Which Petrol Should You Use? The Different Fuel Types Explained

Having the right fuel in your car is an integral aspect all drivers must nail to avoid making silly mistakes. Even though it’s not explicitly pointed out to you when you fill your gas tank, you still need to make the right decision to avoid immediate or future inconveniences.

Some of the challenges you might face when you use the wrong fuel on your car include reduced performance, posing safety hazards, exhaust emissions, fuel system challenges, and engine damage which will cost you a fortune. Worse, these challenges might occur in the middle of nowhere with someone to help you. 

That means you must act immediately to know the best fuel that suits your vehicle and the repercussions that might unveil if you don’t make the right fuel decisions in Australia. 

Fortunately, this piece will dive into the nitty gritty about petrol use in Australia and what you need to know to ensure you have the right fuel for efficiency and save on maintenance and management costs. Keep reading to learn more. 

Petrol Types in Australia


To identify and understand petrol types in Australia, you need to know the numbers determining which one to go for. Ideally, the numbers are called octane ratings and are designed to help users identify the fuel that burns faster in your car engine and those that take time. These numbers include 91,95, and 98, respectively. 

While a 91 rating often identifies standard petrol, it can be distinguished from premium substances at 95 and 98. 

Besides that, the market has ethanol-based fuels (E85 and E10), which are considered to have a low impact on the state of the environment. They are environmentally sustainable as they are generally refined using sugarcane or com ethanol blend and not refined oil.  

Standard Unleaded Petrol (91)


Notably, unleaded 91 petrol is the most used and preferred fuel by Aussies and is available across every petrol station in the country. While it’s easily accessible and can be used by most automobiles, premium fuel remains the most significant and trustworthy fuel based on the car you drive.  

Note that the Australian fuel price for ULP 91 is something like $1.40, based on a report by FuelWatch. However, it’s also essential to point out that it might be the least convenient if you compare it with other options that boost your car’s and engine’s performance. Nonetheless, it should be your go-to choice if your car mainly uses this petrol type and doesn’t work well with other brands. 

Premium, 95-Octane Unleaded Petrol


If you’re looking for more efficient petrol that works well with most cars, then the PULP 95, which stands for premium unleaded fuel, is the best choice. Besides improving your car’s performance, it also makes the engine smoother and more efficient in its operation. 

However, using foreign and high-speed automobiles is highly recommended, even though regular cars can still use them. While it’s a highly functional petrol, it costs around $1.60 for every litre you secure. Even though this is expensive compared to other petrol, it’s still worth it based on its functionality. 

Premium 98-Octane Unleaded


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Check out the ultra-premium option if you want the top-rated octane unleaded fuel (98). This is a traditional fuel that not only carries status but genuinely increases the performance of your machine and the engine. Moreover, it does an incredible job of remaining environmentally friendly with its pollution-resistant qualities.  

And just like PULP 95, it is mainly suitable for foreign and high-performance vehicles that can handle its capabilities. However, to secure this petrol, you’ll have to break the bank by paying a little bit more ($1.70 per litre) based on where you secure it.  


E10 is a fuel with an ethanol basis that contains 10% ethanol along with 90% unleaded gasoline. If your automobile is adjusted for it, a greater octane rating (94) may lead to improved performance. 

But since ethanol has a lower energy density than oil, it could have low fuel efficiency. That indicates that by using E10 gasoline, you’re helping to fund Australia’s maize or sugarcane industries.

Only a few pennies separated E10’s nationwide median cost from 91. To determine the best value, you must assess if the price benefits outweigh the lower fuel efficiency. If one is available, visit the E10 checker based on your state of residence to see whether your automobile is E10 compatible or needs to find an alternative.


While the E10 is quite efficient, so is the E85, which works extremely well with V8 supercars and anyone who wants to go on the racks over the weekend. This has led to it being dubbed the “Flex Fuel,” significantly increasing its popularity.  

It’s important to note that this fuel only consists of 15% normal petrol and 85% ethanol and has all the characteristics for efficient engine and car performance. Besides that, they are also environmentally friendly, which is a huge boost for climate enthusiasts and local industries. 

