I exchanged a few e-mails with Shell a couple of years ago, regarding
Optimax, eventually getting through to someone at least vaguely
Essentially, all the flash advertising (with pretty fishes zooming
around, voice-over by Jeremy Clarkson IIRC) about improved performance
and economy simply boiled down to "It's higher octane". Probably the
same for V-Power, but maybe a bit more so. Although this mention is, I
think, the first time I've heard of V-Power. Can't imagine Shell
selling this alongside their standard and Optimax fuels, too many
choices, but maybe it's a replacement for Optimax (or just a re-branding
of Optimax to try and renew interest in it).
The guy I was in contact with agreed that the benefit for modern cars is
because they have knock sensors that automatically adjust their timing,
and so if you filled up with Optimax the engine would automatically
advance the timing a bit more, giving you your improved performance and
economy (although I expect if you use the performance, you don't get the
economy!). For our cars with mechanical distributors, we'd need to
experiment to adjust the timing manually to what worked best with
Optimax, and then of course we couldn't fill up with anything lesser for
fear of knocking.
I concluded that the hassle of only being able to fill up at Shell, and
the extra cost of the fuel, weren't worth it for the probably marginal
benefits I'd experience using my little old car as a daily driver - so
I've stuck with whatever is the cheapest standard unleaded I can find.
If you're a racer (and you're allowed to use it) I'd imagine the balance
would go the other way.
Richard & Sammy ('73 Black Tulip BGT)
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