risk it!