I was very interested to read the letter front Mr. Christopher Clarke, published in the issue for June 1978, concerning the difficulty experienced now in obtaining 5-star petrol since Shell dropped this grade in March of this year.
I own an MG-B GT the engine of which is virtually identical to that fitted to the Marina TC, and can testify to the fact that these cars run gomuch better on 5-star petrol, being much smoother and more responsive when the top grade is used, so that it is pointless to run the car on petrol of a lower Octane rating.
The problem is now, of course, that 5-star petrol is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. We know that the Trend is now to produce cars which will run happily on 2 or 3-star petrol but this is of little help to drivers whose cars were never designed to use low octane fuels, and wish to continue to buy 5-star only to find that it is no longer available.
What infuriated me when Shell announced that they were discontinuing 5-star was their bland statement that sales of this grade represented only a small percentage of their total petrol sales, so it was clear that they had no interest in selling petrol to a minority, and then their spokesman asserted that “most cars using 5-star can easily be adjusted to run on 4-star petrol”. Frankly this is rubbish, and confirms my doubts that Shell carried out little or no market research to establish what reaction there would be to the loss of 5-star petrol.
In this area I am fortunate in being able to obtain 5-star front Esso, Mobil and National Benzoic, and of these three Esso is the one most widely available, as most Esso stations stock 5-star, and this is the brand I use most frequently.
In view of the number of MG-Bs on the road and derivatives using the same engine, the decision of Shell to discontinue 5-star petrol seems very shortsighted, especially as there must be many drivers of other makes similarly affected by the loss of this grade of fuel.
One thing seems certain you can no longer be sure of Shell!
Purley GORDON P. WHITWORTHY