By on August 7, 2015

 

Speaking at a conference this week, EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels for higher compression tolerance and more powerful engines, Automotive News is reporting.

Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar series, Grundler said the EPA has the authority to regulate fuel, but that the agency would investigate whether it would make sense to offer the higher-grade fuel. Grundler is the agency’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.

(Note to Grundler: You seem like a smart guy. Why can’t we all have race fuel all the time?)

Drivers would have to pay more at the pump, Grundler said, which would make regulating higher octane fuel more difficult to swallow.

However, as more manufacturers turn to turbocharging smaller displacement engines with higher compression ratios, the engines themselves could become more powerful and applicable to a larger range and car size. But will they last?

For example, Mercedes Benz’s 2-liter, turbocharged engine produces 177.5 hp/l, a figure that was almost unheard of in mass-produced passenger cars 20 years ago. The fleet averages though, still hover around 100 hp/l.

Grundler said the EPA would investigate whether higher-octane fuels, or something probably not as exciting, would help manufacturers continue to build bigger, heavier, safer cars, but with more efficient, smaller, fuel-sipping engines.

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124 Comments on “Higher Octane Could Solve All of Our Problems...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    They are always looking for ways to keep pump prices as high as possible, aren’t they?

    “Grundler said the EPA would investigate whether higher-octane fuels, or something probably not as exciting, would help manufacturers continue to build bigger, heavier, safer cars, but with more efficient, smaller, fuel-sipping engines.”

    Which is completely asinine.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yes, he sounds like he wants an M1 Abrams Tank with a 1.0 ltr turbo (running on 200 octane gas), seating for 7, and still meets CAFE targets.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The M1 Abrams does get a sweet 0.6 MPG. It also comes with a Wankel engine APU for enthusiasts. It probably burns less oil than the RX-7 though.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Military Grade Apex Seals FTW!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            As someone that was an airborne infantryman in the US Army, I find the Abrams is be equal parts amazing and terrifying. I would not want to be on the other end. Other extremely terrifying bringers of death include the AH-64 Apache and the A-10 Thunderbolt (Warthog). The sound of GAU-8 30 MM cannon on the Warthog, to me, is the sound of Death. He does not have a sickle anymore. He has upgraded to a GAU-8.

    • 0 avatar
      jdogma

      “They are always looking for ways to keep pump prices as high as possible, aren’t they?” The article says automakers want higher octane fuels available at the pump. Automakers certainly do not want high fuel costs.
      Higher octane fuel does allow engines to be designed for higher mileage and higher power density.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I wasn’t referring to the automakers.

        • 0 avatar
          jdogma

          The only other “they” in the article is the EPA, but the EPA says the automakers are asking them.
          “EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels”.
          So who do you think wants high fuel prices and what in the article backs that up?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Fedgov wants high pump prices. How this is accomplished and by which tentacle of gov’t is not relevant.

        • 0 avatar
          tmport

          Why would the federal government want higher gas prices? Cheaper gas contributes to better GDP growth, and the federal gas tax does not vary with the price of gas.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Why would some elements of the federal government want a higher minimum wage that will take inflation beyond deniable levels? The Fed will have to raise interest rates and our 135% of GDP debt will quickly eat all tax receipts in debt maintenance alone, leaving nothing but freshly printed cash for ‘mandatory’ spending. Same reason.

        • 0 avatar
          tmport

          CJinSD, can you quote anyone who has advocated raising the minimum wage in order to drive inflation up? I don’t think you can because it’s a nonsensical argument.

          By the way, do you know what the current federal minimum wage amounts to on an annualized basis? Assuming a 40-hour work week, it comes to about $15,000. Raising it to $10 would amount to a $20,000 annual salary. Do you really think that’s going to lead to runaway inflation? You can perhaps scrape by on $20,000 in South Dakota, but anywhere else that’s a poverty wage. I get that there are plenty of people in this country who have no problem with keeping a sizable potion of the population in permanent poverty (and have the economic and political power to make sure they get their way), but that doesn’t mean they’re right.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Hillary and Bernie are advocating for a $15 minimum wage. Saying it’s not inflationary is like arguing against gravity. Demand a refund from your educational institutions.

          • 0 avatar
            tmport

            Actually, most evidence suggests that raising the minimum wage does not cause increased inflation–it’s much more complicated than that. On a broader level, is $15 too high? Probably, especially for a federal minimum wage. $15 might be appropriate for many high-wage areas, but not for other parts of the country.

            Our country has a serious problem with income inequality. Some people prefer it that way, and that’s why the Republican Party exists.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            A drone honey bee has greater economic comprehension than you do. The Republican party exists to create the illusion of choice for the frogs that can tell the water is getting hotter. There is a special brand of dolt that thinks the party that wants to make energy a luxury good and flood the job market with illegal immigrants cares more about the working classes than the party that claims to support Constitutional restraints on government. Wages have been stagnant since the EPA was created. Full stop.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This path would provide two simultaneous outcomes:

    1. The “desired” one, whereby cars get better fuel economy with smaller engines.

    2. The “undesired” one, in which the horsepower wars begin afresh, and we’re treated to the Hellcat 1000.

    As an aggregate result, consumers won’t really burn less fuel, but they’ll pay more for it. And fuel-generated road taxes will remain a problem.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Are octane boosting additives really entirely benign, post combustion? Or is this just more of the same fallacy that got the drones all excited about spewing diesel soot all over the old continent: “Saving the world” from soda burps, by substituting cancerous particulates instead?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @stuki:
        It depends on the additive.

        For instance, the tetraethyl lead in 100LL avgas (that’s 100 octane low-lead aviation gasoline) ain’t exactly benign, and it smells funny when you’re standing in the propwash of a small airplane, slowly adding to your lifetime lead exposure.

        On the other hand, ethanol has a greater resistance to preignition than regular gasoline, and people drink that stuff at partiesp. Sometimes they even use it to light their food on fire in fancy restaurants.

        • 0 avatar
          Bob Parks

          Ethanol has a natural octane rating of 120 to 130. I have often wondered why we do not produce some vehicles with turbocharged smaller engines with high compression that use pure ethanol.

          When ethanol is used in lower compression engines that do not take advantage of its’ higher octane rating, it provides 70-75% of the range that gasoline does.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Wasn’t aware avgas was still spiked with lead. Which is par for the course, as I’m not a pilot. But quite a few holier-than-thou Tesla owners are…… :)

          If a pure ethanol additive would work well enough; we’ve got the auto lobby plus the corn lobby plus one of the last bastions of private sector unions all aligned on the same side. I’d say that increases the odds of higher octane gas…..

