How to pump petrol in Singapore like a true-blue petrolhead

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It is understood that choosing the right kind of petrol for your vehicle is crucial. While inexperienced drivers might base their decision on petrol costs alone, one must consider the car's fuel efficiency, performance, and vehicle requirements.

Types of petrol in Singapore

In Singapore, there are three distinct types of fuel aside from diesel - 92-Octane, 95-Octane, and 98-Octane.

The numbers correspond to the octane ratings of the petrol, which indicates the fuel's stability in general.

A higher-octane rating would suggest that the fuel is more stable. This stability refers to the fuel's resistance to pre-ignition, with higher stability indicating a lesser likelihood of pre-ignition.

What is pre-ignition?

In normal combustion, the flame front originates at the spark plug and travels outward evenly and steadily throughout the combustion chamber. Theoretically, perfect combustion burns up all the air and fuel in the cylinder, leaving nothing behind. The heat is then transferred from the flame front to the piston, the piston to the cylinder wall, and the coolant system.

On the other hand, pre-ignition occurs when something, such as burning carbon embers, glowing hot or melted spark plus or exhaust valves, ignites the air/fuel mixture in the engine during the compression stroke, resulting in engine failure, melting of spark plugs and melted holes in pistons.

The occurrence of pre-ignition makes a loud knocking noise, which can damage the car's engine pistons and cylinder walls which are crucial to the vehicle and are costly to fix or replace.

What type of petrol should you use?

While pumping higher petrol grades is not typically an issue, it is only used for high-performance engines.

While 98-octane and other premium grades of petrol like V-power, Synergy Supreme+ or equivalent may be the best in the market, it might not equate to the 'best performance' for your car.

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A high-performance car is built for speed and can hit the century sprint in less than 10-seconds. To achieve this result, the engine uses extremely high temperature and pressure. 98-Octane (or higher) petrol can withstand such conditions to allow the engine to extract the maximum amount of power from the fuel.

Therefore, pumping the best petrol does not give your car more power as power is dependent on the engine. It would be a complete waste of money if you pump grade octane in your car when it only requires 95-Octane to run smoothly.

Petrol prices in Singapore

Even though different petrol companies set different prices for their fuel, tracking the costs of various fuel grades isn't that difficult with our live petrol cost tracker!

While $0.40 difference might not look like a lot, one should consider how this would factor into a car's annual running costs.

According to research conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the average mileage of a privately owned car in Singapore is about 17,500km/year.

Let's use a Toyota Altis as an example here.

An Altis gets a fuel consumption (FC) of about 15.4km per litre (on average). Using this information, we can get the average annual petrol cost based on all three fuel grades.

See the difference now? Multiply that by 10 years.

What about petrol credit cards?

There are many different petrol credit cards pegged to different petrol stations in Singapore. Finding out which one is the best can sometimes be a headache. Most drivers tend to stick to one company out of loyalty and convenience.

As such, local banks offer credit cards tied with discounts for petrol so that customers can aggregate their spending on one card instead of carrying multiple cards.

Depending on the type of credit card, drivers can enjoy a discount from 14 per cent to 23 per cent at a selected petrol company's station. Additionally, they would be able to enjoy the usual cashback and discounts that the card offers on other categories.

This article was first published sgCarMart.