High-octane fuel largely a waste of time

I hope you all don't mind the cross-post, but..
...For those who still doubt it, using fuel of greater octane than officially recommended is largely a waste of time/money:
http://driving.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22750-2156181,00.html
Note in particular the Porsche comment!
DAS
Chasing dreams at £11 a gallon Will BP's expensive superfuel really make your car go faster? Jonathan Milne of The Sunday Times investigates
Petrol prices may be at their highest level ever, but BP is gambling that a niche group of drivers will still be willing to pay more than twice as much. The oil company has launched the highest octane fuel available on forecourts in Britain, aimed at drivers of high-performance cars. It costs £2.42 a litre - £11 a gallon.
Ultimate 102 has an octane rating of 102 RON, compared with 95 RON for standard unleaded petrol and 99 RON for the highest-rated super-unleaded. It is similar to the old five star petrol sold in the 1970s which cost only a few pence more than regular fuel.
BP's target is the growing number of owners of top-end sports cars who want a little more power and performance from their tuned engines, especially on track days. The company claims it can add as much as 37bhp to a turbocharged vehicle.
The fuel, which is "crystal clear" rather than the yellowish colour of regular petrol, is so exclusive it is "hand made" in small batches using the sort of expertise employed by Formula One race teams, says BP.
But is anyone really going to spend £100 on one tank of petrol? Ultimate 102 went on sale on six forecourts in southeast England last Monday. The Sunday Times monitored two stations for 48 hours last week and witnessed only one purchase. Calls to the other garages revealed just five confirmed sales (three refused to comment). BP says all six stations have made at least one sale. Pressed on exactly what quantity had been sold, a spokesman said the response had been " overwhelming".
Overwhelmingly bad, perhaps. Even BP's own station managers were sceptical. Ade Layokun at the Tudor filling station on the A20 in Maidstone said: "Even for the high-end road user it's too expensive. People pick up the pump then quickly drop it."
At the Newbury Centre filling station in Ilford, Essex, drivers were required to push a large orange button on the pump to signal their acceptance of the price. When one elderly lady inserted the nozzle of the superpetrol in her Fiat Punto the cashier warned her over the intercom and she beat a retreat.
The other buyers according to staff were the driver of a Subaru Impreza and a customer who filled a 5 litre can. The only purchase witnessed by The Sunday Times was at the Canning Town station, east London, by Jermain Shillingford, a 24-year-old courier. He put £15 worth into his Renault Clio Williams. That bought him 6.2 litres.
Shillingford said he had spent £7,000 souping up his 13-year-old car with gold hubcaps, a stainless steel manifold and a straight-through exhaust. He planned to begin racing his car and hoped the fuel might give him an edge.
"I thought I'd give this a try. I know turbo cars will get more performance out of it. This is a normally aspirated engine - it might gain a little bit, might be a little more responsive. I won't be buying it all the time, though."
The biggest customers for the new petrol were Kent police who made two purchases last week, filling up their Volvo patrol cars using the taxpayer funded police fuel account at the Tudor filling station.
After being contacted by The Sunday Times, Kent police warned staff against using the fuel again, saying it was an "error". Jon Parker, a spokesman, said 95 or 97 octane petrol was adequate for the police force's vehicles.
BP claims to have extensively tested the new petrol on a range of high performance cars, including a Porsche.
Andrew Davis of Porsche says the fuel will not increase power in a Porsche, though it may fractionally reduce fuel consumption and burn more cleanly. "Our engines have a maximum power output. If you put different fuel in, the engine management system won't allow the engine to produce more power. All our cars will run on standard 95 RON unleaded, although we advise 98 RON for some of the turbocharged cars."
Chris Walsh, technical manager of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, says the fuel would be of little benefit to most motorists. He said he would be surprised if there were a perceptible improvement in the performance of Shillingford's Clio Williams.
"Clearly fuel price is a sensitive issue, but some people have got quite a lot of money to spend. I can see that if people were going to a track day they might use it to get half a second off a lap."
BP, which last week unveiled profits of £2.95 billion for the first three months of 2006, stands by its expensive new product. "Performance benefits should be noticeable immediately for those with performance cars," says Nicola Beckett, UK marketing manager for BP Ultimate.
She says trials have shown improved performance on cars including the Mitsubishi Evo, Ford Focus ST and Subaru Impreza, once they were tuned for the fuel. "For someone who does have a car which they've spent a lot of time and money on, we think they will pay the price. This isn't aimed at the average driver - the price to them will seem astronomical."
The fuel will be available from nine sites this year. BP will then assess whether there is a wider demand.
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Putting it in a car that isn't tuned for it is indeed a waste of time and money.
But, its availability may allow one to tune a motor just a little bit farther into that red zone without incurring detonation. The quote above "once they were tuned for the fuel" is the truth. The guy with the Renault is clueless, he will not "gain a little bit". The turbo guys might be able to dial in a bit more boost or change their ignition timing to make use of it though if they're sufficiently advanced. Joe Porsche owner will indeed gain nothing because the engine is made and tuned for a lower grade of fuel than that.
-Russ.
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Many cars these days do run fine with regular but some run a bit better with mid range or high grade according to manufacturers. Since at these high fuel prices the difference between grades is still only a dime, it is probably worthwhile testing your car to see if it does make economic sense to put a higher grade in your car. My mileage is up ten percent on a new Odyssey with mid grade so for a dime per gallon more it is worth it. I've compared on several tankfuls and the difference appears real.