      • 0 avatar
        jdogma

        Fuel is a blend of many constituents. It is possible to blend very high octane fuel with no metallic additives and no alcohols. Alcohols can be good high octane fuel, but because they already contain an oxygen atom, part of the molecule is not taking part in the combustion process, so mileage suffers.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Sounds fine to me, SEC…those who really want higher mileage get it, and the much smaller group who wants the 1000HP HELLCAT gets their cake as well. And both groups pay more for it. Fair enough

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The automakers want everyone to have to buy this high octane gas. If everyone doesn’t have to, then only complete imbeciles would pay for an expensive ‘fuel efficient’ car that will cost them more at the pump. There is nothing fair about what is being done, unless you mean it is fair for the people that voted for hope and change to get shuffled through the welfare class on their way to the ‘sustainable’ concentration camps.

    • 0 avatar
      jdogma

      You think horsepower wars are bad and you are a car enthusiast? Maybe for punishment, you should travel by bike for a week. Ha ha.

  • avatar
    a5ehren

    From TFA:

    “Automakers have said they can continue making engines smaller and more powerful if high octane fuel of about 95 octane were the new regular. ”

    Making 95 the new baseline seems a bit extreme…making 91 or 93 the new base and allowing 95/97 to be the new premium would seem more sensible.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      More or less this^

      Drop the 87 and 89. 91 regular, 93 plus, 97 super.

      • 0 avatar
        Flivver

        87 Octane is crap. The Germans used this stuff during the War and lost. You can make it out of coal, old potato peelings, whatever is lying around. If your car is worth anything, you should use a decent grade of gasoline, something which would give the EPA weenies a heart attack, like 100 Octane made with radioactive lead.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I thought WW2 to late 50s era gasoline was in the 70s, which is why cars had such low compression ratios.

          A 1949 Oldsmobile 88 only making 135 horsepower is suddenly more forgivable when you realize it had a 7.5:1 compression ratio.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Rather than worrying about the quality of gasoline in the US, maybe the poorer quality diesel you guys use should be investigated first.

    The US diesel full has made it impossible for the SkyActive Mazda diesel to operate in the US.

    The US does refine EU/AU/NZ/Japanese/etc quality diesel for the EU market in the Gulf states.

    EU quality diesel has a higher cetane rating which allows a diesel engine to operate with a lower compression ratio. Pressure equates to heat, more heat produces more NOx.

    US diesel is more abrasive, ie, it has a higher scar rate. This affects the longevity of the mechanical components (pumps) and injectors in a diesel engine.

    US diesel has 50% more sulphur in it. This also impacts the costs of reducing emissions in diesel exhaust systems.

    Changing to a better quality diesel will have a far greater impact in reducing the price and reliability of diesel power in the US.

    I don’t know why such a significant issue like I’ve just presented is never brought up on US car/auto sites.

    • 0 avatar
      cwallace

      Is US diesel made with corn? That might be the problem, ensuring that ethanol diesel makes as big a mess of engines as ethanol gas does. Gotta keep things fair.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        cwallace,
        That wasn’t the point of my comment.

        Maybe corn should not be used for fuel and the number corn farmers either reduced and the socialist handouts given to them stopped.

        This will force them to grow what is needed and not subsidised, the same goes for canola in the EU for bio diesel.

        • 0 avatar
          Bob Parks

          As we made fuel from food, people in the Middle East were going hungry. One of the reasons for the Arab Spring.

          Our legislators have also forgotten the Dust Bowl of the 1930s when crops failed because of extreme drought in the Midwest.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I don’t need to read BAFO’s post to know that it’s wrong, because he always is.

        Don’t bother with it. Do your own homework, and scroll past his redundant, inaccurate screeds.

        • 0 avatar
          jdogma

          Most everything he said about diesel fuel is accurate. I’m not a diesel fan (hate the smell and don’t think they are ideal performance engines), but as a chemist with a lot of fuel study, I think he is correct.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            One thing that cetane and octane levels have in common: They measure combustibility, not quality.

            I noted to him in the past that in spite of having a higher regulatory threshold that diesel in the US has sulfur levels that are below 10 ppm. (He has real difficulty distinguishing between is permitted and what is practiced.) And in case, the point is irrelevant, anyway; higher sulfur fuel isn’t worse from an engineering standpoint. The air would be a bit cleaner with the lower sulfur fuel, but that’s it.

            US diesel is so, er, terrible that it gets exported to Europe. I suppose that his Google skills crapped out at misunderstanding Wikipedia.

          • 0 avatar
            jdogma

            Neither cetane and octane are measured in levels.- for instance, a high octane number race fuel could have (and likely does) close to 0% octane.

            Neither cetane number nor octane number are a measure of combustibility.

            Diesel exports are probably formulated to meet the specs required where they will be used.

            BTW, if you want to get real crap diesel – or gasoline for that matter, try Mexico… I think US diesel is great!

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “Cetane number (CN) is an empirical parameter associated with the ignition delay time of diesel fuels, which is determined by means of standard tests based on the ASTM D613 standard…The ignition delay time of diesel cycle engines is a fundamental parameter to effectively control the combustion process”

            http://www.hindawi.com/journals/jc/2012/738940/

            As is the case with octane, there’s no reason to use a grade of fuel that doesn’t match the requirements of the motor.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Biodiesel is made from soy. It’s a very high quality, cleaner burning product, and it makes 10x more sense to make biodiesel than corn ethanol if we are going to waste precious resources growing fuel.

        Nitrous Oxides can also be reduced by variable injection timing or the miller cycle. Early injection timing for more power, and late injection timing for a cleaner less hot burn at lower compression. The miller cycle achieves the same result and can be done by timing the intake and exhaust valve overlap so some of the intake air goes out the exhaust during the compression stroke resulting in a lower compression and higher expansion ratio, resulting in lower temperature at the end of the expansion.

      • 0 avatar
        Flivver

        No, diesel fuel is not made from corn. Corn is used to make ethanol, which is blended into gasoline.

        Depending on the crude source and the refinery, diesel fuel may have varying amounts of sulfur in it. The best quality diesel fuel is the low sulfur stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      You will find that there are just as significant differences in gasoline/petrol between major world markets as you will find among diesel fuels. I know Japan did (may still?) use lower-octane gasoline with a relatively high vapor pressure that made it more prone to vapor lock in high temperature conditions.

      I’m sure Mazda’s problem with US diesel is the cetane rating. I recall Mazda was trying to make a high-speed diesel with an unusually low compression ratio which with a low-cetane fuel would make low rpm performance pretty bad.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        cdotson,
        Thanks for your comment, as I agree with you.

        I do think it comes down to where the source of crude comes from in how and what can be obtained as fuels/oils/chemicals.

        The three major oil markets are WTI, Brent and Tapis. These are naturally centred in the three major industrial regions globally.

        I do think a major factor influencing the lower quality diesel in the US is the use of distillates for heating, both commercially and domestically.

