How far do you go for your petrol ?

OK, here’s a little sign-of-the-times observation for you.

When I first started driving in the 1970s, there were seven petrol stations in Frome where I live - all independent, and most of the then usual brands were available - all for a town of some 15,000 people.  In the subsequent decades, petrol retailing has been (almost) completely taken over by two supermarkets in Frome - only one independent is now operating, and the population has risen to 30,000.

After reading numerous posts on this forum about Shell V-Power petrol, and how well MX-5s seem to perform on it, I thought I’d give it a go.  Not knowing where my local Shell garage was, I consulted Google, which informed me that the nearest to my home was in Radstock, some 9 miles away.

So, as it was such a lovely day in Frome today, I decided to take a little sunny-afternoon topless drive to fill up with Shell V-Power - I was practically out of gas anyway (the yellow light actually came on half way to Radstock !).  If the experiment goes well, and I want to keep using Shell, I have to resign myself to an 18 mile round trip to fill up each time.  Provided the sun’s shining of course, I won’t mind a bit - good excuse for a lid-off experience.  But, as I mentioned at the start of this post - it’s just a sign of the times, which is probably applicable to almost any location out ‘in the sticks’ !  

Large conurbations probably have petrol stations every couple of miles still, but the more rural your location, the further you probably have to go for your fuel.

Sounds like a very good reason to go for Vpower regularly Chris . It will be interesting to hear your observation on it’s performance increase, or not.
Never tried it myself, the cheapest petrol around here (Sainsbury) is 1/4 mile away so that’s the one for me.
A lot of folk on here say that supermarket fuel is rubbish but I never notice a difference when filling up around the country with different brands & I do like to put the right foot down rather than potter along.

When I last took the head off (on the mk1) it was still clean with no crap from aledged cheap fuel so I continue saving dosh at Sainsbury 

I have an Esso less than 1 mile away, a BP and a Shell (which is where I go) about 3 miles away, and Mobil and Tesco (where I go whilst doing the shopping if I’ve forgotten to fill up at Shell) 4 miles away.

I’ve been told that all the companies get the same basic fuel from the refinery and that any additives are added whilst in the tanker from an onboard supply.  That would explain why when you see pictures of tankers loading they’re a mixed bunch of companies each of which say their fuel is better than anyone else’s, and others owned by fuel wholesale companies who supply fuel to some independents who use unbranded pumps and to some supermarkets with “own brand” pumps.

Tesco - less than half a mile away. Odd times used Asda, if in Long Eaton, about two miles away. We have one independent (?) whose charge is always more than supermarket outlets. Independents mainly can’t compete, so they’ve gone. Only time I used super, was in France, where only noticeable difference was not in performance, but in mileage (slightly more) I’m signed up to Petrol prices, so I get reports weekly, but advantage is nominal between several supermarket outlets, and most would mean extra mileage to get a slightly lower price is costing me more than any saving. Average is .01 to .02 P per litre.

The so called downside of supermarket petrol was more of a thing several years ago than it is now, never changed my opinion though. Like Joe, I don’t hang about either.

Oh - and I always use regular petrol. Like fixing non existent problems on the car, you don’t bother worrying about where you buy petrol from. If the car goes as you want it too, then why worry?

When I had the Sunbeam Tiger (V8 4.2L engine) Ford itself recommended 2 star, which I bought from a local JET station (cheaper than anywhere else) but not seen a Jet station for years, - and no - I wouldn’t use 2 star in the five!

Approx cost of fuel is 15p (or more) per mile, so I personally would not drive far out of my way to fill up.

Obviously avoid Motorway service stations!

As for supermarket, branded, super fuel or additives … this makes an interesting read …

Summary …

  1. There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that supermarket fuel is inferior to its brand-name equivalent.
  2. There are some proven benefits to using more expensive “super” fuels, but these benefits are only really pronounced in sporty vehicles.
  3. Third-party fuel additives don’t seem to stand up to their bold claims when tested. However, some people state additives work well for them. You could try them for yourself to see if they make a difference, as they cost just £5 a bottle so may be worth trying – if only once!

I use super ( any brand ) in my 1.5 ND and definitely get more MPG than regular unleaded, however paying a premium means that the costs even themselves out.

