By on August 26, 2016

gas-pump-save-ftr

Low-octane gasoline. It was great for the detuned boat anchors found under the hoods of 1970s Malaise-era barges, because you weren’t having fun, anyway.

The future of gasoline-powered vehicles is all about high-compression engines and ever-stricter environmental regulations, meaning gasoline with higher octane than today’s pumps can provide could be on the horizon.

In an interview with Automotive News, Chris Grundler, director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of transportation and air quality, said higher-octane gas is a key part of the push for greener engines.

Speaking at a recent auto industry conference, Grundler said the EPA is collecting data about the emissions-reducing benefits of higher hi-test fuel. Don’t expect the regulator to approve European-style gas (which is about four to six octane higher than U.S. blends) anytime soon. Grundler said that the EPA has a mandate to keep the status quo for several years.

“After 2025, we should talk about what the future fuels should look like and what is the optimum mix of vehicle and fuel technologies,” Grundler told AN. He added, “There are some provisos. For us to intervene and set fuel standards, we need to show that there is an air quality benefit or that, absent regulations, that it is somehow inhibiting the after-treatment or other parts of the vehicle. And that the benefits outweigh the costs.”

Engine displacements are dropping as automakers seek efficiency-minded power gains through turbocharging, direct injection and ever-higher compression.High-tech engines generally like hi-test gas.

Dan Nicholson, General Motors’ vice president of global propulsion systems, claims that higher octane fuel could boost gas mileage by five percent, but there’s a catch. It’s costs more, and most customers would rather avoid it. However, there’s reason to believe that greater production of hi-test fuel, backed by an EPA mandate, would lower prices.

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93 Comments on “Are We Headed Towards a High-Octane Future? The EPA Thinks So...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    European gasoline is “higher octane” in number only. They rate it only by the research octane number (RON.) This side of the pond we use anti-knock index (AKI) which is (R+M)/2.

    93 AKI = 97-98 RON.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I do not like these conflicting calculation standards. Makes me mad.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        The RON is also what is used in most of the rest of the world as well. Scooter forums have pages of discussion devoted to octane and if the “recommended octane” sticker on your Chinese made scooter is in RON or AKI.

      • 0 avatar
        Lack Thereof

        It’s not just conflicting calculation standards, it’s conflicting tests as well. The MON test is a heavy-throttle, sustained load test, and the RON test is a part throttle, light load test. It’s possible to have a fuel that performs well on one test but poorly on the other.

        But because the AKI number is the average of both tests, it’s impossible to say with any certainty that 91 RON “is” 87 AKI. It could be 85, or could be 89, because it depends on how well that particular fuel blend would have done on it’s MON test. There can’t be any direct computational translation from one standard to the other.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      It’s not higher octane in number “only”… “regular” over there tends to be 95 RON, which is closer to our midgrade.

    • 0 avatar
      rpol35

      RON was used in the U.S. until about mid-1973 and then abandoned for R+M/2.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Yes it was, and those of us who drove V8 engines that required “mid-grade” could find 95 octane gas everywhere. the “economy” was 91-92, and the premium was 98-100 octane.

        There’s no direct relationship between AKI and RON, but I was driving a ’68 Mercury with a ’70 2bb 351 that ran fine on the old 95, but started to ping on the so-called mid-grade 89. I had to run 91 to get rid of the pinging.

        My sister’s father-in-law who drove a ’71 Chrysler Newport with the 440 said the 91 premium caused pinging, and there was no higher octane fuel available. He had to use an additive with every tank to get rid of it.

        Apparently refiners lowered the octane rating during the changeover From RON to AKI. I suspect it was to save money since the cheaper lead octane booster was being removed. If higher octane fuel is on the horizon, expect higher prices too.

  • avatar
    John

    “greater production of hi-test fuel, backed by an EPA mandate, would lower prices” – what we were told about ethanol back in the day.

    • 0 avatar
      kogashiwa

      A good rule of thumb is that whenever anyone says something should lower gas prices: they are wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ….A good rule of thumb is that whenever anyone says something should lower gas prices: they are wrong….

        Perhaps, but if you think about it, it should drop in price because the higher octane fuel will become by default the “regular” grade if this goes through. Also, higher compression engines make more power so if the engine is so designed, overall costs of operation can drop due to higher efficiency.