        This is driven by the US energy policy as well as being used as form of technical barrier to imported vehicles. The technical barrier aspect of the difference in US diesel quality will gradually diminish as the US and EU standards become more closely aligned. This alignment will produce a cheaper end product with vehicles and refining of oil.

        The US energy policy should of been directed at removing distillates for heating and natural gas infrastructure put in place rather than expended massive tax payer resources into EVs, Hybrids, windmills, solar, etc.

        The development of adequate natural gas infrastructure would of had a greater impact in reducing CO2 emissions. Due to the massive quantity of natural gas within the US the global downturn in energy prices, particualary fossil fuels would of had less of an impact on the local US producers as they are encountering now.

        Pumping money to farmers for votes and implementing irresponsible policy and regulations to support socialist/protective handouts and subsidies is not the best path to follow.

        I do think we are squandering our resources. The use of natural gas as I’ve mentioned would of also allowed for more breathing space as we globally wind down our reliance on fossil fuels.

        It’s not just the US it’s all OECD nations who must stop this waste of taxpayer funded waste and start to develop more sustainable changeover to new energy forms, that are economical viable.

        • 0 avatar
          jdogma

          Consider that everything you eat, everything you wear and the building materials for much of your home is made from CO2 that was taken from the air by plants. CO2 is present in only trace amounts in our atmosphere – less than Argon! We are at about .04% now. Plant growth stops at about .02%. We are now seeing increased plant growth (crop yields) due to the slightly increased amount of CO2. If you believe that CO2 is a major cause of atmospheric heating, calculate the heating from human caloric input into the atmosphere. It is more than 10X higher – but we don’t see the effects… CO2 is not a pollutant at the levels we have. Politicians see something to tax – that’s about it.

    • 0 avatar
      mike9o

      The US EPA has required Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel since 2006.

      http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/dieselfuels/

      For those who prefer graphics over text, here’s an easy to understand map of diesel fuel sulfur levels.

      http://transportpolicy.net/index.php?title=Global_Comparison:_Fuels

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        So? What’s your point?

        This doesn’t take away the fact that US USLD has 50% more sulphur as measured in ppm as compared to most other OECD competitors.

        It will still cost more to reduce emissions using US diesel and your components wear quicker, you’ll still need to run a higher compression diesel engine increasing NOx.

        What is your point?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “I don’t know why such a significant issue like I’ve just presented is never brought up on US car/auto sites.”

      Big Al – The answer is because so little automotive diesel is used in the US. Nobody cares.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The fact that his points are wrong has a lot more to do with it. He values redundancy, not accuracy.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Pch101,
          Provide links showing how I’m incorrect.

          Provide links showing the differences between US and EU diesel.

          You will not do this as it will destroy the spin you are dispersing.

          You tend to support very left wing socialist ideals.

          When these are challenged you tend to make statements that are unsupported.

          You expect me to accept your position of “I’m Pch101 and it’s beneath me to justify or validate credibility in my comments”.

          You are the typical educated socialist. Everyone and everything around you is insignificant and you know better.

          You deem most around you as serfs and plebs to furnish the socialist elite with glory.

          What a fncked up cnnt you are.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Oh sit on it Al. Nobody gives a pinch of monkey crap about your nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Big Al from Mauritius,
            Obviously some do.

            So, let’s talk about the draconian Chicken Tax that is making the US pickup consumer pay more for a pickup than is necessary.

            I do know you don’t like talking Chicken Tax as you believe in ripping off your American neighbours.

          • 0 avatar
            bosozoku

            Ugh, Al will you kindly bugger off? Your myopic blathering really ruins the comment section for me (and I’m sure many others).

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Don’t worry about BAFO, just scroll past him (and feel free to mock him as you do.)

            Is the dumb bugger still confusing cetane levels with fuel quality? I didn’t even read his posts on this thread, but I have no doubt that he’s displaying the same ignorance now that he was two years ago.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Al I have a Frontier and I’ve done the math…I probably paid less for it than the average Navarra customer buying a similarly equipped truck. No I can’t get your stinkin’ little diesel, then again, you can’t keep up with my VQ40 in your stinkin’ little diesel.

            By the way, they ARE the same $*@)ing truck…I have driven a ton of both of them. The only real difference is that a Frontier with a stick doesnt feel like the shifter is stuck into a bowl of overcooked noodles like the Navarra.

            I’ve driven most of the so called global pickups. America ain’t missing anything. You can keep em’ and drive em’ right up where the Aussie sun dont shine.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Big Al from Murica???
            Somehow I think you have your wired crossed.

            I can’t buy a Navara similar to your Frontier.

            Also, a mid-spec 4×4 Navara is around USD $28k. This is in diesel form. So a gas version (if we could get it) would be a couple of grand cheaper.

            The price above is the recommended retail price as well, you could easily get a few grand off of that.

            Read this article and tell me if you have a midizer like the Navara we have.

            If this Navara was released in the US it would give the other pickup manufacturers a run for their money.

            Read the article as it will interest you.

            Also, somehow I don’t think you have actually driven many of the “first world” midsizers that are available.

            Afghanistan is not reknown for it’s leading edge vehicle market.

            Read up on the new Navara. I’m surprised such a significant global vehicle didn’t receive much coverage by TTAC???

            http://www.drive.com.au/new-car-reviews/2015-nissan-navara-first-drive-review-20150528-ghc3hx.html

          • 0 avatar
            mr.cranky

            @Big Al- You’d make more sense if you didn’t veer off into left-wing liberal bashing. It’s really too bad because you were onto a good point.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            MrCranky,
            As a matter of fact I’m neither left or right.

            I despise the far right and centre left. These types tend to do more damage to a nation than the centerists.

            Poltically I’m an Economic Liberal. The word liberal doesn’t denote “left” either.

            I believe the consumer comes first, not industry, unions, etc. I believe the government/s should be their to protect and provide the consumer with the best possible outcomes.

            My view is if the consumer is managed all else will easier to manage.

            But, if you look at how both the Dems and GOP have managed they tend to cater to industry and large unions over the consumer.

            Consumerism is what makes the world go round.

            Not paying farmers to grow subsidized crops or artificially inflate the price of imported to pickup to make them uncompetitive.

            There are many instruments government uses to massage and influence. The problem is industry become dependent on these instruments for their survival. This creates inefficiencies and waste.

            If you look at the US motor industry their is a interwoven web of barriers, tariffs, controls, etc, from the farm to the importation of vehicles.

            How much is all of this costing the consumer or in other words taxpayer?

            The proponents like Pch101 who constantly misinforms to justify his position and paradigms.

