WHY WE ARE PAYING HIGH PRICES FOR PREMIUM FUEL OVER REGULAR FUEL.
India as a country is famous for three things, including the Taj Mahal, Cricket and ‘Kitna deti hai’ question. Pull over on a red light in a nice car or motorbike and people won’t ask about the mods you’ve done on your car, but you’ll surely have to answer this question time and again, ‘Kitna deti hai?’ and we are proud of the fact that we as a country are capable of producing some of the highest fuel efficient cars and motorbikes, but that’s not solely because we wanted to make it our forte, but due to the fact that India is amongst one of the few countries that levy stupendous taxes on its fuel infrastructure. As a result, we have experienced an unbelievable hike in terms of fuel prices within the last few years.
Why is petrol so costly in India?
For you to understand why we end up paying so much against countries like USA, Russia or even Pakistan, where prices are nearly half of what we charged in India, you’ll have to go through the full tax break up on petroleum industry.
The basic crude oil is imported in India on its international price that varies slightly day by day. For 1 barrel of crude oil imported on 17th January, the government paid Rs 4,154 per barrel which comes out to be Rs 26.13 per ltr. After refining, the basic cost of fuel comes close to Rs 33.14 per ltr. On which government punches various taxes close to Rs 38.25 per ltr. Which, by the way, is even double than its actual cost in the first place.
In a city like Delhi, various quality of fuels are available starting from regular petrol, premium petrol (Speed or Extra Premium), RON 93 and RON 97. The last two are majorly used by high-performance cars and motorcycles while the first two are used for everyday cars and bikes.
How is regular fuel different from premium or extra premium?
The very basic difference in both the fuel lies in the mixture of hydrocarbons used to make it, also the variety of additives mixed in the fuel determines its quality, hence differentiating regular from premium fuel.
Petrol is generally made up of hydrocarbons (mainly paraffins, naphthenes and olefins) which comes as a product of reformer or catalytic cracker. In this process, crude oil, which is composed of big hydrocarbon molecules is broken up into tiny molecules. These are vaporized in presence of a powered catalyst. After petrol is extracted from crude oil, additives are added to upgrade the quality of the fuel in order to minimize the carbon build-up inside the engine. Also, better quality fuel improves combustion.
The key additive that determines a fuel’s quality or octane rating (RON) is ethanol. The use of ethanol as an additive boost’s RON rating of a fuel. Higher the RON rating of a fuel cleaner it is. The regular petrol in India irrespective of the brand has a RON rating of near about 89 and after it is mixed with additives, it becomes RON 91, or Speed, or Extra Premium.
Real life mileage test between regular and premium fuel:
Since both of these fuels are used extensively by common Indian commuter, we decided to bring out the theoretical discussion outside pages and test both the fuels side-by-side under similar driving conditions, driving the similar car, and doing almost similar distances. Our target was clear, we wanted practical mileage figures of both the fuels and how the car reacted to different fuels was, of course, an add-on result. The car we decided for the test was a Hyundai Creta 1.6 petrol Automatic.
And this is the result we got in his performance on the basis of mileage.