Wednesday, June 17, 2009


If you read the news, the goverment will stop subsidizing RON 97 fuel and instead is introducing RON 95 fuel. I bet most of you have no idea what RON is, and most of you drivers out there, don't even read the driver's manual.

The most common type of octane rating worldwide is the Research Octane Number (RON). RON is determined by running the fuel in a test engine with a variable compression ratio under controlled conditions, and comparing the results with those for mixtures of iso-octane and n-heptane.The octane rating is a measure of the resistance of gasoline and other fuels to detonation (engine knocking) in spark-ignition internal combustion engines. High-performance engines typically have higher compression ratios and are therefore more prone to detonation, so they require higher octane fuel. A lower-performance engine will not generally perform better with high-octane fuel, since the compression ratio is fixed by the engine design. Okay these I stole from wiki.

To put it simply, if the engine has a high compression ratio, which is common for high performance cars, it will need a high RON fuel so that it won't explode in pieces. If the car has low compression ratio, which means common for normal cars, it will only uses low RON fuel. However most modern high performance cars has sensors to detect the RON of fuel you can use, so it will adjust the engine so that it won't explode into pieces. However it all depends how the manufacturers design their engine. Most Japanese car in Japan run on RON 95, European cars are tuned to run on RON97/98 but most cars in the US happily run on RON 87.

In Malaysia, the petrol operator will ask "minyak baru or minyak lama" which is actually RON 92 or RON 97. Nothing wrong with the RON 92 except its much cheaper due to lower octane rating, its not old, its made as the same time as RON 97. The exception of Petronas who only sells RON 97. I guess they would change after this by offering a RON 95.

This is a list I stole at Motortrader. It shows almost all of the vehicles in Malaysia and the fuels that we can use. Surprisingly all of Honda Model's in Malaysia that is bought at Honda, can run on RON 92 fuel, even Mercedes Benz C,E, and S class are able to run on RON 92 too. Proton car's however needs to use at least RON 95 fuel, which includes all of its car's in its stable. All of Perodua cars with the exception of Nautica, since its not listed can use RON 92 fuel. I checked in my manual, my Viva can run as low as RON 90. Imagine the amount of money you saved by using RON 92 instead of RON 97. Caltex and BHP are the petrol station that claims all of its fuel is the same quality and the same amount of detergent or additives. Shell and Mobil/Esso however advertised their RON 97 as being higher quality, and more fuel saving than their RON 92. If you are not picky with the Brand of petrol you use, might as well use a fuel that matches the minimum of your engine requirements. Using higher octane fuel will not make a difference if your car requires only RON 92 0r RON 95. However older cars may need to use a higher RON to prevent the engine from knocking itself to pieces

In conclusion, open lah your car manual and look at the back or at the index to find out the minimum requirement of your car. Heck you might find things about your car that you did not it can do, like the decondensation button to clear up your front windshield or the heating element on the rear windows to clear the rear window from condensation.

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