Based on the information availed by United Petroleum, the level or the rating of E85 is 107 based on its octane content. However, this fuel cannot be used on all cars, even though it still compliments V8 Holden Commodores and various high-end machines.  

While this is a convenient fuel for high-performing vehicles, it is quite hard to find, and when you do, it costs a fortune. Its price is mainly tied to the shard to secure it, so it costs $1.50 for every litre you secure. 

Premium Unleaded (98)


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Because of its finest octane level compared to other fuels, it is no wonder premium 98 is often the more costly across all gas stations. Which begs the question, which of these three powerful fuels should be used in yours?

Engines are built by automakers to meet an acceptable octane rating. The kind of unleaded gasoline you choose is significant to your vehicle’s performance, so always check what the company suggests before loading up at the gas station.

Even though your vehicle might be mainly suitable for unleaded fuel 91 or 95, using 98 will not negatively impact your vehicle’s functionality. Instead, it might increase the level of your vehicle’s performance. 

Nonetheless, it’s important to note that if you choose a greater octane fuel rating, the performance and efficiency level may be lower than vehicles directly designed to fit this type of fuel.  However, that doesn’t mean that it will also have a negative impact on your car as the system allows it, but not as much as premium 98-designed automobiles.

While the premium 98 is a lucrative fuel option well-liked for high-end vehicles, you should prepare to pay more to secure it. Most notably, you should always respect the manufactures instructions and recommendations on the level of octane you should use on your vehicle. If your vehicle is meant for premium 98, you should only stick to what’s recommended and not switch to 91 or 95. 

The lower the octane you use, what the manufacturer identified and suggested can decrease performance level and fuel economy.  Worst case scenario, it could lead to engine failure and motor damage, costing you a fortune to repair. This often occurs with vehicles requiring a greater RON fuel that mainly reacts to ignition. 

On the other hand, the limited RON fuel can explode if the piston is not well placed in the cylinder. Moreover, the explosion can be grievous, and its effects might destroy the piston’s head and other aspects and content.   

10 Alternative Fuel Sources for Vehicles


1. Battery Electric

Currently, world development has seen a growing need for battery electric cars. This has forced multiple commercial car companies to adjust and create charging sections on most automobiles. This also means that eclectic car users will have the chance to enjoy the Chargemate cards that don’t have a spending limit but require a monthly payment. 

Most notably, electric automobiles mainly implement the Lithium-ion battery, which can often be reused by charging. It’s mainly attached to the electric motor on the car for convenience in functionality. This means that every time you’re on the road, the motor is powered by the battery, making the wheels work efficiently.  


  • No exhaust emissions: Despite driving an electric car and avoiding adding to harmful emissions, electricity is not necessarily a green energy source for automobiles. Additionally, studies indicate that when weighed against diesel and gasoline cars, electric vehicles generate up to 30% less greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Fuel savings: According to a 2020 DirectLine study, fueling a gasoline vehicle is 58% higher in price than fueling an electric vehicle.
  • Lower maintenance costs: An electric car usually has lesser active parts than a vehicle powered by diesel or petrol, which means it’s far less likely to have mechanical problems that result in a high repair expense.
  • Government grants: The Government has grants designed to help electric car users reduce costs, making it more convenient. 


  • Charging: The time and preparation required to charge an electric car is one of the drivers’ biggest problems. The amount of time it takes to charge the battery in an electric car might vary, depending on how old the battery is.

2. Plug-in Hybrid

If you’re looking for a method with two ways to power, you should check out Plug-in Hybrid. This often uses diesel or fuel to power the internal combustion, or sometimes you can use batteries to get the job done by working on your motor. 

That means that you often need to charge your batteries using electricity to enable your car functions efficiently. Once your battery is depleted, you can always use diesel or fuel to power your car and ensure you’re not stuck in the middle of nowhere. So make the right decision by reviewing its features and requirements to know whether you need it as much as you think.  


  • Reduced carbon emissions: Plug-in hybrid is environmentally friendly as it uses electricity to charge batteries and function, which clears any possibility of carbon emissions. 
  • Model range: You can secure Plug-in hybrid in different models, offering users a wide range of options. This is a convenient way to put users at the centre of their services. 


