High octane fuel vs octane boosters
There are many factors which affect the performance of an engine. High octane fuel and additives can boost the performance of a car’s engine.
What is octane number?
The octane number of the fuel or additive tells you if the fuel can be used in high performance machines. The higher the octane number, the better it burns and the better the engine performs. A lower octane fuel than what is recommended can damage the engine as it causes ‘knocks’ or irregular ignition. For a high octane fuel mix, get high octane fuel or get octane boosting additives.
High octane fuels burn only when the spark plugs fire, and burn cleanly. These fuels are usually cleaner as they go through an extensive process during and after refining.
Octane boosters are additives to your fuel to increase the octane number of the fuel. These additives, which may include alcohols, ethers, manganese or other chemicals improve the performance of the engine in terms of either acceleration, top end speed, efficiency or all of them.
High octane fuel and boosters have negligible or absolutely no effect on low performance road-going cars. A manufacturer recommends a minimum octane fuel rating and these products will not make a difference. High performance engines require high octane fuels as it is imperative that the fuel burns properly and the engine extracts the maximum performance possible.
While both high octane fuel and boosters provide similar levels of performance, it is better to use the former. The advantage of octane boosters is that they are easily available compared to high octane fuels. In India, high octane fuels are mostly available in petrol pumps in major cities only and boosters can be a life saver. The combination of octane boosters and low octane fuel is costlier than the same quantity of high octane fuel.
Use high octane fuels for a high performance engine and use boosters only as a last resort. Avoid using high octane fuel or boosters for a stock road-going car.