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31 July 2013

Petron Blaze 100 Euro 4: Driving on the good stuff

Words by Christopher Kho
blaze euro4
As a regular motorist (if that's a fair general classification), I drive an average of 10,000 km a year within Metro Manila, at an average speed of 40 km/h if I'm lucky, and get 8.5 km/L in my 2006 Civic. Given that premise, I never saw the need to fill up on high octane unleaded gasoline. Instead, I settle for regular which probably saves me around P140 per full tank over the fancy stuff. Then came Petron with their new Blaze 100 Euro 4 fuel.
The promise of better performance, due to its 100 octane rating, has been available for quite some time now. However, what makes this particular blend different is that it's the country's first Euro 4-compliant gasoline. That means, it produces less harmful emissions which should help all of us live a bit longer.
Still, a tight budget makes me a bit hesitant to test out this “snake oil” of sorts. And that's why Petron let me drive on their new Blaze 100 Euro 4 fuel for free (because I'm such a cheapskate even in the name of science), so I can tell you just how good it really is and if it's worth the P4.00-ish/L extra.
Vroom Vroom
My degree in engineering tells me that a higher octane rating theoretically produces a bigger bang. However, experience has revealed that not all engines are created equally, and thus, react differently to bangs of different shapes and sizes. I've tried other fuels advertised as “high octane” before, but was otherwise unimpressed. It was as if you asked me (a man) to tell the difference between the shades 'mauve' and 'fuchsia'.
So, does Blaze 100 Euro 4 really make a perceivable difference over the regular 93 octane pump gas? With a straight face, I can give you a big fat YES.
Don't expect it to make your four-cylinder feel like a V6. Instead, it gave me an extra 10 km/h or so when going up the EDSA-Shaw overpass. Hauling three extra passengers was also surprisingly effortless. And best of all, overtaking those pesky taxis, jeeps, and buses became a joy even if I'm in the wrong gear. I'm certain that those who love track days, hill climbs, and high speed runs will appreciate the benefits even more.
On the flip side, fuel economy remained unchanged at 8.5 km/L. Then I remembered how much heavier my right foot was during the drive. You see, the added pull from the engine made my driving a bit more enthusiastic. So I'm pretty sure that I could have gotten better figures if only I drove properly.
Healthy Living
For Blaze 100 to comply with Euro 4 standards, it had to have less of two things: sulfur and benzene. The new(er) regulation only allows gasoline to have 50 parts per million of Sulfur and only 1% of Benzene, as opposed to the 500 parts per million of Sulfur and 2% of Benzene that the current Euro 2 standard dictates. And when used in a Euro IV vehicle, harmful Carbon Monoxide (CO) emissions drop by as much as 70%.
Why is this so important? You see, combustion turns sulfur into Sulfur Dioxide, which when reacts with Oxygen, turns into acid rain. The 90% reduction of Sulfur also decreases the amount of soot that comes out of your tailpipes. Meanwhile, Benzene is considered as a human carcinogen and increases the risk of cancer. Not to mention, benzene also targets the liver, kidney, lungs, heart, and the brain.
Imagine if we all drove on Euro 4 fuel, we could probably half the city's pollution in a few years time and save a few thousand lives.
Return on Investment
If you drive relatively short distances, with very little need to go up steep ramps or hills, and regularly get stuck in rush hour traffic, then you probably won't notice the difference of running on high octane gasoline. Still, I do encourage everyone to give it a try at least once, especially if they're going on an all-important road trip. Results may vary depending on driving style, driving skill, and type of vehicle used, but I'm certain that you will feel a difference over the regular pump gas. And I haven't even covered those spirited drivers with performance cars, whom I'm sure need no intro to Blaze 100.
Besides the 100 octane rating, the biggest selling point of Blaze 100 Euro 4 is cleaner emissions. The promise of lower Carbon Monoxide, Sulfur, and Benzine being dumped into the air is too hard to ignore. Essentially, the premium we're all paying for is somehow paying off someone else's future hospital bill who will be suffering from a pollution caused health problem.
Sure, there are others who now have regular non-high octane Euro 4 fuel which costs less than Petron's Blaze 100 Euro 4. But taking into account how much better my car drove on 100 octane fuel, add to that Petron's strong reputation and vast service station network in the country, I'm more than willing to put my own money on this clean 100 octane fuel. Perhaps, so should you.