            I would really like to know what industry/department he works for. I’d bet his commentary on this site is a little more than his own interest in motor vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Sure. You’d get the base has motor and it would cost less. And we get the new Navarra what, next year. In the mean time I guess if I just have to have a diesel Nissan I can preorder the Titan with the 5.0 Cummins. Maybe it’ll get reviewed here so you can see what a real truck with a real diesel is like since you won’t get it in your magnificently open market.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            And I’m pretty sure we imported the trucks in Afghanistan. Can’t really run down to your local Ford dealer and order up several thousand Rangers there. They all had state department stickers if I remember.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      The bigger issue with widespread adoption of diesel fuel in the U.S. is pollution, especially particulates and NOx:

      http://www.hybridcars.com/will-america-avoid-europes-clean-diesel-problems/

      A few relevant quotes:

      As automakers are contemplating more diesel models for the U.S., some in Europe are backing away as EU authorities admit failures after two decades of trying to curb emissions from a technology that could cause cancer.

      In June 2012, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer raised diesel exhaust from “Group 2 “ – “probably carcinogenic to humans,” to Group 1, “carcinogenic to humans.”

      This classified diesel emissions worse than those from Group 2B gasoline engines, and ranked it alongside compounds including plutonium, radium, arsenic, and asbestos.

      And regardless of the WHO, John Swanton, air pollution specialist for the California Air Resources Board (ARB), said his influential state has rigorously evaluated diesel emissions and formed its own conclusions.

      The complex mix of particles and gases resulting from high-pressure diesel engine combustion has been shown to contain 41 “toxic air contaminants.”

      “Diesels produce a legally identified toxic air contaminant,” Swanton said. “Once it becomes a legally identified toxic air contaminant we can go over and above [regulating] what can be addressed with regular pollutants.”

      Lessons From Europe

      Although the WHO lacked data on clean diesels, and suggested public health may improve with them, the European Union admitted two months ago its emission policies have been ineffective for two decades.

      In London, one hundred air monitors positioned around the city reveal air quality that is as much as 3-4 times higher than WHO guidelines.

      “Mistakenly, Europe has allowed diesel vehicles to emit vastly more of the harmful pollutants than petrol vehicles in the same category in its pursuit for somewhat illusory CO2 emission reductions from diesel,” said Birkett. “Carcinogenic diesel exhaust is likely to plague European cities for the foreseeable future and campaigners are seeking to have it banned from the most polluted places by 2020.”

      Birkett says he is “worried that European vehicle emission standards continue to underperform and won’t begin to require more realistic test cycles until 2017 or later.”

      But according to David Carslaw, a professor at the UK’s Kings College deeply involved in emissions research, while acknowledging U.S. policy seems more progressive than Europe’s, he and colleagues Frank Kelly and Martin Williams urged caution.

      “Europe has for light duty vehicles different emission limits for petrol and diesel vehicles. For Euro 5 diesel vehicle (from September 2009) the NOx limit is 0.18 g/km; Euro 6 from September 2014 is 0.08 g/km,” he said via e-mail. “In the U.S. they have different ‘tiers’ and a very different test cycle. As I understand it a manufacturer of vehicles must ensure the fleet average is below 0.07g/mile (0.04 g/km), i.e. no specific limit for diesels. On balance the USA tend to be ahead of Europe in terms of setting emission limits.

      Favorable taxation for diesel vehicles and fuel has stacked the deck for oil burners in Europe.

      Schaeffer however said if Carslaw speculated about America equaling Europe’s diesel acceptance rate and having similar problems, then that is a “huge hypothetical.”

      “It’s never going to happen here, he said. “For one we’re never going to reach 50 percent, and two the U.S. emissions standards are far higher.”

      Regarding the EU versus the U.S. question, Schaeffer said – this is a “challenging area.”

      He summarized a few key points:

      · U.S. emissions laws require all vehicles and fuels to comply with the same requirements (fuel neutral)
      · U.S. emissions laws require significantly cleaner vehicles with longer emissions warranty periods, with advanced on-board diagnostics (OBDII) including 13 diagnostics for emissions; the EU’s diagnostic requirements are far less extensive and do not fully correlate with emissions
      · The testing cycles in the U.S. encompass a far greater range of operation (altitude, high temps, etc.) requiring emissions performance from -10 to 95F than does Europe; the U.S. requires emissions durability for 120,000 miles/10 years; EU 62,500 miles/5 years
      · The U.S. certifies vehicle emissions on a fleet-wide average basis. The EU does not use such a fleet-wide basis.
      · The EU is focusing more on the number of particles emitted and the US on the mass of particles emitted.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The biggest issue is that Americans don’t care about diesel. If Americans wanted diesels, then automakers would be making them.

        Diesel does well in places in which incentives are provided to use it. The US does not have gas taxes that are high enough to create benefits of diesel usage, nor does the US have fuel subsidies as has India, for example. There is no real compelling reason for the average American household to switch.

        • 0 avatar
          Exfordtech

          I agree about the issue of cost. The European tax model favors diesel over gasoline, and combined with less stringent emissions requirements has created an air pollution issue for them. I was more intending to direct my point to BAFO that his plea for widespread diesel adoption in the U.S. will run into issues beyond just taxation. Per API, (as of 7/15/2015) the nationwide average tax (fed plus state) on gasoline is $0.4888 per gallon, and on diesel is $0.5440 per gallon. That’s little more than a nickel difference in tax. If diesel was all he implies it to be, then we’d all be driving them, but the payback for the fuel economy gains is swallowed up by the higher initial cost of the engine, coupled with higher fuel cost due to the need to clean up the fuel to reduce emissions, along with the cost of added maintenance of NOx reduction add-ons. If we adopted the cleaner diesel he is promoting, the cost of the fuel goes up even more, and pushes the payback further down the road. Since the difference in taxation is virtually insignificant, it appears to me the market has spoken regarding diesel vs. gas in the U.S.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            BAFO is the same half-wit who can’t figure out that differences in maximum allowable sulfur levels are irrelevant to production and the marketplace.

            I haven’t read his comments for about the last two years, including the ones above. But I’m willing to bet that he banged on about sulfur and cetane on this thread because he’s a broken record who makes the same inaccurate points over and over and over and over and over again.

            Trying to educate him is a complete waste of time. Not worth the effort; no amount of information will ever penetrate his tiny, anti-American skull.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Exfordtech,
            You are correct using the current quality diesel fuel available in the US.

            A better quality diesel fuel will reduce the cost to the consumer.

            As for the comments above regarding the pollutants emitted by diesel are rather malicious and written by some Greenie, in other words highly inaccurate.

            A GDI engine emits up to 1000 times more parituclates than diesel.

            Also, France has back stepped with its view regarding diesel engines. They have recently found out that the modern diesel (EuroV) is actually polluting less than the GDI engines.

            The US will not adopt diesel as gasoline is favoured with the use of regulatory controls, similar to how France has favoured diesel.