        This argument was made by the Bush administration when they were very reluctant to raise the minimum efficiency (SEER)of central air conditioners. The higher standard would make it harder for “poor” people to afford A/C or so the argument went. When the lower standard was SEER 10, contractors made the big money on the commodity grade units, which were universally those that just made the minimum standards. If you wanted the higher efficiency units, well, those did not get the heavy discounts, so contractors priced them to discourage their purchase. They wanted their profits and that was that. Fast forward to today and SEER 13 (the new minimum) sells for barely any more than the SEER 10 units of the past.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          “…SEER 13 (the new minimum) sells for barely any more than the SEER 10 units of the past.”

          I don’t know the industry, but is it possible that Chinese components my be part of the reason?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Yes.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Sadly, most components of A/C systems of this type have had “globally sourced” components for many years…even back then. I can’t even remember when compressors were not made in Korea. We’re lucky if the units are assembled here…but still, the premise of the post still is valid.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          Claiming that a government mandate (which artificially imposes a 100% demand) will cause prices to LOWER is exactly wrong.

          Examples: car insurance, health insurance

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Exactly, and they know they are wrong. This will work exactly as they intend to raise fuel prices, with their argument to you being we are also increasing fuel economy along with prices so the net cost effect is in theory not dissimilar. Hybrids are tomorrow’s beaters, the only difference being beaters will be much more expensive than in the past in even inflation adjusted dollars. Their attitude is: eat it serfs, you can simply buy the new crap that’s out with all of the spyware we require on it (to keep you safe of course!) and keep the production ponzi going. We lost what we knew of country sometime between 1963 and 1988.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Generally, if you can sell the same barrel at 3 different grades but only pay marginally more to improve it increases should be minimal as the new baseline is removed. It’s a bit convoluted since it’s a closely guarded secret exactly how much it costs to improve fuel since most crude when refined is naturally in the 60s or 70s and other petrochems are added to boost it.

      So yes, prices would increase but not as greatly so. Since our prices have fluctuated several dollars over the last few years the best time would be now so that a 20-30 cent boost would be more easily absorbed. But this is suggesting sometime next decade.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Xeranar, raising gasoline octane rating isn’t just a matter of adding additives. The way refiners increase the octane rating of gasoline is to increase the proportion of hydrocarbon molecules with complex branching structures. The chemical bonds of a straight carbon chain Alkane like heptane break apart much easier than a branching isomer like iso-octane. A mixture of just these two molecules was used in experiments to study engine knock. The process of converting less valuable straight hydrocarbon molecules into more valuable branching isomers is called isomeration. This process requires both extra infrastructure and energy so the resulting fuel is inherently more expensive than lower octane fuel that didn’t require as much extra refining processes.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Hey, higher-octane fuel is just a pretext to forcibly break through the blend wall. E85 is about 105 AKI octane.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Well in higher volumes for the fuel itself but it depends on how the achieve the higher octane rating. Ethanol is a cheap octane booster and it oxygenates the fuel as well. If say gasoline moves away from Ethanol for whatever reason (for example it doesn’t provide enough knock improvement in conjunction with other chemicals) it would be more costly to bump the octane rating and for the poor bastards living in an area where special blends are mandated due to air quality it gets even better…err worse.. err whatever.

      It’s also my understanding that octane boosters outside of ethanol tend to be worse for the environment on their own (excluding a “well to wheel” calculation so to speak)and may or may not require fiddling with the emissions systems on a vehicle in order to minimize their impact.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      In California, where gas is far more expensive than other parts of the country, there is a tremendous demand for higher octane fuel due to the mix of premium cars requiring premium fuel in residents’ hands. The demand for ‘premium’ is such that the local product is only 91 octane, since they can’t segregate the better parts of the crude to produce 93 octane unleaded in the ratio demanded while still meeting the 87 octane standard with the remainder.

      While it is true that this is a way of continuing the ethanol agenda at all costs, doing so won’t increase efficiency. Even E10 is such a wasteful brew that EPA fuel economy testing for CAFE and emissions standards is still performed with 100% gasoline, and nobody will give that up as long as CAFE exists.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Owners of expensive cars requiring premium have another option, if they’re rich or influential enough: marine premium gas and diesel for boating. Those fuels are classified by CARB as “RFG non-oxy”- reformulated gasoline, non-oxygenated, meaning no ethanol. That premium gas is a bit higher than 91 AKI, but not the equivalent of Euro 100 Ron.

