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Top Gear Philippines


Hello! Is it recommended to use a more expensive type of diesel for SUVs rather than the plain variants? For example, Shell’s V-Power over the ordinary diesel. Thanks!

Patrick James Co

Hi Patrick,

Generally speaking, premium automotive fuels do perform better in terms of power, engine smoothness, and fuel economy—if driven in a manner which favors fuel economy over rapid acceleration. This may mean driving more sedately and avoiding rapid acceleration and deceleration—things that aren't easy to do in the traffic-congested environment of Metro Manila.

Premium fuels do this through the use of additive packages to the base fuel, which enhance the combustion characteristics to achieve the desired outcome. For diesels, the additives would also include chemicals that increase their cetane rating for better performance. It may also have lubricity improvers to prolong the injection pump's life better than the standard diesel fuel. This is particularly important for the fuel injection system components of the modern engine.

Bear in mind, however, that any fuel sold be it diesel or gasoline has to pass certain standards for it to be sold commercially.

I don't recall if the cheaper diesel fuel is also a low-sulfur content fuel or not (you may want to check with the fuel brands you're considering), but in order for most modern SUVs to comply with emission standards they would have to be using the low-sulfur fuel they are designed for. That's probably going to be your biggest determining factor on whether you will want to use regular or premium diesel.

Here's another way of looking at it: You've already spent the extra money getting a premium SUV, why scrimp on the operational costs? Doing so may mean poorer driving characteristics or an unwanted repair bill due to using inappropriate fuel.

I would try what's available on the market and stick with the fuel that works best for my engine.

Thanks for writing in.

Ferman Lao

Technical editor

Ferman Lao
Technical Editor
Wearing the hats of a race car driver, driving instructor, grease monkey, tuner, dyno operator, auto shop owner, motoring journalist and CAGI president at one time or another, or all at once, deep down he's just another guy who loves cars.
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