QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?





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  1. #1
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    Default QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Hi guys,

    I'm currently getting my Volkswagen Syncno ready for my trip through West-Africa up to Europe in about 2 years time. I just finished rebuilding my engine but had a conversation with a friend regarding petrol vs diesel through Africa.. Apparently Petrol is basically non-existent but I don't believe that as in most African countries the main transport people use are scooters and bikes.. And I've never seen a diesel scooter

    Anyways what does concern me is what quality (Octane) fuel can I expect to find there? My bus has got a very high compression ratio and actually needs 98 Octane (RON) from the factory.. But here in SA I just about get away with 95 Unleaded if I retard the timing. As far as I know the lowest we get here in SA is 93.. If the fuel is truly very low quality I might have to consider East Africa as my route because of this.. I hear its a bit more developed. Any info will be appreciated!
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    2WD ek werk in Wes -Afrika en ja daar is petrol voertuie maar nie baie nie en ons het self n 4lt v6 cruiser daar gery en het nie lank gehou nie want die petrol wat jy daar kry is nie van baie goeie gehalte nie.
    En ja daar is baie klien motor fietse wat op petrol ry maar ook baie staan.
    En die diesel is ook nie van goeie gehalte daar bo nie.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2WD View Post
    Hi guys,

    I'm currently getting my Volkswagen Syncno ready for my trip through West-Africa up to Europe in about 2 years time. I just finished rebuilding my engine but had a conversation with a friend regarding petrol vs diesel through Africa.. Apparently Petrol is basically non-existent but I don't believe that as in most African countries the main transport people use are scooters and bikes.. And I've never seen a diesel scooter

    Anyways what does concern me is what quality (Octane) fuel can I expect to find there? My bus has got a very high compression ratio and actually needs 98 Octane (RON) from the factory.. But here in SA I just about get away with 95 Unleaded if I retard the timing. As far as I know the lowest we get here in SA is 93.. If the fuel is truly very low quality I might have to consider East Africa as my route because of this.. I hear its a bit more developed. Any info will be appreciated!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200418_162152.jpg 
Views:	58 
Size:	462.7 KB 
ID:	582241
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_20200418_162144.jpg 
Views:	54 
Size:	474.5 KB 
ID:	582240

  3. The Following User Says Thank You to Leon Venter For This Useful Post:

    2WD

  4. #3
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Quote Originally Posted by Leon Venter View Post
    2WD ek werk in Wes -Afrika en ja daar is petrol voertuie maar nie baie nie en ons het self n 4lt v6 cruiser daar gery en het nie lank gehou nie want die petrol wat jy daar kry is nie van baie goeie gehalte nie.
    En ja daar is baie klien motor fietse wat op petrol ry maar ook baie staan.
    En die diesel is ook nie van goeie gehalte daar bo nie.
    So waarmee ry julle rond daar bo? Hoe dit vir my klink is dat n ou diesel engine die beste daar sal werk? Ek weet baie mense gooi tot Sonneblom olie in ou diesels en dit werk blykbaar goed. Waar in Wes-Afrika werk jy?

  5. #4
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Patrol of Cruiser 4.2. Hulle sal op varkvet ook loop
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  7. #5
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    re diesel vs petrol - I've never had a problem finding either (lots of experience in Southern Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, and North Africa, but have never driven in West Africa (west of Cameroon, south of Morocco)). As OP says - motorbikes everywhere and petrol available for them; also trucks (lorries) nearly everywhere and mostly diesel, so also available. However, not all of the time. There was a shortage of diesel a couple of years ago in Ethiopia, for example.

    re octane, we've found that you cannot expect to find high octane fuel everywhere. Newer vehicles are capable of adjusting themselves in real time to handle variable octane level (we've run our Montero 3.8L petrol engine) on 91 RON a fair amount of the time and it doesn't care). However if your engine is less flexible it could be a problem.

  8. #6
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Contact Dan Grec who has posted on this forum about his drive down West Africa in a petrol Jeep Wrangler (he lives in Canada so calls petrol “gas”). He also drove north through East Africa to Alexandria, Egypt. For sure, motorbikes are everywhere throughout Africa, but they won’t use fancy petrol. Simple is best.

    The eastern route is undoubtedly easier, not only because it is perfectly feasible to drive from the Cape to Cairo on tarmac roads, but also because of the extremely complex issue of lining up the visas for the West African route (and avoiding trouble spots courtesy of Boko Haram).

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  9. #7
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    As WW said, Dan Grec is the man with your answer. He made a video about gas vs petrol: https://youtu.be/zTsRhp2kaAI

    As for Octane...seems risky to me to use an engine with discerning fuel needs.
    Blog of our African travels: stuckinlowgear.com

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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    As already mentioned, Dan Grec from the US drove his petrol Wrangler down the East coast...
    While you on his website, support him by buying his pdf book The Road Chose Me.
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  13. #9
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Ons ry met cruisers en hilux bakkies is diesel engines en ons diens dit elke 5000km want anders begin hulle rukkerig ry omdat die diesel baie swak kwaliteit is.
    Jy moet net n baie goeie diesel filter sesteem op sit ook dink dit kan help.
    Werk in Burkina Faso , Mali , Murantania en Sierra Leone.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2WD View Post
    So waarmee ry julle rond daar bo? Hoe dit vir my klink is dat n ou diesel engine die beste daar sal werk? Ek weet baie mense gooi tot Sonneblom olie in ou diesels en dit werk blykbaar goed. Waar in Wes-Afrika werk jy?

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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Yes I've discovered Dan Grec on Youtube this week actually and what a fantastic channel! He gives information on just about everything and he often answers questions that I post in the comments. Great guy.

    He says he would never ever drive a vehicle that requires premium (98 RON) through West-Africa. But my theory is that modern engines advance/retard ignition timing as needed per what the knock sensor says.

    Now my Kombi isnt that fancy but I can easlily retard my timing a few degrees at the distributor if I find some dodgy fuel. I am also considering just building a small tank to house some lead additive/octane booster/Xylene just to make sure. But I will first experiment by driving to countries closer by like Zimbabwe Mozambique etc.

    My problem with East Africa is that the deposits are HUGE (Egypt&Kenya) While my Kombi isnt a R300 000 vehicle it will still put a big dent in my already very, very tight budget. (Just a student and doing all the building work myself).. And somehow the idea of West Africa being more wild with less tar roads appeals to me. Also I will be moving to Europe after the trip and shipping from Morocco is the best way to do that.

    If I find the engine stuggles to perform with very low quality fuel I might just install an old diesel that can run on just about anything, even fat if need be.. It should also extend my range quite a bit.

  16. #11
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    Default Re: QUESTION: Octane Fuel available in Africa? Diesel vs Petrol?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2WD View Post
    And somehow the idea of West Africa being more wild with less tar roads appeals to me.
    It has always been said: “if you want to see animals go East, if you want to see people go West”.

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