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RON 92 fuel consumption and economy comparison

This page will help you with this question

What is the best petrol?

Which petrol has the best mileage?

Are all the petrol the same?

In short, I've made a comparison of Shell Super vs Pertamina Pertamax vs Petronas Primax 92 and Total Performax 92.

Test detail

Test car: 2003 Honda City at 138000 km on its odometer

Engine: 1.5 L i-DSI

Vehicle mass: weighed 1110 Kg

Engine oil: Shell Helix HX-7 10w-40

Tyre pressure: all tyre is at 34 psi of 79% Nitrogen, 18% Oxygen and 2.5% Carbon-hydroxide and 0.5% Carbon-monoxide (read: polluted air in Jakarta)

Front: 1 year old Michelin XM-1 Energy

Rear Tyre: 1 month old Dunlop

Load

Full: passengers 4 adults, 2 male 2 female

Driver only: 1 adult male driver

Route: mixed city, highway and traffic jam

Technique: VVT-i drivingAlthough this technique was not developed specifically for i-DSi engines, this technique is adequate for maximising the fuel economy. 

Method

The car is driven on average commuting.

  1. The car is driven until the low fuel warning light is on.

  2. Then the car is filled with the tested fuel until the fuel reachs the rim of the filling hose. 
  3. I repeat step one and two with all the fuel tested in order: Shell, Pertamina, Petronas, Shell, Total.

This method is not the most accurate method, however it gave you the picture on what is the most economical fuel.

Pertamina, Shell, Petronas and Total did not gave me any money for conducting this test.  I conduct this test as fair as possible without any unbiased opinion. 

Tested fuel

There are four petrol retailer in Indonesia and I tested their RON 92 fuel.  This test has not been finished yet, however it could give you the idea on what fuel is the best for your car.

The Result

I habituate myself to write the fuel use to fill my car and record its kilometre on the odometer.  Therefore I can get this accurate result, based on average driving - when I was not testing therefore the driving technique is not biased - this comes to another surprise.  As the driving distance is longer and across more diverse driving condition ranging from city to highway driving to traffic jams.

BrandTotal distanceFuel consumedkm/ll/100km
Pertamina Pertamax 928437.4649.4713.007.68
Shell Super 923666.1 287.2412.757.84
Petronas Primax 92 451.735.9212.567.95
Total Performax 92896.671.7112.478.01

This will grow as I cover more distance.

If you would like to read the data and explanation and reasons below, feel free to do it.  However, I feel it is enough to stop here, and you should continue to read here instead.  When the data grew, this will give you the idea on how the fuel performs.  I will update you with the data and enjoy the show! 

Important notes

There is a fact that I found while testing the fuels.  The fuel which I've bought from certain petrol station is always more economical than the same type of fuel bought in other petrol station.  There are two possibilities, first the petrol station cheated out and put some premiums (unlike in other countries where premium is a RON 95 fuel, in Indonesia premium fuel is a RON 88 and cheap subsidised fuel from the government) on the fuel.  However, now lets rule out the first possibility, as some overseas branded fuel did not sell premiums, therefore it would be impossible to mix their fuel with premium.

The second probability is the inconsistent fuel quality, which is, the quality of RON 92 fuel is not always the same, which is unlikely as the quality control of those multinational corporation is high, but it really happens, or at least happened here in Indonesia.  I almost always changes petrol station every time I fill up my car.  Sometimes I fill my car in a busy petrol station, and sometimes in a quiet one.  At first I did not notice anything unusual, until I found that every time I fill up in certain station, my car is more economical compared to other station. 

Then I kept repeating to refill in that particular Pertamina station (km 88 on Cipularang toll road), and my car is the same: as economical.  Then I'm thinking what caused this for many days until one day I've find out that the petrol station is indeed very busy!  They receives fresh fuel from refinery almost everyday, therefore guaranteeing that their fuel is at optimum performance.  Then I tried to refill my car on a quiet petrol station.  The opposite was true, on quiet petrol station the car became uneconomical. 

This applies true to Shell and Total, which implies this should be true for Petronas as well.  Well, this explains why the Shell petrol anomaly happens.  The Shell Petrol Station where my car was filled and experience the anomaly is really quiet, and now they go out of business.  I guess their fuel is not that good anymore or simply expired.

Then I've got another tip for you, always fill up your car in relatively busy petrol station, and you will get fresh fuel!  I don't know about diesel fuel, but I guess it should be the same.  Petrol and oil corporation might rise an protest over this theory of mine, but try it your self and tell me if I'm wrong!

One day when the distance travelled with the fuel exceeds 5000 km, I will upload the test PDF file containing the data where you can see all the anomalies over there. 

Old result and reasoning. 

Shell RON 92 Super

Price (as tested) Rp 6400 per litre, Rp 6200 per today's date.

roams for 503.9 Km

Required fuel: 35.61 L

Loads 4 adults

Economy: 1L for 14.125 km or 7 L per 100 km

Driving cost: Rp 453.09 per km

Feels (probably subjective): compared to Pertamax, the car feels lighter and faster when accelerating.

