Supermarket fuel Vs the branded fuel, What’s the difference?

16 April 2014 | Bruce Compton

This is a subject that has been discussed on a regular basis throughout motoring forums, whether you get inferior fuel from a supermarket garage compared to the likes of a Shell, BP or Esso petrol stations.

All fuels that are sold in the UK, Petrol or Diesel, will conform to the relevant British Standards. What this means to the general user is that they should all work generally the same way and using the same fuel type from any garage should not cause any issues with your vehicle.Supermarket Vs branded fuels

All petrol stations use a standard ‘base’ fuel which is supplied from the same refineries across the UK no matter what petrol pump it will end up being pumped from into your tank. The only difference is, the various additives that the different companies add to their fuel before it ends up in your tank. Baring this in mind, it could be the possible reason why some drivers report that their car runs better on some garage fuels over others.

So are Supermarket fuels poorer quality?

The simple answer is in general NO, the fuel all (as mentioned in the above paragraph) comes from the same refineries. BUT the different fuel outlets whether it be a branded filling station or a supermarket filling station, will define a minimum performance level required from the fuel, which results in different levels & types of additives added to the ‘base’ fuel. These additives can affect the MPG and general running of the vehicle that some drivers may experience more extremely than others, in some cases you may not even notice any difference at all.


Depending on what type of vehicle you are driving, whether it’s been tuned or has a standard map, you may notice differences between using different filling stations, even between the branded ones. BUT the fuel is all from the same refineries which all meets the Britsh Standards, so you can use any to fill up your vehicle with petrol or diesel, knowing it’s all of the same ‘base’ fuel.

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