There is often debate about whether to run unleaded petrol or LRP (Lead Replacement Petrol) in a car.
The short answer is that in most cases unleaded petrol is the correct fuel for your car. Your car should run no better or worse as long as the octane of the fuel is the same. If your car is compatible with unleaded fuel it is the wiser choice as you will have a cleaner engine and will be contributing to a cleaner environment. Only 6% of the cars on South African roads cannot run on unleaded fuel and all cars manufactured from the mid 1980's can safely run unleaded fuel. To find out if your car can run unleaded fuel, visit NAAMSA's website.
So if it is that simple, then why are there those that insist on using LRP? The answer stems back to when unleaded fuel was first introduced and was only available in 91 octane. This lower octane meant that cars had to be detuned, resulting in poorer performance and therefore unleaded fuel in South Africa is still thought of as the inferior choice. However since unleaded fuel is now available in higher octanes equivalent to or higher than LRP, it is the best option in almost all cars. Others that insist on using LRP are an older generation who believed that "Super" was the only fuel to use and mistakenly believe that LRP is the equivalent.
Most petrol companies are going to be phasing out LRP over the next few years. This means that those cars that cannot run unleaded fuel will have to purchase a lead substitute which most petrol stations and spares shops will stock. For the rest of the cars, this means they will have to use the best fuel for the car anyway! Better for your car, better for the environment. Is it really a choice?
In the event that unleaded fuel is not available (eg. during a fuel shortage), you will have no problems running your car for a few tanks on LRP, however it is suggested you return to using unleaded as soon as it is available again.
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