  • Deadweight: Whenever the power is depleted, you must bring a large battery for the length of your trip. Therefore, you won’t be able to go farther on your diesel or petrol engine than in a conventional car. You may need something else if you operate a modest, local fleet or are a lone proprietor. 

3. Biogas CNG

Another unusual way to keep your vehicle running for a long time is by using Biogas CNG, which has incredible features. Biogas, compressed natural gas, is generally a renewable energy source mainly made of methane to power your car. Moreover, it’s a great option as it’s also environmentally friendly since it does not cause air pollution, which makes it a safer option.  

However, you might need help locating a place to refill your car using this method due to its scarcity. Before using this method, you must identify places to secure Biogas CNG to ensure you are out of gas in the middle of the road with little to no help. Also, you must understand that it’s a rarely used option, so you might not find services or help easily( it might also cost you more than the normal gas). 


  • Renewable: Biogas Compressed Natural gas is a great source for powering your car since it’s a renewable method that does not impact the environment.  


  • Expensive upfront costs: While Biogas is environmentally friendly, few cars use it to function. This means it’s hard to find Biogas hence hiking their price way over the normal fuel price. 
  • Lack of infrastructure: Few cars use Biogas, so it’s hard to find stations or infrastructure offering these services. And if you do, it will cost you a fortune.  

4. Biogas LNG

If you’re looking for an alternative that uses organic material fermentation or anaerobic digestion, then Biogas Liquidified Natural Gas should be your go-to option. It’s a lucrative and direct replacement for Biogas compressed natural gas(CNG). 

When compared to traditional fuels, biogas LNG has a higher fuel efficiency due to its high energy content. However, it might be scarce due to fewer vehicles that support this process. On top of that, its scarcity might also mean you will have to pay more when you use it.  


  • Highly efficient: Biogas Liquified Natural Gas is highly efficient compared to other fuel sources. This boosts your car’s and engine’s performance and helps you save cash.
  • Good for long-haul journeys: While electric cars can often be devastating, especially if you run out of batter in the middle of nowhere, Biogas LNG is dissimilar. It is efficient for long trips and takes longer before it runs out or requires you to refuel, making it more convenient than dies or electric cars.  


  • Cost: LNG made from biogas often costs more than fuel. This is mainly because it’s a more recent fuel source; the extensive infrastructure needed to reduce prices has yet to be completely developed.

5. HVO

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is another great alternative for fueling your efficient and convenient vehicle. It’s another renewable method of powering your car that is sidelined by many uses but works wonders, especially if you travel long distances. It is mainly designed from animal fats and vegetable oils, making it a great way to power automobiles while keeping the environmental aspect in mind. 

However, using HVO can be devastating due to its limited accessibility. With that in mind, it’s important to note that the demand for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil currently outweighs the production, which means it will take quite some time to secure it. That also means the price will be higher compared to petrol or diesel.  


  • Environmentally-friendly: Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is environmentally safe as it’s made mostly from renewable natural products and releases 90% less emission than other renewable alternatives.  
  • Easy to store: HVO is adored because you can easily and efficiently last longer than other vehicle fueling options. 
  • High flashpoint: Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is safer and has incredible storage capacity and handling purposes, making it shine above other options in the fuelling market. 
  • No vehicle modification: Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil does not require users to make any amendments or alter their vehicle features to accommodate it. You can still use it even if your car uses a diesel engine, guaranteeing it functions efficiently. 


  • Access: Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is more difficult to get than gasoline and diesel since it is still a relatively new fuel. This could alter as we become less dependent on gasoline and diesel in the next years.

6. Biodiesel


Another method to power your automobile is Biodiesel, a sustainable and renewable fuel that automatically replaces petroleum. It is made from numerous sources, such as animal fats, vegetable oils or cooking oil, via a process known as transesterification. Moreover, it’s a method that not many people use to refill their vehicles, so you’ll to look into what it does to understand it better. 

That said, you can use biodiesel as a direct replacement to power diesel vehicles or mix it up to ensure your vehicle powers up. The best part is you will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which is great for environment enthusiasts. Nonetheless, few vehicle manufacturers approve of it, so you should use it cautiously.  


