Petrol

Expert advice: is cheap supermarket fuel bad for my car’s engine?

cheap supermarket fuel
All major supermarkets such as Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons now sell fuel, frequently much cheaper than the big fuel brands (Picture iStock/jax10289)

We get a lot of queries from car owners about fuel quality. But the one that keeps on coming back is whether cheap supermarket fuel is as good as big-brand petrol and diesel. It’s an important question because there can be a significant difference in what it costs to fill up at a supermarket compared with at a fuel brand’s station.

We all want to save money where we can. Whether that’s with petrol or diesel that costs less, or apparently more expensive fuel that’s cheaper because it improves economy. But most importantly, we don’t want to do our cars any damage, so how good is supermarket fuel?

Cheap and cheerful?

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Expert advice: Running out of fuel – all you need to know

Running out of fuel

Running out of fuel at the roadside is a bad idea for many reasons. For a start it can put you in unnecessary danger, stranded beside speeding vehicles. And depending on the kind of car you drive and its age, it could cause mechanical complications when you do get fuel.

But that doesn’t stop hundreds of thousands running out of fuel every year. I read a survey a little while ago which said that 70,000 drivers a month run dry on the road. The problem seems to be that owners overestimate how far their car can travel when its tank is nearly empty. Here’s what you need to know.

How do you know your car is running dry?

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Diesel and petrol car ban: what does it mean for Britain’s drivers?

Diesel and petrol car ban what does it mean for Britain's drivers?

The government’s announcement that diesel and petrol cars will be banned in Britain from 2040, as a way of tackling air pollution, has led to widespread confusion amongst drivers.

Common concerns include the impact on residual values of used diesel and petrol cars; the relatively high cost of new electric cars; whether hybrid cars will still be available; and how the industry and infrastructure will cope.

We try to tackle these concerns, and more, based on the limited information currently available.

Why ban petrol and diesel cars?

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Petrol v diesel v hybrid v electric: which is the best and cheapest to own?

Petrol v diesel v hybrid v electric

The plug-in Golf GTE looks great but how does it stack up against its more conventional petrol and diesel siblings? (Picture © Volkswagen)

The debate over which is the best fuel is becoming an increasingly hot topic among car buyers. Petrol v diesel v hybrid v electric: which really is the best type of car to own? To try to find the answer, we’ve taken Volkswagen’s perennially popular Golf, the only model available in the UK that uses all four kinds of power source, and crunched the numbers.

We’ve split our report into four sections. This enables us to look at how the different versions of the Golf compare to each other in key areas of price, performance, economy, and running costs. The cars are ranked by our favoured criteria in each chart with the model at the top the best. It’s a fascinating read.

Buying

Model Fuel Price Per month
Golf 1.0 TSI BlueMotion Petrol £20,765 £205
Golf 1.6 TDI BlueMotion Diesel £22,360 £302
e-Golf Electric £27,180 £345
Golf GTE Petrol/electric £31,055 £493

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Choosing the best car: top 10 diesel and petrol cars with low NOx output

Nitrogen oxide emissions

It’s not easy being a driver who wants to do their bit and buy a car with the lowest nitrogen oxide emissions. These NOx are harmful pollutants emitted by cars that are estimated to contribute to over 30,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Information about a car’s NOx levels has been hard to come by as, for obvious reasons, vehicle manufacturers tend to advertise cars’ fuel economy or performance rather than the nasty particulates pumped out of exhausts.

But now a new website allows drivers to see just how polluting Britain’s most popular makes and model of car are when used in normal, everyday driving conditions.

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Should I fill my car with premium fuel?

Should you fill your car with premium fuel?

It’s a familiar scenario. You drive onto a petrol station forecourt and pull up alongside the pumps. Staring back at you is a range of multi-coloured nozzles labelled with an equally confusing array of names: Fuel Save, V-Power Nitro+, Synergy, Synergy Supreme+, Regular Fuels, Ultimate, Momentum. The list goes on, with all retailers offering standard and premium fuels. The question is: should drivers fill their car with premium fuel?

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