Which petrol to use / Normal unleaded vs Premium or power or speed petrol

Petrol prices are in ever increasing graph. In last 5 years they have went up from Rs. 42/45 mark to Rs. 65 mark. On top, the market research and analysts report of more increment in these numbers.

From yeah 2000 since when Government of India made it mandatory for oil PSU to sell only unleaded petrol, we have 3 category of petrol sold in India.

  • Normal (unleaded)
  • Premium petrol (Power -> HP / Speed -> BP / Extra Premium -> IOC)
  • High octane petrol (Speed octane 97 -> BP)

The difference of octane number between normal and these premium is really low, 91 or 93 compare to octane 89 for normal. However usually these premium petrol’s are around Rs. 5 extra per litter compare to the normal version.

So the big question comes in to all our mind is, which petrol (normal or premium) to use ? Will there be any benefit using premium or will there be any lose if using normal petrol ?

If we look at our current domestic market, we would find myths are more popular compare to the actual facts. Around the world, government and individual studies show, matter of fact most of our bikes and cars do not benefit from using Premium petrol. (Google for more information and links for such studies)

Only very very few super bikes and cars, like Hyabusa / Yamaha R1 or a Ducati 1198 would have an engine built for such high-grade petrol. Normal bikes which we use in Indian market be it Fi (fuel injected) or curb (carburetor), such as,

  • Yamaha YZF R15 / FZ-16 / FZ-S / Fazer
  • Hero Honda ZMR / Karizma (ZMA) / Hunk / CBZ
  • TVS Apache RTR 16 / 180
  • Bajaj Pulsar 150 / 180 / 200 / 220 DTSi / 220 DTS-Fi / Avenger 220 DTSi
  • Or any lower cc commuter models

has no benefit in mileage / power or engine protection using premium over normal. Simply the engines are not meant to use the extra octane.

So therefore,

ANS 1 -> Sorry, spending the extra buck for premium petrol wont give any extra benefit what’s so ever. On top, in certain extreme and unlucky condition and premium petrol may actually case problem or damage to theΒ  normal bikes !!

How can IOC extra premium / HP Power / BP Speed may cause damage to normal bikes ?

Most of the normal air cooled bikes like Hunk or Pulsar 180 have an air-cooled engine right on bellow the petrol tank, where as in case of R15 or ZMR, the engine is cover with fearing and sits enclosed and right below the petrol tank.

Most of the time, these extra premium petrol sold in India comes mixed with synthetic additives.

In certain extreme condition like when all these comes together,

  • A lot of riding in 40(deg)C plus heat in a busy metro or big city day riding with higher RPMs. Like from 10AM to 2PM in scorching heat where you run at low gear but higher RPM. Engine doesn’t get much air to cool down and heats up extensively. This engine heat rises up towards the petrol tank and thus warming it up.

  • The petrol tank is having low amount of fuel.

Due to extreme heat in petrol tank, the bond of these additives and petrol gets loosen up. Additives are heavier than petrol and when they are detached from petrol in liquid form, they subside. If your fuel level is low and bike is in reserve, it is possible that the petrol suction nostril suck-in the heavier additives rather than petrol and when engine try to burn the fuel, it actually ends up burning the additives instead of fuel.

This is very harmful for valves and piston rings. Similar to what would happen when burning poor quality petrol.

This said action is rare but when all these above mentioned factors comes together, it may create this situation for your machine.

Which petrol to use then ?

Unless you own a R1 or such bike which has an engine developed and meant to utilize the high-octane petrol, it is wastage of money for using premium petrol. Matter of fact, in some cases, it is possible that the bike’s engine may have harmful effect while using these additives mixed premium.

This article is application / valid for the all Indian bikes, like below,

  • Hero Honda Karizma (ZMA) / ZMR / Hunk / CBZ eXtreme
  • Bajaj Pulsar P150 / P180 / P200 / P220 DTS-i and DTS-Fi
  • Bajaj Avenger 220 DTS-i
  • TVS RTR Apache 180 / 160
  • Yamaha FZ-16 / Fazer / FZ-S / YZF R15

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