  • Greener fuel: Biodiesel significantly impacts the environment as it is mainly produced using organic waste products.
  • High flashpoint: Biodiesel is safer and more convenient than diesel due to its high flashpoint.  
  • Engine health: The lubricity of the gasoline is increased by biodiesel. This lubricating action may save wear and tear, enhancing the general health of the engine.


  • Storage: Keeping biodiesel in storage might be difficult. Too hot of a temperature might cause mould to grow on biodiesel. Insufficiently cold temperatures may cause biodiesel to change to a similar gel texture.
  • Less fuel-efficient: On the larger part, biodiesel has significantly lower fuel efficiency than diesel. 

7. Hydrogen

While many people have reservations when it comes to using Hydrogen, it’s an excellent method that’s already being implemented on cars such as the Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai as some of the notable examples. The main idea and ability for using hydrogen in your car are directly tied to the hydrogen tank’s fuel cells and electric motor.

Immediately Oxygen and Hydrogen combine in the fuel cells; their chemical reaction works wonders on the electric motor, which helps move the vehicle’s wheels. Additionally, water is incorporated in this process, making your car release water vapour which is not harmful to the environment. 


  • Environmentally friendly: Hydrogen only produces water vapour, not any illegal or environmentally damaging emissions.  
  • Quick charge: In most cases, hydrogen cars can refill in under ten or as little as five minutes. This is significantly quicker than electric cars, making it more efficient for use. 
  • Quiet: Hydrogen-powered vehicles are efficient as they don’t release any noise while driving. You can almost compare them to eclectic cars, which are the epitome of this feature.


  • Limited vehicle selection: Choosing Hydrogen vehicles can be daunting as there is only a limited selection you can pick from. This makes diesel or electric cars more preferred as you can pick from their wider market. 
  • Difficult to charge: Recharging an Hydrogenn-powered vehicle can be a nightmare as limited gas stations support it. This can lead to your getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.

8. Compressed Air

Compressed Air is a unique fuel alternative that’s widely growing in popularity. This system mainly involves compressing air and letting it all in a storage tank to power a vehicle to replace fuel or diesel.  Ideally, the air often expands, which makes it start the engine through powerful mechanical power. They often use gas station compressors, making them more efficient and easier to power. 

However, you need to keep an eye on challenges related to this method. One of them is a limited energy storage system and intensive compression, which might cause a lot of damage to the automobile. Even though the Compressed Air method is still under consideration and development, it has the potential to be the best vehicle fueling powering method.  


  • Light: CAVs may have smaller engines and need fewer internal components than gasoline or diesel cars. Because the engine is propelled by air, lighter materials, like aluminium, may be used in its construction. A vehicle’s initial purchase price, road damage, and upkeep expenditures may decrease with less weight.
  • Environmentally friendly: Compressed air is a renewable source of powering your vehicle, making recycling more efficient than batteries. 
  • Quick to refill at service stations: Once you’re at an air-filling station, completing the task will only take a few minutes.


  • Energy waste: Running a compressed air car wastes energy and decreases efficiency.
  • Lack of power: It might not be convenient to use Compressed air cars over long distances or at high speeds.  

9. Ethanol

Currently, the UK has 5%(widely referred to as E5) of bioethanol incorporated in petrol which has a mixed reaction among users. However, there is an ongoing conversation about the need to launch E10, which will increase the level of bioethanol in petrol to 10%. This means that vehicles will be powered using this mixture without seeing the need to change any element.  

Except for a few motorsport cars, no vehicles are designed to operate entirely on ethanol. It is combined with gasoline for this reason. Pure ethanol may power cars; nevertheless, it isn’t sensible to burn in the winter. That means you must be extra cautious and evaluate this method before implementing it.  


  • Better for the planet: The logical next step for lowering carbon dioxide output is to blend more bioethanol into gasoline.
  • Accessibility: Securing E10 is easy as it is readily available in nationwide fuel stations, making it easy to access why you need it. 


  • Compatibility: Older car owners will be at a deficit since they won’t be able to use them with an excessive ethanol mix.
  • Reduced fuel economy: E10 is less productive than E5, which may matter if you often travel long distances. This is a massive consideration every user needs to make to avoid inconveniences. 