        The problem is getting the dock pumps to reach your S Class, but there’s quite a business of selling premium at marinas in the L.A. area, so that problem might have been solved. At least for people who also own yachts moored at the marina.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit33

        Todd, from what I’ve read, emissions testing is usually done with CARB phase III fuel which is 10% ethanol. The OEM declares to the EPA what fuel they use and that data is available on the EPA website. Look for OTAQ and Certification Test Database. I’d have to research the FE testing, though.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    ” Don’t expect the regulator to approve European-style gas (which is about four to six octane higher than U.S. blends)”

    Sort of. Europe generally rates gasoline on the RON scale, while North America uses an average of ROM and MON called AKI, so the numbers in Europe appear higher.

    That being said, “regular” in Europe is generally 95 RON, which is about 90 in USA/Canada. Premium in Europe in 98, which is approximately 93-94 AKI. Certainly in parts of Canada I can buy 94 with no problems.

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    This would be utmost welcome in CA where my car recommends 93 and a minimum of 91, which is the highest we can buy short of 100 racing octane.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Drove through rural Ohio last week and had to stop for fuel, because I didn’t really have time to do it before I left town.

      Pulled into a Marathon – 87 only. Unless my lawn mower needed some fuel, there’s not much I can do with that. Luckily, I had plenty left to get me down the road several miles more, where I could see the pumps had three buttons on them.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      The inability of California refiners to meet demand for 93 octane gas should give you a window into the viability of this plan through any means other than ruinously high corn alcohol content.

      • 0 avatar

        In Wyoming and parts of Colorado 85 octane is what you get if you pull the regular nozzle.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          >>In Wyoming and parts of Colorado 85 octane is what you get if you pull the regular nozzle.

          Probably because you would be in high altitude territory. Knock isn’t a problem where the air is thinner, so you can get by with a lower octane gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        California Air Resources Board (CARB) MANDATES specific Summer and Winter blends available only in California. That’s why out of state refiners haven’t stepped in, and why prices are higher. Cali refiners probably aren’t allowed to blend anything higher than 91, but don’t care since they have high prices and no competition. It’s just another case of government and industry working hand in hand for the public’s own good.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          There are gas stations in California selling 100 octane unleaded to the public for eight or nine dollars a gallon including roads tax. The 91 octane limit isn’t because of a regulatory limit.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            That 100 octane wasn’t made for cars, but specialized equipment, or marine use. They’re collecting road use taxes because, well, tax evasion is what put Al Capone in jail.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            They fill up Lamborghinis and sport bikes right around the corner from my friend’s house all day long in So Cal.

            http://www.vpracingfuels.com/page545411.html

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I’m not really sure that more octane is the answer to emissions, overall. You can super refine and put in more additives – there’s just a point of peak compression the ICE engine is going to reach, and I think we’re about there now.

    Perhaps variable displacement will get off the ground with that Infiniti engine, that might help some more.

    It still bothers me how flustered and up in arms the US (and EU) gets about emissions – forcing mid-size vehicles with little 4-cylinders on them…

    Meanwhile, Chinese ships sail around the world spewing more pollution each day into the air than the entire state of California does in a month. And people in India drive around in whatever with no pollution controls.

    And all of Africa.
    And Eastern Europe.
    And South America.

    But yeah, your Mustang is the big problem here.

    • 0 avatar
      statikboy

      “They’re not doing it, why should we?”

      That attitude doesn’t fly.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, I’m saying we should exert pressure on others to join. America is superior at being imperialist, but we get mushy around pollution.

        Put another, more modern way:

        I feel so guilty about our privilege of clean air and good emissions. I really think other people should experience our privilege as well, so they can understand our enlightened regulatory environment.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          The leftists look the other way at third-world pollution because they believe that since we benefited from our polluting ways in our 20th century development, they should be able to as well.

          The flaw in that argument is that we did so without the rest of the world giving us handouts, and after having abolished slavery and child labor. We’re still doing them favors with our charity and investment, so they don’t need to be the filthy slobs we were to be successful.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      CoreyDL,
      I think you’d better do a little research. The US pollutes (still) more per capita than many of the places you are describing.

      What you state only makes for emotional and selfish commentary.

      So, does the US pollute as much as the whole of Africa, or half with only one quarter of the population?

