Last July, I wrote a petition to Petron Philippines to create a premium diesel fuel offering that would cater to modern direct-injected diesel engined vehicles. I got a reply from Ms. Abigail Ramos of Petron 4 hours later (quick!). Her sincere reply was:
“Dear Mr. Garcia,
On behalf of Petron Corporation we would like to thank you for being a loyal customer of our world-class fuels.
We equally appreciate your invaluable suggestion for a premium diesel product concept as we strive to give what is truly essential to our customers.
We continuously listen to voice of our customers and in the process we collaborate with them to create the products best suited for their needs.
Your suggestion was correspondingly endorsed to our Research and Development Department that will conduct feasibility of the concept.
Rest assured that we will continue to promote our customers’ best interest at heart in the way we do business as part of our corporate thrust for good governance.
Thank you for choosing Petron to share this innovative idea that would truly be a first in the industry.
Abigail L. Ramos
Petron Customer Interaction Center”
Then, just a couple of months later Petron launches its “Turbo Diesel”, a premium diesel fuel product that’s also priced at a premium. Was my letter the tipping point? I’ll never know. Anyway, Petron’s new product was immediately followed by a launch of Shell’s V-Power Diesel, just a few weeks after.
If you would read both products’ press releases and literature, you wouldn’t find any specific claims. No concrete Cetane ratings, not even a claim for lowered sulfur content. Both Shell and Petron just state general claims such as “improved performance” and “better cleaning properties.”
Still, I was curious on a the new fuels’ effects or benefits so I topped up my car (a Hyundai Getz CRDi) with Shell V-Power Diesel. Believe it or not, the difference was almost immediate: the engine idles a more smoothly and with a tad less vibration. Power and response seemed to improve a bit too, and I’m pretty sure it not just my imagination. What’s more, there seems to be less smoke coming out of the tailpipe under aggressive acceleration. I’ve yet to determine mileage improvements when I deplete the first tank, so stay tuned. I will also try to top up with Petron’s Turbo Diesel for some impressions.
If you’ve read this far hoping I would arrive at a recommendation at the end, prepare to be disappointed as I can’t make an honest recommendation yet. In the first place, I’ve not ranked up enough miles/burned enough fuel to come up with even a subjective review. Second, the justification of Php2.50 price premium (in the case of Shell) is even more sensitive and arguable. If you are the type of person who wants nothing but the best for his car, then by all means fill ‘er up with either of these premium fuels. Besides, if you’ve invested hard earned cash on a diesel BMW X5, Audi A4 (my dream ride!), or even a Jeep Commander CRD, then the additional few pesos on “better” fuel shouldn’t be an issue.
Personally, for me and my trusty ol’ Getz, I think I’ll stick to the V-Power Diesel for now… I’ll definitely let you know if I change my mind.