Shell Odometer
Shell Odometer

That was my car's odometer just before I filled it with Pertamax 92.

An interesting note when my car uses Shell fuel with me as the sole passenger (driver), I record 457.2 Km before the low fuel warning light lit.  It is somewhat early.  However the required fuel is 33.84 litre, which mean average fuel consumption 13.51 km per litre or 7.40 L per 100 km.

This is kind of weird since the car should require more fuel when pulling heavier weight.  Here I owe you an explanation: the second test was conducted after the Lebaran holiday is over, therefore I enter into more traffic jams and that makes the car consumes more fuel. 

Shell Petrol Anomaly

Once I drove Shell with full passenger and and 80% traffic jam, I record a very bad fuel consumption.  My car uses 35.0 litre of fuel just to travel 386.6 km, or 11 km/litre.  It appears that Shell was optimised for highway driving, as opposed to Pertamina's Pertamax for traffic jam. 

In the other hand - on a combined cycle - I could get 480.8 km on 35.71 litre of fuel, which translates to 13.46 km/litre which conforms to previous test of 13.51 km/litre.  I guess that's the result of Shell on a combined cycle.

RON 95 Shell Super Extra

Before it gets big, I've decided to put Shell Super Extra RON 95 fuel here.  I will separate them when it is big enough.

City driving: 386.1 km / 33.97 L = 11.36 km/L better compared to Shell Super

Highway driving: 518.9 km / 35.88 L = 14.46 km/L

Pertamina RON 92 Pertamax

Price (as tested) Rp 6600 per litre

At Rp 6600 per litre, Pertamina's Pertamax is the most expensive fuel on the market.  Is this price justify that Pertamax is really the best fuel available?  We'll see...

Roams for: 453.9 km

Required fuel: 35.42 L

Loads 4 adults

Economy: 1L for 12.81 km or 7.80 litre per 100 km

Driving cost: Rp 515.22 per km

Feels: normal, as this is the fuel I normally used

Pertamina Odometer
Pertamina Odometer

That was what my car's odometer shows when refilled with Petronas Primax 92.

Driven on mostly traffic jams with Pertamina's Pertamax petrol, my car requires 35.41 litre for driving 428.0 km.  That equates to 11.80 km/l.  Pertamina's difference between traffic jam and light traffic is not that significant.  This results is better to Shell's result on traffic jam.

I had come to an conclusion that Pertamax is well optimised for traffic jam and low speed motoring.  Their record for highway (little traffic) and normal operation (combined cycle) did not differ by much and beaten by Total and Shell.  However on traffic jam, Pertamax outperform Shell's Super.

Pertamina Pertamax+

Pertamina's Petamax Plus is a very good fuel indeed.  To my and your surprise, on highway cycle my car took just 36.075 litre to travel 586.4 Km, which means 16.26 Km per litre.

Given the price Pertamax+ and its performance, I feel it is worth to use Pertamax+ over any RON 92 fuel available on the market.  Your car will not only perform better, it will be more economical too.

Petronas RON 92 Primax 92

Price (as tested): Rp 6400 per litre as tested

Roams for: 451.7 km

Required fuel: 35.92 L

Loads: one adult for approx 350 km and 3 adults for 100 km.

Economy: 1L for 12.58 km or 7.95 litre per 100 km

Driving cost: Rp 508.94

Feels: the car feels heavier and nimbler compared to Pertamax

Petronas Odometer
Petronas Odometer

That was my car's odometer just before I filled it with Shell Super RON 92.

Total RON 92 Performax 92

I'm currently testing Total fuel.

Price (as tested): Rp 6200 per litre

Roams for: 518.0 km

Required fuel: 36.46 L

Loads: one adult for approx 450 km and 2 adults for 100 km.

Economy: 1L for 14.20 km or 7.95 litre per 100 km

Driving cost: Rp 436.39 per km, normalised to fuel price of Rp 6400: 450.47 per km

Feels (probably subjective): before oil change, it feels the same with Shell.  After oil change, it is of course the car feels better and smoother.

To Total's advantage, my car receives an oil change, tune up and tyre pressure adjusted just after I put the Total fuel and my odometer read 10 km.

Total Odometer
Total Odometer

That was my car's odometer just before I filled it with Shell Super RON 92 for testing my after tuning and oil changing fuel consumption test.  PS: if you see that Total Odometer image is sharper, you are very correct.  It was taken using my EOS 400 D camera, opposed to other's taken using my mobile phone camera.

Biased result

BrandEconomy (full)Cost/km (full)Economy (driver only)Cost/km (driver only)
Shell Super 9214.125 kmRp 453.0913.50 kmRp 474.07*
Pertamina Pertamax 9212.81 kmRp 515.22  
Petronas Primax 92  12.58 kmRp 508.94
Total Performax 92  14.20 kmRp 450.47*

*The price when buying this fuel is normalised to Rp 6400 per litre to make the driving cost comparable to the other fuel's driving costs.

As I can see that there was only a little correlation between the fuel consumption when the car is fully loaded or empty, I decided to re compare using normal and traffic jam fuel consumption.