      It’s not so simple. If these other places are so great ……….. move to one of those developing nations and whine about how poor it is.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Didn’t say they were great places, I said they have less pollution regs. Most of the world sucks, I know this.

        Those countries will eclipse us per capita as the middle class forms out, and they get access to cars and larger homes, convenience, etc. Happening right now in China.

        • 0 avatar
          NickS

          Per capita the western world generates more pollution. True, the emerging economies will eventually surpass us, but we’ve already been the leader per capita for a few decades now.

          Herein lies the enormity of the issue. We need to somehow continue our economic growth rates while reducing our per capita harm to the environment from all the fuel needed to feed that economic growth. At the same time we need to somehow convince a vastly bigger crowd trying to came up to our output that they need to start doing whatever it takes to reduce thdir outsized impact.

          The role of the US is two-fold on this: lead by example, and use our influence in international negotiations to create ground rules for everyone. If one country needs to be fully committed to emissions reductions that is the US.

          The usual low-information push back is that this will harm our economy, jobs etc. It could, but it doesn’t have to. We supposedly had a very promising early start in the 70s, and were early leaders in alt energy tech but squandered it for political reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            NickS – well said and spot on.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I agree, very well stated.

          • 0 avatar
            2manycars

            We long ago reached the point of diminishing returns when it comes to emissions. The EPA needs to be defanged, possibly even eliminated. They will ruin us pushing to get rid of the last fraction of a percent, and pursuing CO2 which is not a pollutant.

            I personally will not lift a finger to satisfy the EPA or its sycophants. I won’t purchase an electric car, or even a new conventional one that is loaded with questionable tech. I won’t purchase high-efficiency appliances. I’m keeping my good old reliable low-efficiency home heater and AC. I won’t even make a change from incandescent light bulbs. I don’t care what kind of “incentives” the federal goons come up with. They can go pound sand as far as I’m concerned.

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            “per capita” is a crock. It lets off the Chinese, who produce far more total pollution than we do, but spread their “per capita” over 1.4 billion people.

            “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.” – Mark Twain

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lorenzo,
            So, Australia with it’s 23 million people and the US with it’s 320 million people makes it possible for me to create 14 times the pollution of the average American?

            There are several problems with your argument. Developing nations will increase pollution as their societies become more affluent and use more energy, like the US, Canada, Australia, etc.

            Why are we so special?

          • 0 avatar
            Lorenzo

            @Big Al From Oz: My argument is simply that “per capita” isn’t the best way to measure pollution. It’s an economist’s construct to compare countries economically.

            It doesn’t necessarily measure relative efficiency, and in fact can erroneously compare apples and oranges. A country with light industry and major agrarian exports looks good compared to a country with highly efficient heavy industry.

      • 0 avatar
        craiger

        We also produce more per capita than those regions.

        We use about 25% of the world’s energy.

        We produce about 25% of the world’s economic output.

        Our vehicles and factories are cleaner than probably anywhere in the world. And that’s the metric worth looking at.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      Most of the coal plants closing in the US over the next two decades will make a huge impact as will few if any new Chinese coal plants coming on line.

      Also, Eastern Europe has emissions controls. They may be piss poor but they exist just as they do in SA. Cars exported there have cat exhausts.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      In defense of those Chinese cargo ships – they move so much tonnage in cargo once you average the amount of cargo they carry versus the fuel consumed they get down right earth friendly.

      Same with trains, planes, tractor trailers, and a bus.

      Personal transportation is really the most inefficient way to move cargo and people.

      If people were absolutely serious about saving the planet they would tear down all the brick & mortar stores, just use a package carrier like the big brown box on wheels and ban personal transportation outside of pedal power.

      • 0 avatar
        NickS

        What raph said.

        If we want to be serious about emissions we’d invest heavily on mass transportation where it is needed and set up incentives to that effect.

        In most population centers it makes absolutely no sense to be using fuel of any kind to move around 3400 lbs of metal so that 200 lbs of human can get their groceries, commute to work, school, go to a drs appointment. Gridlock may make bicycles a no-brainer but old habits die hard.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        raph, the most energy efficient way to move people is by motor scooter. Passenger cars, buses, and trains all travel with lots of empty seats and metal mass. Bicycles can be considered efficient if the riders need the exercise anyway, but it takes more energy to make food than it does to directly propel a small two-wheel vehicle.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    In Michigan at least, back in the bad old days of 2008, and again in 2012, when 87-unleaded BP was around $3.50 to $4 per gallon, 89 cost $0.20 more, and 93-Octane cost about $0.40 more. Premium had a premium of about 10-15%, which is close to what it had been for most of my driving life ($1 reg, $1.15-1.20 premium I remember).

