• Menu
  • Menu
Poor Quality Fuel

What Is Poor Quality Fuel & What Are The Effects?

While many people have turned to electric vehicles, the large majority of motorists are still relying on petrol or diesel to fuel the engine of their vehicles. Some might understand the quality of fuel, while others simply put fuel in their vehicle without any regard. Understanding what is poor quality fuel is important for engine performance and preservation.

For most users, the octane level is the main measurement tool when it comes to fuel quality and understanding the value. However, things like additives and the condition of the fueling system or equipment could have a significant effect on the fuel quality. It is important to have some basic understanding of these measures.

Since fuel quality is often overlooked, many people might be experiencing performance issues with their vehicles due to the fuel quality. Fortunately, we have done some in-depth research that should help you better understand the fuel quality. Additionally, we will look at how it could affect your vehicle.

How Is Fuel Quality Determined?

fuel pumps at gas station
Photo by Pixabay

When it comes to fuel quality, there are a few important things to keep in mind to ensure that you have a good understanding of the fuel you are using. This generally hinges on a couple of factors that influence fuel quality. The following aspects could negatively affect the fuel quality from a certain gas station or pump.

Gas Station And Pump Conditions

One of the main factors that could influence the quality of fuel is the condition of the gas station and equipment maintenance. Pumps and tanks must be maintained to ensure water does not come in and create corrosion. A build-up of corrosion would eventually transfer the fuel to your vehicle.

Use Of Additives And Detergents

According to the US Environmental Agency, a certain level of detergents and additives are mandatory for all octane levels of fuel. These additives will protect the vehicle from a buildup of carbon and other deposits that could damage your engine significantly.

With the establishment of the “Top Tier” fuel program, automakers have created a proprietary blend of additives and detergent that would work best for your vehicle. When you put fuel into your vehicle, you can easily spot the top-tier fuel with the Top Tier Logo present. This is a voluntary program that gas stations can join.

Overall Maintenance And Tank Conditions

As mentioned, the tank conditions will significantly affect the quality of the fuel and this might have some ramifications for your vehicle. You can readily request the gas station to present an inspection report for the tanks. The top gas stations should have regular inspections to ensure that the fuel is in top condition and the tanks are good.

Branded Fuel Vs Supermarket Fuel

texaco fuel station
Photo by Pixabay

One of the main differences in the UK when compared to other parts of the world is the availability of fuel from supermarkets. Supermarkets in the UK have been selling fuel since the early 1970s and often provide a much cheaper alternative to branded gas stations. Due to the competition created, many supermarkets will drastically cut their fuel prices in a bid to sell more.

With such massive price differences and rising fuel costs around the world, it is no secret that many people have been wondering whether supermarket and branded fuel are the same.

What Is The Difference Between Supermarket Fuel And Branded Fuel?

If we look closely at supermarket fuel and branded fuel, you might find that they all come from the same refineries around the world. This means that the overall chemical makeup can be similar. The biggest difference is that big companies like Shell and BP often have their own additives that improve the fuel slightly. It might be a bit more efficient and improve vehicle performance slightly.

Is Branded Fuel Better Than Supermarket Fuel?

Many people are wondering if one is better than the other. In reality, you get what you pay for and this gives the edge to branded fuel as the best. However, some tests have been done in terms of how economic the fuel is and the engine performance. Unfortunately, many of these tests are inconclusive or not well run, which leaves us all to make up our own minds.

Poor Quality Fuel Affects On The Vehicle

While most modern fuel stations will always be prepared and go through the required inspections, you might find that some try to skimp on maintenance. This can translate to poor fuel quality and often affect your vehicle. Here are a few ways that poor fuel quality can affect your vehicle:

1.      Engine Performance

Photo by Pixabay

Since lower quality fuel will not have the same additives, Might not have all the properties to complete the combustion process. If the combustion process is incomplete, it means that the power of your vehicle never reaches its full potential. You could be driving around with only minimum performance in your engine.

2.      Engine Longevity

open hood of car
Photo by Pixabay

Since there are so many impurities in poor quality fuel, it can affect the longevity of your engine. These impurities or particles will build up in the various engine components and the engine cylinder. With continuous use of these fuels, it could reduce engine life. In turn, this will spike your maintenance costs.

3.      Higher Emissions

car exhaust
Photo by Pixabay

With a significant focus now on engine emissions to curb global warming and climate change, many fuel companies have added some additives to help curb the emissions. One of the downsides of poor quality fuel is that you might run into higher emissions.

4.      Hard Starting

start stop button
Photo by Pixabay

Finally, clean fuel enables that vehicle to have fuel run through the engine and cylinders without hesitation. There should be no clogging and the fuel pump will dispense fuel to the engine. Unfortunately, bad fuel quality can hind this and might lead to hard starting of the vehicle.


How Do You Know If You Have Bad Fuel?

There are a few things that could indicate that you are using bad fuel. Hard starting and lack of overall power are two of the main issues that could pop up. However, a vehicle misfiring, backfiring, or the constant pinging of the engine should also be kept in mind. If the check engine light is constantly flashing and you don’t find any faults, it could be the fuel mixture.

What Happens When You Use Low-Quality Fuel?

While using low-quality fuel might seem cheaper and easier, it often leads to long-term effects on your vehicle. These effects will include the longevity or durability of the engine and components. If you continue to use low-fuel quality products, you could be spending more on maintenance more often or find your vehicle not performing.


An avid car enthusiast, I love spending time researching new cars and seeing how technology improves each year. With a passion for cars, I often find problems with certain vehicles and believe these should be addressed to ensure everyone can have a happy driving experience. I spend hours on the road each year and having driven numerous cars, I have encountered some basic and unique problems. I love sharing my knowledge and experience with you to help you prevent and even deal with some of these issues before they become fatal!!!

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *