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Premium fuel can be worth the extra cost | comment

Sebastian Vettel pits during the 2016 Australian Formula One Grand Prix.

When an oil company says its new super fuel is special you have a right to be sceptical.

Big promises and a trendy name are one thing but is it worth the extra cents a litre for premium unleaded? And can any fuel deliver more power, or improved economy, or both at the same time?

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel reckons it can. Yes, he’s a Shell ambassador and admits he is paid to say good things about Shell but he also says the company’s latest racing fuel is worth 0.5 seconds a lap in his Ferrari F1 car.

He compares the difference to shaving 15kg off the weight of his car. “You can get better performance with better fuel,” Vettel says.

He believes fuel technology is becoming increasingly important as more turbocharged and hybrid cars — just like his F1 Ferrari — hit the road.

Is he right? Is it just a sales pitch? Should you be remotely interested?

I can say that my Ducati Monster, a sports motorcycle that was a riot to ride, would “pink” on hot days as the fuel detonated early. I switched to Shell V-Power the problem went away. It was, for me, worth the extra cost.