            Yep, guys research.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            Sooo, what would happen to the global diesel market if a sizable chunk of the US fleet went diesel. We export a lot of diesel. What if we started using it. You’d pay more for diesel until they built more refineries.

            So shove is.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    More pointless meddling. Your ECU already knows, via the knock sensor, whether you cheaped out on gas. If your car requires premium and you put the cheap stuff in, the information display should be programmed to read, “Hey cheapass! Why did you fill my tank with crap gas??”

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      My mother drives an Acura that requires premium fuel. I told her many years ago to just use regular unleaded instead because she drives like there’s a raw egg between her foot and the gas pedal. Her vehicle never sees more than 3000 rpm, even merging on the highway. Yes, it drives me nuts…but thankfully, almost all of her driving in around town and hardly ever on the highway. Anyway, I like the idea that modern cars will retard ignition timing upon the first sign of knock. That way, there’s really no danger in my mother saving some money at the pump when she spends 99% of the timing driving like a grandma. My guess is that her engine has experienced zero pre-ignition despite the fact that she’s using 87 octane in a vehicle designed for 91.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        My Ford doesn’t break 3000rpm pulling onto the highway either, yet I’m easily matching the speed of traffic by the time I’m merging.

        As fun as it might be, you don’t need to floor it every time.

      • 0 avatar
        bosozoku

        My 90’s Honda Civic rarely sees 3k+ rpms. I can do pretty all my driving (city/suburban highway mix) in the lower range without any issues keeping up or sensibly passing. And that’s with a 1.6L from 20 years ago.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    I hope we do see 95 octane regular. The introduction of widely available high octance fuel gives me good reason to get my stand alone ECM re-tuned and maybe add a couple more PSI of boost to go with the increased timing values.

  • avatar
    brux2dc

    Maybe if we just followed the Euro example of the lowest level of available gas be 91 AKI (95 RON) that would raise the octane levels, and decrease costs by establishing a larger market base. Removing 87 would also remove all of the cost involved in making the 87, and simplify the logistics of moving gas around. Lastly, why in the world is 85 being specially made for areas like Colorado? I know it’s a performance equivalence thing, but it seems like it is just expensive to make a special blend for the mile high folks.

  • avatar
    Dan

    This is win win from the manufacturers side.

    Higher MPG to satisfy CAFE. Higher sticker mileage for advertising. Higher pump prices to force consumers towards the smaller cars that we don’t want but CAFE requires them to build.

    And lose lose for the people paying for it but with the EPA we should all be used to that by now.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      When the government sets fuel economy standards, who do you think is most likely to be invited to the talks? An auto exec, or you? That should give you an idea about who the rules are designed to benefit.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There’s no CAFE benefit.

      I realize that you have this impulsive need to blame Washington for everything, but step back and ask yourself who taxes displacement. (Hint: It ain’t the US. Oh, and a lot of them speak Mandarin. Some of the others speak Portuguese.)

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Pch101,
        Washington plays a significant role in setting CAFE targets.

        If not why do the monies from CAFE penalties go to Washington?

        CAFE is counter productive in helping the US consumer, as it forces up the price of purchasing a vehicle. It also provides a technical barrier to US industry, thus reducing competition. This reduces consumer choice.

        What CAFE has done is forced the US manufacturers to use new and more expensive technologies in producing vehicles for the consumer.

        The EU model has allowed for a greater use of existing technologies.

        This is evident in the US commercial vehicle sector where FE is determined by mass and not footprint, similar to the EU model.

        The commercial sector would of not accepted a CAFE footprint model which would of unnecessarily increased the cost of investing in transport vehicles.

        The US commercial vehicle sector is protected by the chicken tax and cars are more or less protected via CAFE, fuel standards, differing but no better safety regulations.

        These instruments are enacted and enforced by Washington. But the UAW, big enery, Big 3, etc are also there.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Be real. The manufactures would not build as efficient cars for the size if they were not forced to do so. Look at what happened when gas mileage standards were frozen for years on end. The makers met the bare minimum for year after year as the actual cars got bigger, heavier, and faster. All the efficiency gained by technology was completely offset for speed and size. Yeah, everybody says they want faster cars but most I know would settle for an 8 sec zero to sixty times instead of 6 as a fair trade for better mileage. CAFE is flawed in its execution for sure, but leaving efficiency to the “free market” would be a disaster.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Yet the only areas of the US economy/society that are certifiable disasters (health care, drugs, schools…), are those that are not “left to the free market.” Strange, isn’t it?

            While those pesky, free market, computers keep getting more and more efficient every year, despite nary a “standard” in sight.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            golden2husky,
            I did not state to the contrary of your point.

            I agree with you, but your comment has little to do with my comment.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            “Look at what happened when gas mileage standards were frozen for years on end. The makers met the bare minimum for year after year as the actual cars got bigger, heavier, and faster.”

            That had nothing to do with CAFE being frozen and everything to do with gas being cheap. CAFE was left entirely alone from 1985 through 2007 and only made harsh under Obama’s radical revisions in mid 2009. Consider development lead times and product reflecting that didn’t begin to show up until 2012-13 and it still isn’t all here.

            And through simple economics with no input from CAFE whatsoever, US new car economy increased from 28.5 to 33.9 mpg from 2000-2010. You think Toyota sold a million Priuses to meet a 27 mpg unadjusted CAFE standard?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Sorry guys if my English (grammar) is offensive.

            I just smash out comments. Maybe I should make a draught copy then rectify any errors (I do this at work)………………….Na eff it, live with it;)

        • 0 avatar
          Exfordtech

          I hate to be the grammar police, but some things just grate upon my ears due to my education by the CSJ (Sister’s of St. Joseph for you heathens). The contraction of would have is would’ve. Would of makes no sense.

          • 0 avatar
            BuzzDog

            Well, Exfordtech, as a fellow survivor of Catholic primary and graduate schools, I’m going to have to confiscate your Grammar Police badge.

            The plural form of “Sister” is “Sisters” (no apostrophe). The form you used in your post would have been correct, had you intended the possessive form (“the Sister’s habit”).

            Now, young man, you will march over to the corner and stand in the wastepaper basket until the bell rings. Perhaps you can recite the rosary as you contemplate your many misdeeds.

            (Yes, I figured out the nun-schtick quite well while I was serving my sentence, I mean, getting an education).

          • 0 avatar
            Exfordtech

            @ BuzzDog
            Well at least that’s better than the paddle (remember when corporal punishment was allowed, even expected in parochial school?) or the chalkboard pointer swung down upon your desk by that little old habit wearing nun that just missed your knuckles and scared the daylights out of you as you were found to be not paying attention (run on sentence, but since I already lost my badge …). I always think of my first grade class with 40 kids, and you could hear a pin drop, whenever a school district trumpets a low student to teacher ratio as part of the reason your property taxes are so high. There were no social promotions, kids were kept back if they didn’t pass, the horror!