    Today, with gas hovering between $2.10 and $2.50, premium cost $0.70 to $0.80 more! That’s at least 30% more!

    What’s changed? Why are we being ripped off like this? Any answers out there?

    And now this ‘bright idea’.

    I have a better idea–in return for an iron-clad guarantee that all fuel taxes will go to repair our crumbling roads and bridges, put a $1/gallon tax on gasoline and diesel motor fuel.

    And eliminate mandates that put ethanol in our fuel–it is crap for my car, and apparently, not really good for the environment after all.

    That will save a lot of CO2 and a lot of CO and NOx.

    There is no free lunch–driving big cars/trucks long distances just costs more. Instead of spreading the cost throughout society, make those who absolutely must drive big stuff a long way pay their share.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The premium-surcharge increases when gas prices are low because more people buy premium. Or, to flip it around, a lot of people switch to cheap gas when prices are high.

      Refineries make a fixed ratio of regular/mid/premium/diesel/kerosene/etc from base stock. That ratio can’t be significantly changed without a lot of investment and lead-time, which is why the EPA is suggesting raising octane in the long term.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Supply and demand. More cars require higher octane.

      Increasing the requirement for high octane won’t make this any better.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      “I have a better idea–in return for an iron-clad guarantee that all fuel taxes will go to repair our crumbling roads and bridges, put a $1/gallon tax on gasoline and diesel motor fuel.”

      That will last as long as the next Congress. See, promises like that go into the same Bucket of Lies which contains “tolls will be removed once the bridge is paid for” and “when we mandate insurance, costs will decrease”.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    By 2025, perhaps all my vehicles will be electric.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    AvGas. 100+ octane. It worked well in B-29s, so I’m sure that imaginary Hellcat of yours would run just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      leaded.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        I know it’s not what Zackman is talking about, but assuming that leaded AvGas is going to be being phased out* and high octane unleaded AvGas is being developed, he may be on to something by accident. In the future, auto gas and AvGas may be much more similar than they are now.

        *Regrettably, a phase out of leaded AvGas is not official. But I do think it will happen in my lifetime.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Considering what a poison lead is, I just don’t see the reason to keep using it. Engines should have been designed for unleaded fuel in anticipation of it. The health effects of lead certainly can’t be disputed.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “Considering what a poison lead is…”

            Maybe these are the “chemtrails” that people are ranting on about.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            golden2husky, the main reason tetraethyllead is still used in aviation gasoline is because 1) there are large numbers of planes in use for decades that require the high 100 octane rating that’s hard to achieve without lead and 2) the market for aviation gasoline is too small to support another fuel grade.

          • 0 avatar
            shaker

            “the market for aviation gasoline is too small to support another fuel grade.”

            Right-o – avgas has to be the purest, best, most consistent stuff available, for obvious reasons.
            Despite my comment above, I know that piston-engine aviation fuel is a minuscule part of the pollution problem.

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Higher octane but *without* ethanol? Sign me up.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Yawn. I’ll take electrons generated by running water. Thanks, Columbia and Snake Rivers.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do see diesel playing a prominent role here as well. Irrespective of fuel type as compression increases so does emissions. Like diesel vehicles will emit less CO2.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    On my Honda the fuel door has a small hole onto which the fuel cap can be attached while refueling. This prevents the cap from hitting the paint, like the guy is doing in the stock photo above.

  • avatar
    WRC555

    I remember both my GD era turbo charged WRXs had to get ECU replaced/reprogrammed by factory because of lousy California 91 octane gasoline. It would be great if I can fill up the tank with gasoline the cars are designed to run on.

  • avatar
    brn

    “Low-octane gasoline. It was great for the detuned boat anchors found under the hoods of 1970s”

    There are plenty of efficient and powerful modern engines that work just fine with 87 octane. The problem is regulations are pushing automakers to get an extra few percent of measured economy. As a result, they dump a bunch of overly complex whirly do-dads under the hood that require high octane to be usable. That subtle increase in fuel economy, requires spending 25% more for your fuel to get a minimal increase in efficiency. What???