10. LPG

Liquefied Petroleum Gas is a great alternative for powering your car rather than using conventional fuel. It mainly consists of hydrocarbon gases such as butane and propane and is mainly used in its liquid presence. Ideally, it naturally replaces diesel or gasoline through Liquified Petroleum Gas powered engines or conversion kits.  

This helps the car to be powered by LPG, which does not have environmentally resistant emissions. Compared to traditional fuels, Liquefied Petroleum Gas burns cleaner, improving air quality and less environmental damage. It is also an accessible and inexpensive fuel option, making it desirable for anyone looking for a more sustainable and economical fuel alternative.


  • Cheap: Your operating expenses are reduced since Liquidified Petroleum Gas is often much less expensive than gasoline or diesel.
  • Greener fuel choice: Liquefied Petroleum Gas has more environmental advantages than gasoline and diesel; LPG-powered cars produce less nitrogen and carbon dioxide.


  • Lack of availability: Liquefied Petroleum Gas is hard to get since it is not a widely used alternative fuel for automobiles in the UK. Considering there is little demand, numerous stations don’t sell LPG.
  • Cost of car conversion: It would certainly cost you a minimum of £1000 to convert your car to run on LPG, which is a substantial upfront expense.

What Effect Does the Octane Level Have On My Vehicle?


An engine’s main function is to burn fuel under controlled conditions once the fuel has been completely consumed, a flame that starts at the spark plug travels throughout the cylinder. 

Spontaneous combustion, sometimes called auto-ignition, explosion, or knock, is the opposite and happens when unburned fuel ignites due to primary combustion’s increasing temperature and pressure—unregulated ignition increases cylinder strain, which results in the knock.

The battle between intended and unintended combustion results in an uneven distribution of the electrical energy via the burning fuel, which can harm the engine’s piston and put it under a lot of loads prior to the power stroke (the portion of the cycle where the piston’s motion produces power).

Before the general availability of electric electronic ignition systems, there was a lot of engine banging, which might seriously harm the engine. The majority of modern engines now include sensors that can detect knocking. 

While the machine notices this, it postpones the ignition, allowing regulated combustion when tension is not at its highest. Although the knock is removed, the engine can run less effectively.

Another notable and scary aspect about this is that it can go into pre-ignition, which means it starts itself without before the actual spark. Sophisticated engine computers manage the fuel pump and valve timing to minimise this issue; however, this control system may lower fuel economy or increase emissions. 

Which Type of Gas Should You Choose for Your Car?


Myth busters: Based on reports by Consumer Reports, regular gas is the most popular option. Besides that, it also ranks higher as its most-recommended choice by auto organisations, giving it an edge over other choices.  

Even while it might not offer the same degree of efficiency as gasoline with a higher octane rating, it aids in the smooth operation of your automobile. If you’re operating on a  tight budget, you must know that normal gas is the least expensive choice.

Some manufacturers advise using mid-grade gasoline in some cars since they were designed to do so. Producers advise using mid-grade gas for two 2022 car brands and models: the 3.2-litre V6 Jeep Cherokee and the 5.7-litre V8 Chrysler 300.

Normal gas operates worse than mid-grade gas, which does not perform in conjunction with premium gas. Regarding high-efficiency engines or turbocharged vehicles, premium gas is often ideal and is generally advised by the automaker. 

The greatest performance is provided by premium gas, which also helps with fuel economy. If your automobile doesn’t need it, you should save on premium petrol since it could be pricey.

The suggested kind of gas for your vehicle may be found in the handbook for your automobile. You may also look behind your gasoline door. Ask your technician or a knowledgeable gas station employee if you need help locating this information.

Can You Swap the Fuel You’re Using?

You may use other fuels if you believe they would be more effective or have a higher fuel efficiency, but this truly depends on your automobile. The manufacturer-recommended gasoline must always be used; there is one caveat to this rule. 

This implies that, unless a prankster ripped or clawed it off, there needs to be writing on the interior of your gasoline cap telling you the minimal octane value you are allowed to use in your vehicle. 

It is not advised to utilise unleaded 91 if, for instance, your automobile specifies premium 95 since doing so may result in engine banging and failure. Of course, this isn’t a given, but with time, you’ll undoubtedly notice a decrease in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency.