          • 0 avatar

            I’m pretty sure that the use of the possessive preposition “of” eliminates the need for a possessive apostrophe, though come to think of it, the possessor would be Mercy, not Sisters. Sisters of Mercy = Mercy’s Sisters.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        “There’s no CAFE benefit.”

        So meeting a given output level with a lower displacement engine on the strength of high test juice doesn’t affect mileage? Don’t be obtuse.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Er, reducing cubic inches while maintaining the same power output does not magically save fuel. Fuel gets burned by power output, not by cubic centimeters.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Turbo engines make it easier to maintain higher power in an engine that can still obtain good EPA ratings. You (Along with most leading engineers at least at Toyota) are likely very much correct that actual fuel economy in broad spectrum, or random, or even common, use does not increase by swapping an NA engine for a smaller turbo one. But meeting CAFE is not about real world usage. It’s about performing well on/gaming the EPA test. Which certainly has some correlation to realistic real world usage, but not enough to not skew engine engine developments in the direction of engines that make gaming easier. Even if they don’t simultaneously improve real world economy.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            American automakers could make everything with higher compression to run on premium if they wanted to.

            This isn’t about turbos. It is possible to attach turbos to all kinds of engines to get the same benefit. It isn’t necessary to use 95 octane on the US AKI scale (which would be about 99-100 octane in Europe) in order to build turbo motors. As it stands, US automakers tend to make vehicles that run on regular, since many Americans freak out about being required to pay for premium.

            The pressure to reduce displacement is coming from markets such as Brazil and China, which are growing in importance and which do tax displacement. There is a reason why automakers are producing motors that come in at just under the 1.0 liter mark, and that reason has nothing to do with the United States.

            There is no pressure in the US to make engines smaller for regulatory purposes, since the US is indifferent to displacement. Reducing cubic inches while maintaining the same power output will not save fuel in an EPA laboratory.

            It also matters less in Europe than it once did, since the Europeans have mostly dropped displacement taxes.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Pch101,
            Again you are totally incorrect with your interpretation of what governs the US vehicle market and the impacts it has on vehicle designers.

            I recall a day when most any American family car had a V8 and a 6 as a minimum.

            What caused the downsizing of the engines? The consumer? NO. It was regulatory instruments put in place to modify the behavior of the vehicle manufacturers and consumer. CAFE is the answer that is forcing the downsizing of vehicle engines.

            Look at the American pickup truck segment, what has occurred? Larger vehicles with smaller engines. Again, CAFE.

            The most practical way to gain efficiencies is to downsize an engines capacity.

            CAFE has pressured the designers of US vehicles to provide them with smaller capacity engines.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Ford didn’t stuff two different ecoboost engines into F150s because of Brazil..

            A turbo engine of displacement X can do a half decent impersonation of a NA engine of displacement X when off boost. And smaller engines have lighter reciprocating parts, less friction etc, all else being equal. So, by having the turbos to back it up for the kind of real world use where people wouldn’t be entirely satisfied by a 2.7 V6 in a truck, Ford could make the engine just large enough to, off boost, exactly meet the minimum output levels required by the EPA test, which they are by now very familiar with.

            It’s for the same reason GM “deactivates” half the cylinders in the new 5.3 when under light load, also ending up around 2.7. And deactivates 2 of the cylinders on their 4.3, ending up around 2.7. Then, when you “need” even one HP more than the EPA requires(assuming the engineers were good at optimization), the engine magically transforms from a sowing machine engine, into a Hellcat.

            Wider ratio, smoother shifting, gearboxes will give makers an additional vector along which to optimize for the EPA test without hurting customer expectations, hence may reduce the importance of turbos. At least for highway use. Think Corvette doing freeway at 800rpm… But as long as what buyers are willing to pay for, is power, yet the automakers are being forced to engineer for efficiency at virtually no power, the kind of engines that best enables that kind of schizophrenia, is being somewhat unnaturally selected for. And turbos seem to be the current front running technology in that space.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            On a car blog, one would expect readers to understand the difference between displacement and turbocharging. But apparently not.

            Cylinder deactivation doesn’t save fuel because it takes up fewer cubic inches. It saves fuel because the engine’s average power output is reduced while cylinders are deactivated.

            Making an engine smaller does not save fuel for a given amount of power output. Cutting average power output does. There are many ways to reduce average output, but increasing power per liter is not one of them.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            Pch,

            Were what you say correct, a 24 liter V32 Bonneville Special, would be as fuel efficient as a modern Kei class engine when producing 25hp, if only you stuffed enough pantyhose in in it’s intake, to bring it’s “power output” down correspondingly…. Things are unfortunately not quite that easy.

            A larger engine has larger, heavier reciprocating parts, more friction and less optimal cylinder fill when run at an inefficiently low output, than an engine properly sized for that low output. And a big part of turbos’ popularity, is that they allow specifying an engine sized ideal for low, EPA loop, output. But which can still do a half decent impression of a larger engine when more output is called for.

            Cylinder deactivation attempts to do the same thing, realizing you can produce 30hp or whatnot more efficiently with 2-3 liters of active engine, than with 5-6. And that the efficiency gain is big enough that it makes up for dragging another 2-3 liter of inactive engine along.

            Judging by how turbos seem to be winning the current schitzo-fad engine war, it looks like dragging the better part of an entire additional engine along in an inactive state, does take a higher toll on efficiency than a bunch of scrolls, plumbing and intercoolers do.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            Cylinder deactivation saves fuel mostly because it takes a big bite out of pumping losses. It takes a lot of work to move so much air from one side of the throttle at ambient pressure to the other side at a partial vacuum; using half the cylinders (while the other half just go through the motion) means much less vacuum downstream of the throttle = less pressure drop across the throttle = less wasted effort.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I can’t say I saw this coming. Just — wow – I think I need to write another oil industry installment for TTAC.

    My first blush reaction to this is China is slowing down, cost of production models due to a growing middle class in China is bringing automation. It is for some processes cheaper to have machines do it than people now (sound familiar). There is growing concern on what happens when millions of Chinese who have found a path to the middle class through highly skilled blue collar employment get replaced by mechanized assembly.

    The slowing economy in China is slowing their consumption of fuel – the United States is marching toward energy independence. The Iran deal makes great headlines but Iran’s oil is very heavy and extremely sour, a lot of producers don’t want it and oil needs to be around $135 a barrel to make buying from Iran make sense in the global market.

    So with all that, and the inability to sustain prices at $60 a barrel land now that the puts and calls for the summer have been burned through, what better way to increase prices at the pump than a move to increase the octane rating at the pump.

