|The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry's announcement on Friday that it planned to replace the less popular lower octane RON92 petrol with RON95 in pumps beginning next year caused many to question the various grades of petrol available in Malaysia.|
Many Malaysians began to contemplate their choice of petrol and even what RON or high octane level mean, to understand what was best for their vehicles.
RON, or 'Research Octane Number', is referred to the rating used to measure the fuel's anti-knock properties while 'knocking' or 'pinging', as it is sometimes referred to, is heard when fuel and air mixture in the cylinder explodes prematurely before reaching the flame from the spark plug.
This simply means the higher the octane number, the higher resistance the fuel has to knocking.
It has been, however, a misconception that higher octane fuel, such as RON97, produces more power for one's car in comparison to RON92, which is cheaper and, therefore, does not necessarily increase the vehicle's performance.
Each car is tuned to a specific RON rating and if it is stated that one's car is tuned to RON90, one may use RON92 as opposed to the more expensive RON97.
Should the ministry's plan come to pass, motorists who prefer higher octane fuel would be able to utilise RON95, which is still more cost effective than the premium RON97 petrol.
Vehicles with high compression engines, such as sports cars, require 'harder to burn' high octane fuel to avoid pre-ignition or knocking due to increased engine temperature.
On Nov 21, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Sharir Abdul Samad announced the government's plans to provide motorists a choice of high quality petrol while encouraging cost efficient spending.
The minister had also stated they planned on introducing RON95, priced the same as RON92, in 2009 and retain RON97 grade petrol as RON92 had proven to be unpopular with consumers.