Tuesday, June 21, 2011

95 Or 97 (or 100?)

This is an old story but has never been pondered by me. So here goes the background....when the government decided that there will be two grades of petrol - RON 95 and RON 97 where 95 is subsidised and the 97 is allowed to float, there were numerous grumbles. Chief among them is that the consumers are basically 'forced' to buy the 'lower grade' 95 RON fuel (as it is cheaper). But what takes the cake is the allegation that RON 95 petrol is drectly or indirectly responsible for a number of road accidents which ended with the vehicle erupted into flames (and killing the trapped victims).

In one particular blog, the blogger alleged that many of these fiery ends to a road accident should not happen if RON 95 is not used. He alleged that:
1. RON 95 is unsafe - it burns easier than RON97 hence the reason of the more frequent fires
2. RON95 is the 'standard' petrol for Europe (read temperate climates)  because of the milder temperatures than Malaysia, so burns less easily in frigid weather.....

Now, I'm not a petro-chemical engineer but I believe all that he said is pure bull. If RON 95 is inherently unsafe and is the cause of those fires, then how come NOBODY alleged that the old RON 92, once available in all petrol stations, (remember the Bangladeshi pump assistant asking 'Merah ka Hijau?') was dangerous? If 95 is more dangerous than 97, then surely filling your vehicle with RON 92 then is an equivalent of writing a suicide note! While I guess it's true  that lower RON numbers is more combustible, the difference is actually academic..they all go Kaboom whenever in contact with spark or fire. Another rather unacademic comparison is that a plane still goes kaboom when it hits the ground despite the fact that uses fuel less combustible than petrol - kerosene.

As for his allegation that RON 95 is OK for Europe because of their milder temperatures (an average 20 deg compared to Malaysia's 32).....let's see
Bahrain - RON 92
Egypt - RON 92
Indonesia - RON 92
Israel - RON 92

Three of the countries above have higher average temperatures than Malaysia, yet RON 95 is actually the premium grade for them!

As for RON 95 affecting performance...I agree if the car manufacturer recommends higher fuel ratings than RON 95. But on average, even high-end performance car manufacturers recommend the minimum of RON 92. There may be slight loss of performance although I cannot say it for myself as I only own a Persona (heheh). However certain idiots allege huge degradation of performance such as "Kancils can now overtake me on the highway!", or "I can't restart my car after it stalled!" or "my fuel consumption suffered!". So much of this is fact, or how much is actually imaginary? I once have to revert to RON 97 for a week after the local petrol station ran out of 95.....but I can't feel the 'positives' these moaners allege. Perhaps these moaners are justified if they're using high-compression ratio engines as fitted to performance cars but no....they are just your average drivers with 'normal' cars....but knowing Malaysian drivers these moaners are probably those who enrich the PDRM to the tune of millions of Ringgits for speeding...hahaha. While using higher RON number may give better performance (real or imaginary) to your 10 year old Wira...an internet site mentioned that the real diffrence between using lower and higher RON fuels is only on your budget for fuel....

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