    Man, it is just feckin’ genius. Increase the octane, higher transactional price at the pump because drivers are already conditioned to spend more equals profit.

    They could in theory eliminate 85-87 octane (depending on your geography, some higher elevations and plains regions have the lowest fuel rating at 85 octane) because it doesn’t “hurt” anything.

  • avatar
    Spike_in_Brisbane

    Why not just switch from the AKI ratings to the RON rating for octane as we use in Australia. Then your “85 – 91” numbers on the pumps would change to “91 – 98” like ours. The bigger numbers would make everyone feel happier. Your engines would benefit from mechanical placebo!!

  • avatar
    EvilEdHarris

    There was a similar question posed not to long ago and I posted a similar response.

    This will not work…

    You need to understand how the oil refining process works in order to understand why this won’t work and unfortunately I don’t have the time write the diatribe that it would take to get my point across… so you’ll get the summarized version.

    High octane fuel is more expensive because it is based on the limited and more rare portions of a barrel of crude oil. If suddenly all cars on the road begin to burn higher octane fuel the price at the pump will rise exponentially because there is less of the good stuff left to make up the high octane fuel.

    The low octane fuel will essentially become worthless and be shipped overseas to a market where vehicles exist that can use it and they will have cheap fuel. FYI this is essentially one of the reasons that our fuel prices are lower than Europes because they pay a premium for our high octane blending agents and we burn the cheap stuff and save money at the pump.

    To recap, there is a finite amount of high octane fuel in a barrel of oil and if automakers and legislators want to push high compression engines that run on unicorn fuel they should talk to the oil and gas industry first to see if it can be done (it can’t).

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t need or want an engine that runs on higher octane fuel. If anything this race to higher horsepower engines does not benefit most people and how much power does one need? It is wasteful and costly. I don’t want a higher performance vehicle and would just as soon have less performance and save my money.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jeff S,
      I do agree with you.

      I also believe that a person should be able to purchase a vehicle of his/her choice, without unnecessary governmental interference by the use of barriers, whether they be technical or tariff based.

      Your comment regarding power is correct. Just look at the 3.2 HD Transit. It is returning great FE for a HD and performs more than adequately with it’s 197hp.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Me, I’d like to see more choices of engines that *can* benefit from high octane (higher than 87 pump regular, anyway).

    I don’t think it would make any difference in logistics. Most gas stations have a big tank of regular and a little tank of premium but no tank of mid-grade. The mid-grade pump just pumps a mix of both.

    Historically, octane-boosting additives have been problematic. Look up TEL, MMT, benzene, and MTBE for a primer (I made a pun!) on gasoline additives that belong in the dustbin of automotive history.

  • avatar
    wsn

    What’s the obsession with higher octane? If it’s all about density of energy, then the logical first step would be to remove ethanol from gasoline.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    This is a money grab, there is no need for fuel octane any higher than we have, perhaps bring 85 octane to the rest of the country, but I’m not willing to spend my money on 91 octane fuel. Once you get above 90 you can start mixing in diesel (about 20 gal gas:1 di) as long as you have a good idea of the ratio. Many on old car forums already do this for cars that don’t run well on the already too high 87.
    And no ones going to check a gasser for untaxed diesel. But hey, 1-2 gallons of cheap diesel starts adding up when the lowest octane gas is $1 more per gallon than our current lowest.

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      Agreed and when the average age of the U.S. Vehicle fleet is 11 years old and many vehicles ie f150 expedition GM pickups and SUVs run on 87 and see no real difference in mpg when running on higher than 87 octane fuel in the ford 5.4l and GM 5.3l engines which ran from 97-2014 in ford 5.4l and 99-13 for the old GM 5.3l (new5.3 is completely different engine). With the f-series and Silverado being the most numerous vehicles plus the SUVs and vans that use the same engines and the GMC twins of Chevy products you have a extremely large number of vehicles that will run a long time that are happy on 87. The 3.5l ford can run on 87-91 don’t know about the new 5.3 though. Just saying 87 will be around for a long time. Also both my 05 suburban and 2010 raptor got their best millage running on 85 octane in Colorado and thier worst on e85 which has a higher octane rating.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Every who is into this type of thing (read: engineers bored at work) needs to research the quality of fuel improvements that came about circa WWII time frame from the aviation world. It trickled down to automotive fuels and is what killed the pre WWII engines. The higher quality of fuels allowed higher compression ratios, resulted in more torsional crank vibrations, created a need for more robust engines, which killed the straight 8 in automotive applications, killed the pre WWII ultra low compression flat head engines (where the valves are in the block just off to the side of the piston, both are covered by the “flat head” and the spark plug is on the top of the head, the valves open upwards instead of being overhead valves that open downwards, and created the second hot rod (i.e. musclecar movement)

    Remember, a higher octane rating means the fuel is harder to ignite, so the fuel won’t precombust in a higher compression environment (i.e. knock) and hence you can run higher compression ratios…however, direct injection can also use high compression ratios.

    Honestly, is there a need for higher octane gasoline and higher compression ratios? In my opinion, no, hybrids and eventually electrification should be the wave of the future that we keep moving towards. A hybrid can immediately create 50-100% MPG gains for not that much overhead cost. Heavy trucks should move towards diesel fuel.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      You seem to have your history scrambled. What killed the straight 8 was the Ford flathead V8, long before WWII. Once people realized that they could get more power, economy, and reliability from a V8 than they could from a straight 8, it was game over.

      Same thing happened after the War with the overhead valve V8. Nobody wanted a flathead when you could get a much more powerful and economical SBC for the same money.

      In other words, what “killed” these older technologies is progress. Demand for sidevalve jalopies dried-up as soon as something better came along. People vote with their money.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    To bad they’ll do it via more garbage ass ethanol in your fuel.

    If I were ford and your were sueing me because of fuel economy, I’d tell you to put real gas in it and take up your complaint with .gov

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    It would be better for the auto manufacturers to spend their resources on developing smaller and longer lasting batteries that would make hybrid systems smaller, less expensive, and easier to adapt to all vehicles. I would like to see more vehicles have a form of hybrid system that would be available in both gasoline and diesel engines. I do think there is a demand for higher performance engines for those who are interested in higher horsepower but I don’t want this forced on the rest of us.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    I think the risk for higher prices of a single high octane fuel would be low.
    You would only have one fuel version to produce and deliver. Economies of scale can kick in. Competition would narrow.

    To boot, the fuel can be backwards compatible.
    It would probably instantly increase our gas mileage average across the country.
    Older computer controlled cars can maximize their ignition timing and manually set timing can be advanced.

    I drive 110 miles everyday round trip to work for the past 25 years. Most of my drive is highway miles. I have experimented with all my past cars by changing octanes and timing and found I typically could increase mileage by increasing the octane and the advance timing even on low compression engines. Even on newer OBDII cars the results were positive. Now the increased mileage may not justify the present octane price difference, but it does illustrate that mileage gains could be achieved on our overall fleet.

