BP is stirring up the forecourt market with the launch of a new range of premium fuels called Ultimate.

The new range is being marketed with the ambitious promise of ‘more performance and less pollution’, and will be priced at an extra 3p for the diesel version and 5p for petrol. The initial launch phase has seen the new fuels rolled out at 400 company owned BP sites around the country. The dealer take-up will follow more gradually, as they re-balance their tanks.

The expectation is that dealers will be keen to stock it and enjoy some of the extra profitability from selling a premium-priced fuel which will benefit from an intensive publicity campaign including TV, radio and billboard activity towards the end of the year.

The new Ultimate range is seen as a rival to Shell’s premium petrol Optimax. However the BP range has taken the lead in having a diesel version as well, to cater for the tremendous growth in diesel sales – 10 per cent per year for the past four years.

The fuels were created to meet the specific demands of BP’s customers following a global survey of motorists – in the US, UK, Greece and Portugal. They wanted more from their engines and less from their exhausts; and wanted the fuel to work as well on old cars as new.

BP claims Ultimate unleaded can make a 1.6 litre engine vehicle perform more like a 1.8 litre model; and Ultimate Diesel can make a 1998 model perform like a 2002 model. The fuels are also said to improve fuel economy to give the motorist more miles per tank; they are also less polluting because BP Ultimate burns better and has twice the cleaning power of ordinary fuels.

Another interesting claim is that if all cars in the UK used Ultimate (petrol and diesel) in one year, it would be like removing at least a million cars from the roads in terms of the key engine emissions that contribute to pollution.