BrandTraffic Jam (city)Normal (combined)Little traffic (highway)
Shell Super 9211 km/l13.50 km/l14.1 km/l
Pertamina Pertamax 9211.80 km/l12.64 km/l12.81 km/l
Petronas Primax 92  12.58 km/l
Total Performax 9210.74 km/l 14.20 km/l

The table will grow as I drive with more fuel.

Conclusion

Out of the three fuel tested, it appears that Petronas is the most uneconomical petrol for normal motoring.  However in term of driving cost, Petronas is very slightly cheaper compared to Pertamina.  Driving cost is changing corresponding to the price of petrol which is changing everyday.

On combined cycle, Shell is still the king.  I have not tested Total on combined cycle yet, since today Shell is offering me free Rp 10.000 voucher for every Rp 200.000 fuel purchase.  I'll wait until Shell's promotion stops, then I'll test Total.

On Highway, Total by was the most economical petrol in Indonesia as I've tested.  It is even more economical than Shell.  I'm unsure how Total performs on traffic jam or normal motoring.

I also realised that traffic jam contributes to higher fuel consumption compared to heavier load that you put on your car.

I'm going to compare RON 95 fuel in Indonesia :)  Just wait for the date!

Additional notes

Shell Super 92

Shell is the world no 1 petrol maker.  The result here clearly shows the reason why most people chooses Shell.  Although the condition is not in the favour of Shell, Shell Super is almost as economical as Total Performax 92.

After I've done checking Pertamax's fuel consumption, I got curious about Shell's very uneconomical fuel consumption, 11 km per litre.  That bad number comes from one particular Shell station.  Therefore I decided to retest the Shell fuel from that station and I'll see whether the station cheats or what.

Pertamina Pertamax 92

Pertamina is government owned and is the king of petrol in Indonesia.  Albeit from dubious reputation in the past, Pertamina has grown into a multinational cooperation with good reputation.

While it is hard to compete with Shell's fuel quality, my test shows that Pertamina's Pertamax beats Petronas's Primax 92 in almost every way, which mean get Pertamina over the Petronas.

Pertamina's driving cost premium over Petronas is so little (515.22-508.94 = 6.28 per km) and will not make you any poorer even after you drive for 100.000 km (Rp 628.000).  Moreover by buying Pertamina means less polluting Indonesia and helping the government to reduce unemployment rate.  Go get Pertamina!

For your information, please do not get Pertamina's RON 88 Premium fuel if you did not pay tax.  At Rp 4000 per litre, Premium is the cheapest fuel on the country.  Premium is government subsidised fuel which is the reason of its low price.  The Premium petrol is paid using tax payer's hard earned money, therefore if you did not pay your taxes, by all means do not get the Premium petrol.  It is an embarrassment to use other's hard earned tax money to fuel your car when you are not paying your own tax.

For Pertamina and the Government of Indonesia, please make a decision to require every Premium fuel buyer showing their tax file number (NPWP) to be able to buy Premium fuel, especially for cars.  It do make really sense, as Premium fuel is government subsidized and costs our money (tax payers).  This for every one, including supir angkot and supir truk, who can show the photocopy of NPWP of their boss.

Petronas

Please don't relate that Petronas is not economical to this article.  I'm doing this test as fair as possible and as professional as I could, in fact Petronas also have an advantage since I'm testing Petronas petrol using a car with mostly one people, me.

Although driving Petronas is cheaper compared to Pertamina, I would not buy Petronas as my car consumes more fuel in one adult load compared to Pertamina or Shell fully loaded. 

If there are only Pertamina and Petronas, I'd choose Pertamina over Petronas.  Why?  That's because buying Petronas means burning more fuel.  That means more gases will be released to the atmosphere and more pollution is made.  This will cripple our environment, induces more global warming and made Indonesian tourism even more crippled.  Which means tourists will flew aboard to our nearest competitor.  Lucky our nearest tourism competitor uses Petronas as well. 

Total

As expected from the car's feel, Total's Performax 92 is a high quality petrol, probably on par with Shell's Super.  The good thing is Total's price is the same as Shell's.

Moreover with all condition in favour of Total, Total's Performax 92 beats Shell on my test.  However the comparison has not reach its conclusion and anything can happen here.

Final words

Different car will yield different result.  Some car love a particular fuel, while some other don't like particular fuel.  For example my 2003 ACV 36 Camry make most of BP more than Shell, while my cousin's Honda 2002 CRV is more economical on Shell than BP.  Moreover my friends 2004 Nissan X-Trail 'loves' (drink more) Total's fuel to Shell.

Different country have different fuel specification and different season uses different additives.  So I'm unsure if our tourism competitor uses different Petronas fuel.

Different driving technique will yield different result, which probably the Shell fuel is good for my technique, while other fuels is good for other's driving technique and style.

Different car tuning and engine oil will yield different result.  Always keep your car well maintained and choose the thinnest oil that can be used with your car e.g. 5w-30 is more economical compared to 10w-50 oil.

Different tyre pressure and tyre air composition will yield different consumption as well, as I've heard that 100% nitrogen on tyre is better and more economical than 80% nitrogen + 20% oxygen tyre, which I'll conform later.

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