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wrote:

The 3.3L engine uses 87 octane.

higher octane.
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On Sun, 30 Apr 2006 23:46:12 +0100, "Dori A Schmetterling"

In my neck of the woods here in the YooEssA - near Philadelphia - there has been for a few years one or two gas stations with a pump off to the side selling 120 octane gas/petrol. I haven't checked their prices recently, but when regular gas was ~$2/gallon, the 120 was $5.
The octane calculation here is (RON+MON)/2.
But of course, without the motor that's capable of using it, it's pretty pointless. Sexy, but pointless nonetheless.
--
Dan.

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The higher octane burns slower, too slow leaves deposits.
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Spam Hater wrote:

Baloney
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-Fred W

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Several years ago at least one car manufacturer warned against excessively high octane fuel being used.
Just one of many such notes: http://www.angelfire.com/ia2/vmax/fuelnotes.htm

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Can you give some more information so I can research this? Because I'd agree with Fred - it's baloney if using road fuel. The difference would be some aviation fuel which still contains lead.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Spam Hater wrote:

First off, I already know quite a bit about octane rating and it's effect on the burn rates of fuel. I looked at your linked web source (even with it's annoying pop-up crap) and I don't see any real evidence that supports the claims there (from who knows who?) that a slower burning fuel (aka higher octane) will cause engine deposits. Logic dictates that the unburnt fuel will be discharged out the exhaust and may put an excessive load on the catalytic convector, but since the combustion completes outside of the combustion chamber the deposits should actually be less.
I am not saying that buying excessively high grade of fuel is a good thing, just that the reasons not to has nothing to do with deposits.
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Sorry, missed that link.
However it appears to be simply opinion and not backed up by any real scientific testing.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Yes. The thrust of the article is the pointlessness of using an octane rating higher than recommended. (FYI standard euro 95 is equivalent to approx 91 US.)
DAS
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"Dean Dark" < snipped-for-privacy@comcast.notthis.net> wrote in message
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Dori A Schmetterling wrote:

If you read and believe the owner's manual for the E320, you can use regular IF you don't rev beyond 4,000?. For me, a non stop light grand prix racer, that limit is OK.
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Egad, if I didn't use the remaining 3500rpm of my car, I'd give up driving BMWs...
-Russ.
(stoplight drags are for kids)
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For those of you (in the US) that are members of BMWCCA, Mike Miller had things to say about this subject in techtalk in this month's magazine: "use premium if the manual calls for it."
FloydR
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