Even though many contemporary automobiles are designed to run safely on a range of fuels, manufacturers often state upfront that poorer quality fuels will probably result in reduced performance and efficiency. Although using a higher grade of gasoline won’t harm your engine, it will cost your wallet. The key issue is whether doing so would benefit you or lead to inconvenience.

Which Petrol Should You Use?


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The numbers 91, 95, and 98 are crucial when discussing the various gasoline kinds. The ‘octane rating measures how efficiently the fuel prevents overheating within the automobile’s engine.

Standard gasoline is rated at 91, whereas premium unleaded is rated at 95 and 98. Additionally, you’ll realise that two ethanol fuels are more ecologically beneficial options, like the E10 and E85. However, your choice should be informed by your preference, experience or the manufacturer’s choice, which should be highly regarded.  

To help you understand these kinds of petrol, here is a breakdown of how what you’ll pay to get them and what they stand for or can be used for: 

Petrol TypeWhat it meansAvg. cost ($)/L
Standard unleaded (91)They are used widely around the world but are similar to premium types.  $1.53
Premium 95-octane unleaded
While they are fuel efficient, they also make the engine work better.  
Premium 98-octane unleadedUnleaded petrol with the highest octane rating enhances engine efficiency and fewer emissions.$1.60
E10Fuel with 90% unleaded and 10% ethanol gasoline is less fuel-efficient than regular unleaded.$1.54
E8515% conventional gasoline and 85% ethanol, strong yet with less of an environmental effect.

Can You Save Money With Different Fuel Types?

Determining how much you save by utilising various fuels may be challenging. The purpose of gasoline is to maximise the effectiveness and power of various automobile models; it is not intended to save the user cash. 

E10 could be less expensive, but putting it in a vehicle designed to run on unleaded-91 might reduce fuel efficiency, erasing initial cost reductions. Therefore, even if you spent $5 or $10 cheaper at the gas station, you may need more fuel and return there earlier.

However, it’s always important to note that there are numerous gasoline-saving hacks and tricks, like adding fuel when the temperature is cold; you might not see a significant change in your fuel cost even though some work.  

Nevertheless, you may test-drive different fuels to determine how many extra kilometres you can cover or how long it takes before you turn around.

According to the common rule of thumb, there is a 1% to 4% difference between 91 and 95-octane unleaded gasoline in fuel economy. Switching is worthwhile if the price variance between the two options is less.

Nonetheless, if you don’t see much change but you’re still determined to cut down on fuel funds, here are a few hacks you can implement: 

  • If you’re in a long line of traffic, turn off the combustion engine or get a vehicle with an automatic engine shutdown.
  • Be sure to drive gently and at a constant pace.
  • During lengthy travels, use cruise control.
  • Maintain adequate tire inflation. 
  • Remove unnecessary weight by keeping heavy items out of the boot until necessary.
  • Driving less is, of obviously, the greatest method to save gasoline (and perhaps the environment as well). When you can, go by foot, bike, or public transportation; when you do this, you may lessen your influence on the ecosystem.

Can I Put a Higher Octane Fuel in My Car?


Using a higher-octane gasoline won’t harm your car’s engine. For instance, using 95 or 98 in an engine built for 91 is not that, but even it shouldn’t be your first go-to choice when you can get the right fuel. 

However, stay within the manufacturer’s minimum octane recommendation while using gasoline. Using 91 in an engine built for 95 or 98 may be detrimental.

High-octane gasoline, also referred to as premium or supreme, seems to be far superior to conventional gasoline.

Fuel merchants claim that it increases engine effectiveness and general performance. While they don’t intentionally lie, retailers may exaggerate the advantages. If you operate nearly all engines on gasoline with an octane rating greater than the minimum advised, they will adjust only a little. 

However, in actual use, the enhancement is minimal, and the greater octane gasoline’s greater cost always outweighs its financial advantages. In a nutshell, even if it could perform better, running 98 in a motor designed for 91 is not a financially sensible decision. 

The little improvement in fuel efficiency needs to be improved to offset the additional expense. The gasoline’s premium price does not equate to higher-grade fuel since all gasoline marketed in New Zealand must meet rigorous quality standards.