I drive 6 miles to a shell garage to fill up all three of my cars on V Power so I suppose you could say I waste 36 miles of fuel but I think it’s worth it just to stop me throwing up at the smell of cheap supermarket fuel never mind the better fuel consumption and performance not to mention lubrication of my fuel system, but that is just my thoughts along with a few engine tuners. 

I use super unleaded and use Tesco or Sainsbury’s.
I prefer Tesco though as it’s 99 RON whilst Sainsbury’s is 97.

Hmm, the Shell garage is nearby, 1/3 mile away and the BP is 1/4 mile. 

But I usually only fill up after the yellow light wakes up, because I know there at least about fifty miles in the tank, and I adjust the route to take in one of the four V-Power Shell garages on the usual journeys in different directions.  No additional miles at all.

There’s a Shell about 4 miles from me, but it’s part of a motorway services. V Power there is about £1.32 a litre. There’s also a BP about 4 miles from me, but on the opposite side of the city and to get to is a pain. So it’s Tesco, half a mile away and with pay at pump it takes some of the pain away.

The cheapest and the closest here, Asda 1 mile away.

Incidentally they now have petrol and diesel at the same price, £113.7 ppl. 

I’ve never tried buying just 1 litre, guess how they would give me change from £1.14p


Don’t bother explaining.

I signed up to …

some time ago. I receive a daily email which tells me the fuel prices available

within a radius of miles that I specify. I set the parameters for unleaded, and super unleaded. 

I occasionally fill up with the BP super unleaded. 

If, and only if, I’m going that way, for shoppping etc.

I wouldn’t make a special journey.  


Alternatively, they have an Android/iPhone app. which you can refer to wherever you happen to be. 

I only use Shell in my MX-5 usually V power and Shell V Power diesel in my BMW even use the same pump (sad)
Never use supermarket fuel, but my mileage is very low so it doesn’t make much difference to the cost.

V power always,is there something the petrol company’s are not telling us ? The wife bought a Peugeot 208 gti recently and when we picked the car up were told never put supermarket petrol in it  ? ?


I think that could be because you can’t be sure who their supplier is, depending on the lowest wholesale price they buy in from anyone be it Esso, Mobil, etc., plus the independents so quality can vary.

Since I picked up this current MX-5 last October, I have always used my local Sainsbury’s (only a couple of miles away), and I did get the impression it ran better on premium grade than on regular.  Could be my fancy of course, but that was the impression I got.

On my last tank of Sainsbury’s premium I got 37 mpg, which I was very pleased with.  Being a second car, I only fill up once a month, and this particular month’s tank-load took me to Bristol (3 times), Bath, and Marlborough - all decent runs, and this contrasts with my 32 mpg when I just poodle around town. 

It will certainly be interesting to see how this 5 does on Shell V-Power - especially as it is 8p per litre more expensive than Sainsbury’s premium juice.  Having said that though, being a low-mileage second car, the price doesn’t really matter that much I guess.

BP garage is my nearest, and I put the 97 RON here as a rule, but if the yellow light comes on whilst I’m out enyoying myself I’ll just look for the first Shell or BP garage and fill up with their 97. The only thing with this is they don’t advertise the price of super- unleaded (certainly not in the same way as the signs advertising Diesel and 95 RON ), and you have to take a breath when you realise you’re filling up with fuel costing 20p or more a litre compared to the 95. But hey-ho it’s only money and the MX5 is only for fun after all. But, after reading this thread, I will perhaps look into whether any local supermarkets do 97 RON and maybe give it a try. 

P…S.  I use the 97 RON primarily cos the nice little label next to the filler cap says this is the riight fuel for the car. 



There’s no better reason!


Yup !

I remember, in the mid to late '70’s , getting rather annoyed as petrol companies started to reduce

the lead content in petrol, and 5-star leaded pumps began to disappear. My Triumph TR5 liked

5-star, and finding decent quality 4-star that didn’t pink ( pre-detonate ) became increasingly a chore.

Like many, I felt quite affronted about all these Japanese rot-boxes on wheels cummin’ into our country,

takin’ over our roads, sleepin’ in our garages…, etc…

And All Done on 95 ron petrol.

Because they were designed for it.