  • avatar
    skor

    ‘But will it last?’

    This is the $64K question. I remember when turbos were all the rage back in the 80s and early 90s…..until they started grenading all over the place.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The best possible fuel to use in larger vehicles and to maintain the ever increasing demands on FE is diesel. As the we (and Hollande/French) have found out GDI engines are larger polluters than the current modern EuroV diesels.

    Anyway, why do you want to use corn??? Use the corn as god intended ……. food for humans and livestock. Gradually wind back the subsidised corn industry and let them operate as true free enterprise businesses. This will save tax dollars and those saved tax dollar can repair and improve the road infrastructure. This will have an economic flow on as well.

    I do realise there are my protagonists who can’t see the forest through the trees. The modern diesel engine is nothing like the diesel of old. They are clean, loaded with torque and horsepower.

    Even in a Ram that weighs over 5 000lbs the VM diesel will accelerate the pickup to 60 from a standstill in the 8 second bracket. As Mark Gasnier also pointed out he was returning up to 30mpg on the highway.

    All that is needed is an equitable set of regulations controlling diesel powered vehicles.

    Yes there are some fantastic diesel engines out there, that will provide great performance.

    The link below has an article on the 3 litre BMW inline 6 diesel with 381hp and 740Nm of torque. It propels a 550 to 62mph in 4.9 seconds and returns an FE figure of over 44mpg.

    http://www.gizmag.com/bmw-adds-four-triple-turbo-diesel-performance-m-cars/21227/

    New Cayenne S Diesel has a big 4.2-litre V8 turbo-diesel with 283 kW and a huge 850 Nm of torque. Its measured acceleration from zero to 100 km/h is just 5.4 seconds – from a diesel SUV. The FE is in the mid 30s, that is in a vehicle that weighs around the same a 1/2 ton pickup.

    http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-reviews/2015-porsche-cayenne-review-30181#.Vcb6sbvn9Ms

    Even a paltry 3.2 litre diesel HD Transit can run 10’s in 0-60 time trials and average 27mpg. And these vehicles will never win an aerodynamics award.

    Diesel is the answer. But the future may hold the key……compression ignition gasoline engines. That would be the best of all worlds.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      Big Al,

      Unfortunately, as France has figured out, running diesels in populated areas isn’t worth the cost. Every Euro “saved” at the pump is spent in health care, with more needed.

      Diesel makes a little bit of sense for low-density areas, like interstate runs in the US, and like all of Australia save for a half dozen urban areas. It’s a non-starter anywhere the exhaust doesn’t get significantly diluted.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        heavy handle,
        I do think you have it incorrect regarding France. I did post a great article that was a couple of years old here on TTAC regarding the French taxation on diesel fuel.

        The article stated that the French government needed money due to the GFC and they figured that diesel was the best alternative to tax. But the French figured it would be hard to justify taxing diesel. But, this also backfired, as shown when you read further on.

        Another article I read earlier this year also had shown that the pollutants from diesel in France was being generated by EuroIV and down diesel vehicles.

        If you’ve been to France you will notice that there are many old EuroIV and down vehicles on the road. The article also stated that the modern GDI was more polluting than the EuroV and above diesels.

        I don’t disagree with the fact that there are diesels out there polluting. But the newer diesels are less polluting than a GDI.

        Also, you will notice a huge difference between pollution control equipment of EuroIV vs EuroV.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      As corn is a crop completely engineered by man, I doubt God cares how it is.used so long as one doesn’t make it part of a Pagan ritual.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Gee thanks BAFO. When will we finally realize diesels are the best thing for us? Except with France moving away from their diesel disaster, isn’t it the final nail in that particular coffin?

      If unleaded direct-injection is that horrible, wouldn’t it be easier to do away with it, rather than adding all sorts of diesel-like emissions equipment? GDI doesn’t provide more than a marginal improvement over normal EFI anyway.

      Diesels for anything other than simis and heavy equipment, has had its day. With new diesel emissions-equipment, fuel mixture, and what we know/admit it does to our health, including cancer, diesels are about done for mainstream use in light duty vehicles, sorry to say.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    As the son of farmer with about 150-200 acres of corn (Which I know is not even a drop in the bucket), I have to say that it disenheartens me greatly that almost everyone here has fallen for the lies perpetrated by Big Oil. There’s enough corn for livestock feed and human food additives and ethanol combined. It runs fine in modern fuel systems. And it’s one of the few energy sources that’s renewable. When we run out of easy-to-find gasoline, what then? I don’t know, but I’m sure we’ll find a way to blame the farmers. Go ahead, it’s not like we help keep you alive or anything. We grow corn because it’s one of the few ways to survive (forget about getting ahead–we just want to stay alive) in the industry.

    I extend an open invitation to anyone here to come to my family’s farm, talk to a real farmer, and see how things are done in real life.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      No offense, but…whenever I hear someone tell me about “fall[ing] for the lies perpetrated by Big [Whatever]”, I put my hand on my wallet.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Thanks, Dr. Zhivago. I agree that we can produce plenty of corn to satisfy all of the demands placed upon it. I understand why ethanol is pushed first, but we really need to develop Butanol as a drop-in gasoline replacement…

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      There may be enough corn, but it’s a fact that the ethanol subsidies (which is really what they are) have pushed up the world’s corn prices, making it more difficult for many people to afford corn as food.

      And that’s even without considering how many units of dino oil are consumed to make one unit of corn ethanol (sugar cane, cellulosic etc are a different story).

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Since 2002, which was a time when corn prices had been at a relative low, corn prices have increased in nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation) by 85%.

        Over that same period, wheat and soybean prices increased by 89% and 127%, respectively. Suddenly, the increase in the price of corn doesn’t seem to be so odd, now does it?

        I don’t think that I need to tell you that oil prices have also increased since that time.

        You should have noticed that commodity prices have risen generally. Given that we have a few billion more people participating in the global economy as the third world tries to get in on the game, it should not be surprising that their desire to bid for goods causes prices to go up — demand is growing faster than supply.

        It’s good to compare things before reaching for unsupportable conclusions.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I don’t see the standards of reformulated gasoline with alcohol going away. In Kentucky mandatory inspections of automobile emissions was eliminated with the agreement that reformulate gasoline would be sold during the Summer driving months. If anything there will be higher alcohol content in the gasoline in the future, also cutting farm subsidies to grow corn would be political suicide for politicians. Even the public transit buses are required to use bio diesel. If the auto manufacturers want to do something they need to make all engines adaptable to run on high alcohol content fuel because the EPA will not likely back down from this requirement. Brazil is doing well with alternate fuels.

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