Misconception that higher RON number means better performance and fuel economy: Specialist
KUALA LUMPUR: Before Sept 1, 2009 Izzat Amir only looked at the petrol price displayed at the pump while filling up his tank.
However, since petrol was reclassified into RON95 and RON97 his eyes started focusing on the RON number instead, albeit in bewilderment.
While motorists have every reason to smile as the RON95 sold at RM1.80 per litre provides huge savings compared with the RON97 sold at RM2.05 per litre, Izzat was disappointed with the new fuel.
After using the RON95 petrol, he found his 2003 Proton Waja’s performance was not as good as before and the engine was noisy.
On the contrary, another RON95 user, P Aravind noted that his Peugeot 207 performed well without any significant change in the engine performance despite his initial apprehension on the new fuel.
Like Izzat and Aravind, the average consumer would definitely have come across the conflicting feedback on RON95 and this is why many motorists have yet to come to terms with this fuel.
RON (Research Octane Number) is related to the combination of two basic elements – octane and pentane – that dictate the combustible attribute.
RON95 means 95 per cent octane and the balance being pentane.
As for the RON97, it has three per cent pentane and the rest being octane.
The right RON rating for vehicle engines is listed on the vehicle’s manual and at times it is pasted at the back of the petrol tank cover.
Consumers need not worry as most vehicles can use RON95 petrol without any problem or loss of power.
Chevron’s product engineering specialist Greg Engeler pointed out the public misconception on RON where many believe a higher RON number means better engine performance and fuel economy.
He said the engine performance and fuel economy is determined by the engine technology, the type of vehicle and the driving habits and not the difference in the RON value.
He added that by using RON95, Malaysia fulfils the Euro 2M specification that outlines a more efficient and environment friendly combustion technology.
According to majalahkereta.com.my, in Europe, the combustible fuel is divided into three main categories – RON91, RON95 and RON98 based on the needs of the engines produced by different manufacturers.
RON91 is for engines that can accept leaded petrol, RON95 unleaded petrol or the premium grade and RON98 that is known as the Super Plus or Super Premium.
In Europe more than 84 per cent of the fuel sold is the RON95.
Engines that require higher RON value normally have higher compression ratio like the Satria GTI.
What to do if you are not happy with the RON95.
If you are in such predicament, than you should take the cue from Herlina Ahmad.
This lecturer who drives a 2006 Toyota Avanza tried the RON95 petrol from different retailers and compared the mileage she obtained.
Though the difference among the retailers is not significant, she found that the RON95 from two retailers is not economical, one less efficient and she was satisfied with two others.
“The vehicle’s pick-up is normal, at times I speed up to 140km per hour. Moving from junctions is like usual,” she said.
So is Noor Shafina Adullah who is using RON95 for her Kembara that she has been using for the last eight years.
“There is no problem up to now. I feel it is more of the psychological factor. But I do see the difference in the RON95 sold by different retailers,” said Shafina who alternates between petrol and NGV.
However, if RON95 is compatible with your vehicle then why waste money using RON97?
What more when almost all vehicle distributors and manufacturers in the country had come up with a statement relating to the compatibility of RON95 with their marques.
Among them is the Naza Automotive Group that encourages owners of Naza, KIA and Peugeot to use RON95.
The company noted that the RON95 is suitable for the Naza Ria, Naza Citra, Naza Suria, Naza Citra II Rondo, Kia Sportage, Kia Carnival, Kia Carens, Kia Picanto, Kia Optima, Kia Spectra5, Kia Spectra, Kia Rondo, Naza 206 Bestari, Peugeot 206 Peugeot 407, Peugeot 308 Turbo, Peugeot 308Vti and Naza Forza while the Naza Sorento, Kia Sorento and Kia Pregio are powered by diesel.
UMW Toyota Motor also issued a statement saying the RON 95 petrol is suitable for all Toyota and Lexus models sold by the company.
The company said Toyota model owners using RON97 petrol can shift to RON95 and need not fear that their vehicle’s performance would be compromised.
Honda Malaysia also announced that the RON95 petrol is compatible with all models distributed by the company, except the Civic Type R with a high performance engine that requires RON97.— Bernama