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In Australia, the primary types of petrol include regular unleaded (91), premium unleaded (95 and 98), E10, E85, diesel, and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Petrol Types in Australia

In the fast-paced world of Australian roads, choosing the right fuel for your vehicle is more than a matter of cost; it’s about optimizing performance and preserving your car’s engine health. 

With a variety of petrol types available at the pumps, knowing the nuances of each type can make a significant difference in how your vehicle operates.

Decoding Octane Ratings: What Matters for Your Engine?

When facing options like 91, 95, or 98 at the fuel station, understanding the octane rating is crucial. 

This figure represents the fuel’s resistance to premature ignition in your engine—a critical factor in preventing issues like engine knocking or pinging.

For high-performance vehicles designed for higher temperature operations, opting for 98 premium unleaded petrol is recommended. 

These cars are more likely to benefit from fuels with higher octane ratings. Conversely, regular passenger cars without high-performance demands typically run smoothly on regular unleaded petrol.

Types of Car Fuel in Australia

  • Regular Unleaded Petrol (91): This is a common choice for many vehicles and provides a standard option for everyday driving needs.
  • E10: A blend of regular unleaded petrol with ethanol, suitable for certain vehicles designed to accommodate this mix.
  • Premium Unleaded Petrol (95 and 98): Suited for high-performance vehicles or those requiring higher octane levels for optimal operation.
  • E85: A blend of ethanol and petrol suitable for flex-fuel vehicles, offering potential environmental benefits.
  • Diesel: Specifically for diesel-powered vehicles, known for higher energy density and efficiency.
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG): An alternative fuel option, primarily for vehicles adapted for LPG use.

Identifying Your Car’s Fuel Requirements

Your car’s manual or the fuel cap label typically indicates the recommended fuel type. The label ‘unleaded petrol only’ implies that regular unleaded petrol or higher octane fuels are suitable. 

Conversely, ‘premium unleaded fuel only’ signifies the need for fuel above 95 octane.

Referencing car models and their recommended fuels can provide insights, but always rely on your owner’s manual for precise fuel requirements to avoid any potential issues.

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Misfuelling: The Risk and Remedies

Putting the wrong fuel in your car can be a costly mistake. Misfuelling—whether it’s petrol in a diesel engine or vice versa—can lead to severe engine damage. 

Not only might this void your warranty, but it’s also typically not covered by car insurance.

If such an error occurs, here are steps to mitigate the damage:

  • Don’t start your car: Leaving the vehicle stationary limits the potential damage.
  • Inform the station attendant: Pay for the fuel, notify the attendant about the issue, and explain why your car isn’t moving from the pump.
  • Call for roadside assistance: Refrain from driving and seek professional help to drain the incorrect fuel from your tank.


Choosing the right fuel for your car in Australia is more than a matter of preference—it’s about ensuring optimal performance and safeguarding your vehicle’s longevity. 

Understanding the types of petrol available and adhering to your car manufacturer’s recommendations can help you make informed decisions, avoiding potential damage and ensuring a smoother ride on the road ahead.