With rising fuel prices and only a few signs of slowing down, motorists may want to consider some cost-cutting and fuel-saving measures to mitigate the impact that rising fuel prices have on their wallets and bank accounts. Big oil companies in the Philippines like Shell, Petron, and Caltex are often the main brands that people base their gasoline prices on, but what about alternative fuel companies that are willing to take a little less money?
We’ve compiled a list of alternative fuel brands in the Philippines, but are they trustworthy? Are there horror stories associated with these fuel companies? Let’s answer these questions one by one and expound on a few more. Note that the top-of-mind fuel stations that we’ll be covering in this article will be from our Top 8 underrated gas stations listicle. Check out the related link below for more!
Philippine National Standard (PNS)
The Philippines has a fuel quality standard aptly named the Philippine National Standard (PNS) for Petroleum products. Here are some of the acts that are associated with the standard:
Downstream Oil Industry Deregulation Act (R.A. 8479)
- ensure a truly competitive market for petroleum products under a regime of fair
- price, adequate and continuous supply of environmentally, clean, and high quality
- petroleum products
- Use of clean and safe (environment and worker-benign) technologies
- Standardization Mandate
Clean Air Act of 1999 (R.A. 8749)
- Set the specifications for all types of fuel and fuel-related products (Section 26)
- Every two (2) years or thereafter or as the need arises, the specification of ULG
- and diesels shall be reviewed and revised (Section 26)
Biofuels Act of 2006 (R.A. 9367)
- Establish technical fuel quality standards for biofuels and biofuel-blend gasoline
- and diesel which comply with the PNS (Section 7c)
Without getting into too much detail, there is a certain standard that all fuels sold in the Philippines adhere to. Whatever is refined should be of a certain standard, if not “better.”
Are alternative fuel brands trustworthy?
In line with the PNS, fuels sold in the country will be up to a certain standard which means that even the alternative brands will have fuels that you can trust should you drive a normal car. As long as the fuel that you buy is of the right specification for your vehicle (i.e. Octane/Cetane rating and etc.) then you should be good.
However, do keep in mind that different companies may have different formulations for their products, and it’s likely that a performance vehicle could have a recommended fuel. It’s best to check with your manufacturer as well if octane/cetane ratings is the only two factors to consider before you get into business with an alternative fuel supplier.
What are the benefits of going for alternative fuel brands?
Before we dive into the benefits of going with these other fuel companies, it’s important to mention that even the top three petroleum brands in the Philippines also offer similar benefits, discounts, and loyalty programs for their customers. It’s just that these alternate fuel stations are also stepping up and allowing
As mentioned, there is also a level of cleanliness that is associated with these standards, but some brands even go above and beyond to make sure that your car’s engine remains clean and that the fuel doesn’t gunk or harm the various componentry in your motor.
One such example is Sea Oil, which is partnered with STP additives that help keep your motor clean from gunk. The brand makes mention of STP on their website and clarifies that:
“SEAOIL fuels are, on their own, top-of-the-line when it comes to octane rating. Also, our gasoline products, EXTREME 97, EXTREME 95 and EXTREME U comply with Euro 4 standards. Our EXCEED Diesel complies with Euro 3 standards and is formulated to perform as good as Euro 5 diesel. All our fuels boast of a friction-busting formula that facilitates smoother and faster acceleration.” “Infusing STP Additives further enhances our fuels' keep-clean and clean-up capabilities by removing and controlling deposit buildup in different areas of the engine.” “These two features combined deliver racer-sharp engine performance.”
In practice, the additives are similar to what Caltex states in their ads for Techron. Quite a number of alternative brands in the petroleum industry are also partnered with some big names like Clean Fuel and Motul whether it’s for lubricants or for fuel additives that improve engine performance or longevity.
On top of that, some alternate brands offer huge discounts given a membership of some sort. The most famous one is with S&R and Uni Oil. With an S&R membership, you could get a substantial discount in any Uni Oil gas station. This is perhaps one of the biggest incentives for you to go with the brand especially given high fuel prices.
Finally, it’s likely that alternative fuel brands in the country will have a lower price compared to more mainstream brands. So it’s a good bet to at least check the pricing of these stations just so you can plan ahead or at least consider another fuel provider if you want to save a bit of money when you gas up.
How do I know I can trust fuels from alternative brands?
While the PNS exists, shipping, handling, and storage are also key to a fuel’s potency. If fuel is stored poorly, it has a tendency to gunk up and clog certain parts of your car which is a definite no-no. It also boils down to how far down the brand is in the supply chain. One industry term that is thrown around is “B-station,” which is essentially secondary brands that don’t necessarily get the “freshest catch of the day,” so to speak. Typically, these stations get what’s leftover from the refineries or from tankers that have some extra stock.
For most of the alternative brands that we’ve mentioned, however, it’s unlikely that these stations get leftovers. The number of branches or stations that a certain brand has matters a bit because the number of stations, in a way, indicates the strength of a brand’s supply chain is.
So it can all boil down to marketing, number of locations, supply chain, and product handling. If the fuel company keeps its facilities clean, it’s also a good sign that the fuel that they carry is also of quality. While not totally reliable, you also want to watch out for racing sponsorships with these brands, as motorsport is also another way that companies can prove their products in addition to marketing them to the public. Do some research, but you don’t have to get engrossed in the world of motorsport. Keep an eye out for fuel companies that have a hand in motorsport. If it’s good enough for the pros, it’s likely good enough for you.