European-Style Octane Could Boost Efficiency, Power In US Engines

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
european style octane could boost efficiency power in us engines

Should United States gasoline octane standards be updated to match those in Europe, f uel efficiency could see a significant improvement, along with increases in engine power.

Ward’s Auto reports the Detroit Three powertrain bosses laid-out their case for increasing octane ratings before attendees at this year’s SAE World Congress. In short, by matching ratings with those in Europe — where the highest rating is 95+ — engineers could build engines for higher compression, leading to increases in fuel efficiency and power instead of the losses in both found in engines made for the U.S. market, where the highest rating available is 91.

The idea has precedent, as diesel fuel was brought in line with European standards seven years ago, with improvements to both engines and emissions as a result.

Though the Detroit Three bosses brought the issue up with the Department of Energy and various power players within the Beltway, only now have they brought it before the public, as Ford chief Bob Fascetti explains:

I can’t say we’ve actually lobbied together, but it’s a common-sense thing. If we had a single-octane fuel that was higher, then we can take advantage of that for the customer, we can implement higher compression ratios and we won’t be knock-limited on the fuel. It’s win-win for the innovators as well as for the customers.

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  • Samuel Morse Samuel Morse on Apr 10, 2014

    Most mainstream cars in Europa have gasoline engines running on 95 NO gasoline, while sport vehicles's manufacturers do recommend 98 NO gasoline for higher compression engines, usually above 9.5:1. Wonder if increasing octane index of US gasolines will lead to manufacturers having to increase their compression ratios of their engines.

    • Add Lightness Add Lightness on Apr 10, 2014

      In Europe that cars running on gasoline are rental, very high performance or cheap. The mainstream cars mostly run on diesel.

  • DrGastro997 DrGastro997 on Apr 10, 2014

    It's about time we get a true blend of high octane gas...

  • Beefmalone Beefmalone on Apr 10, 2014

    If we were really worried about fuel economy, we'd quit watering down our gas with 10% ethanol.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Apr 13, 2014

    Electric cars make all this topic meaningless.