Tesco's 99 Wins Fuel Shootout

a while back i was browsing the pistonheads and came across this article published on Thursday 31 August 2006.


Those of us that are lucky enough to have a Tesco near them that sells 99 ron could try it for themselves and perhaps give us some feedback.

There are some interesting comments at the end, one stating that as you can tune for car to suit any given fuel (F1 style I guess), for some people the T99 will pay dividends. where as new cars can effectively 'remap' themselves according to fuel octane WOW

taken from the test;

This apparent gain in power is due to the ECU of the car’s ability to advance the ignition timing to take advantage of the extra power the higher octane offers. Looking at the air/fuel ratio on the charts does show that the higher octane fuel allows a more efficient burn creating more power.

The chart shows the car’s ECU when running on 95 Octane fuel enriches the fuel mixture (adds fuel) to compensate for the less efficient burn and to avoid early detonation. This extra fuel robs power as the air/fuel mix is less efficient. By changing this fuel to a higher octane the car is able to advance the ignition (essentially using less fuel at higher rpm’s) to create more power.

My SR20DE runs perfect with Tesco 99 RON, when in put V-Power in it it guzzles it and hadrly get any miles out of it, The old Shell Optimax was much better
^ strange, in my SR20DE i now always use V-Power.

i always see 200miles from 30 litres (combined), bang on. i think thats about right.

someone please do the math.


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I don't rate the Tesco 99ron at all, same goes for all Tesco petrol, different people have different opinions cause plenty threads on this but I get more miles from Vpower and smoother etc than any Tesco stuff
I've always found Tesco fuel to be spot on round here....the only place i've had problems with is Asda fuel. My last car and my Mera both run pretty poor on their fuel.

I suppose it's different for other areas though for quality etc etc
So, er, yeah, I read this thread a few months ago and decided to try the 99 stuff - but always backed out at the last minute what with stupid prices. But having been sent this t'other day am pleased I didn't bother. To be fair, they're hardly performance cars they tested like, but it makes you wonder...

Not so super fuel

Fuel companies make bold claims for ‘super fuels’, but Which? Car today reveals that they don’t save you money, improve your car’s performance, or save the environment.

Super fuels are more expensive at the pumps but advertisers often claim they can optimise a car’s economy and increase power. But Which? Car tested three super fuels (Shell V-Power, Tesco Super Unleaded and BP Ultimate Diesel) against standard fuels, and found little justification for using them. *

> Shell V-Power gave a Ford Focus 1.6** a marginal power increase. However, filling the car on this petrol for 12,000 miles will cost £115 more than using Shell’s standard petrol. Tesco Super Unleaded actually decreased the power of the Focus.
> The VW Golf’s hi-tech 1.4 TSI engine responded well to Shell V-Power, but there was little to choose between super fuels and ordinary petrol on economy and emissions.
> The economy and performance of the Renault Megane 1.5 diesel were both slightly worse using BP Ultimate diesel, the super fuel furthest from the marketing claims in the test.

Each super fuel had only a marginal effect on the emissions of measured pollutants***, seemingly putting paid to environmental claims. To cut a car’s emissions, it’s better to drive less and more economically, rather than switch fuels. Which? has produced a checklist (see overleaf) to save money on fuel.

There may be benefits to using super fuels in the long-term as they include detergents to improve engine longevity. However, Which? thinks any break-even point in terms of reduced repair bills could take many years to reach.

Richard Headland, Editor, Which? Car, says:

“For many cars it’s a waste of money paying over the odds for so-called ‘super fuels’. The standard fuels we tested were all up to the job, whether from a major fuel brand or a supermarket. There’s no conclusive evidence to show that super fuels are better for your car in the long run - so in a time of high oil prices, why would you choose to pay more?”

- Ends –

Notes to editors

* Which? used five commonly available unleaded fuels on the petrol cars (see below): Esso Unleaded 95 Ron, Shell Unleaded 95 Ron, Shell V-Power Unleaded 99 Ron (‘super fuel’), Tesco Unleaded 95 Ron and Tesco Super Unleaded 99 Ron (‘super fuel’). The diesel car (see below) was run on: BP Ultra-Low Sulphur Diesel and BP Ultimate Diesel (‘super fuel’). (The Research Octane Number (Ron) is a measure of how efficiently an engine can burn fuel). Each of the seven fuels was bought from four different locations to ensure results weren’t skewed by an abnormal batch of fuel.

** The Ford Focus 1.6 petrol (98bhp) was chosen as it uses a normally-aspirated (non-turbo) engine – typical of many mainstream petrol-powered cars. Most car owners can expect similar results, apart form those who drive a ‘sporty’ petrol car. The VW Golf 1.4 TSI (168bhp) was selected for its sophisticated (turbo- and supercharged) 1.4 petrol engine – potentially more fuel-sensitive than that in the Ford Focus. The turbocharged diesel engine in the Renault Megane 1.5 (86bhp) is found in many current Renault and Nissan vehicles.

*** For the petrol cars, Tesco Super Unleaded tended to produce marginally less carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC), although Shell V-Power didn’t. However, V-Power did emit slightly less nitrogen oxides (NOx) in both the Ford Focus and the VW Golf. BP Ultimate produced less CO and HC, but more NOx. Which? also logged carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and particulate matter, but differences between fuels were marginal.
I always thought that the ECU could advance the timing because there was less instance of premature detonation with higher RON fuel, not because it was more 'powereful'? Wrong?

I used to believe the hype but now pretty much just buy the best on offer wherever I am when I need to fill up and bang a bottle of injector cleaner in every 5000 miles or so. Buttacellerometer can't tell any difference.
I'll be using octane booster at Shakeys on sunday to bring my fuel up from 95, found it's more responsive on 99 than 95.
All i know is my exhaust pops and bangs on 99 but not as much on 95

Thats just hilarious^^^ .i get more mpg on tesco's 99 than any standard 95ron. this i have tried and tested on several occasions. however i only get 300 miles to the tank. im thinking i should stop putting my right foot down at all time.lol
Best performance and MPG I had using BP Ultimate 97. Much better than V-Power and Tesco's 99. All 95's seem similar.

Next on trying list is ESSO 97.
V-power every day for the last 12 months. not neccessarily quicker but a lot smoother...

Although I don't use it all the time, I'd agree with you that the engine feels smoother on V-power. I'm pretty sure it helps with response and a small torque increase too.
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