    I’ll stick with my NA 3.5L. Power is good. Economy is good. Less complex. Does all this with 87 octane. Even runs on 85% corn (never have).

  • avatar
    Pch101

    “Don’t expect the regulator to approve European-style gas (which is about four to six octane higher than U.S. blends) anytime soon.”

    That isn’t quite true.

    The US uses the AKI scale to measure octane. Much of the rest of the world uses RON. They aren’t the same.

    In Europe, the standard fuel is 95, super is 98.

    You can get a rough conversion of RON to AKI by subtracting 5. So that means that European regular is about 90, premium is 93.

    In the US, 90 octane fuel is typically somewhere between midgrade and premium and is widely available. 93 octane fuel is available in some states, but not in others.

    European octane levels are somewhat higher, but not that much higher. The average European is using fuel at an octane level that is already available in the United States. And you have to convert the numbers.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I just as soon have the 87 octane regular. I really don’t want a turbo charged small displacement I-4 or I-3. It is just another way of charging more for fuel and the difference in fuel economy is minimal especially since I have 2 vehicles with 4 cylinder motors and one with a 5 cylinder and I do very little driving. I spend very little on repairs but maintain my vehicles. Also I don’t need or want a diesel because they are harder to start in Winter and with mostly short distance driving I would not derive the benefits of a diesel. I would rather see more hybrid power trains especially as the batteries get less expensive, smaller, and more range. The internal combustion engine and even diesel has limitations as to how much cleaner and efficient they can be made. Electric or some other source of energy will eventually displace the fossil fuel engines we currently have but that is still a few generations away.

    It is doubtful that the higher octane gas will contain any less alcohol, if anything more alcohol since it has been mandated in many areas to meet stricter emission standards. In Kentucky the reformulated gas is required in place of the mandatory emission tests that were required.

  • avatar
    JD23

    Cheapskates who base their entire purchasing decision on whether a car requires premium will not be pleased.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Nothing wrong with being thrifty. I just as soon have a vehicle that can run on the lowest octane available rather than have to search for fuel that I cannot find. If I have to buy a higher octane fuel every once in a while because I cannot find the lower octane that is better than the opposite. I don’t need or want a higher performance vehicle. I would rather not have the turbos.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      But the turbos and direct injection allow more power from smaller engines, both meeting emissions and increasing fuel mileage to meet those tightening CAFE standards.

      The NHTSA and EPA probably realize the automakers are bumping up to technological limits both for engines and weight savings, and are looking into giving them a cushion to gradually reduce car sizes, instead of forcing us into kei cars in one step.

      That’s the next step, putting people in tiny cars that make taking public transit look good by comparison.

      It’s all part of the plan to turn us into yuropeons.

  • avatar
    kowalski

    The “plan to turn us into yuropeons” is a simple matter of cause and effect.

    Worldwide oil demand has been increasing for generations. Supply & demand applies to oil just like anything else. (We only “discover more oil” when we can’t find any more for the old price. The “recent finds” are mostly locations that surveyors spotted decades ago but we never previously drilled because it had higher costs.)

    The USA faces a long-term multiple choice question: #1, higher fuel prices. #2, higher CAFE regs. #3, find another earth with additional oil resources.

    We haven’t been able to do #3. We scream bloody murder & vote people out of office at the suggestion of #1. Guess which option that leaves?

    CAFE regs are a method of rationing gasoline without raising prices. Like it or not this is the mainstream public’s wishes. Go ask 10 random people if we should have higher gas prices or more fuel-efficient vehicles. You will get the same answer 10 times.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I understand the purpose of the turbos but the amount of fuel savings of a smaller turbo 4 versus a larger non turbo 4 is very little and every time the turbo kicks in then the savings is lost. I agree that it is a cushion to put people in smaller lighter vehicles. After that there is not a whole lot more that can be done to the internal combustion engine to get any significant fuel savings. The only thing after that is to go to another source of power for vehicles. Probably not a whole lot any of us can do about Government Regulations on vehicles but I prefer non turbos for longevity.

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  • Luke42: @ToddAtlasF1 The “Detroit Electric” brand name was owned as recently as 2016:...
  • -Nate: Appreciated ! . She’s talking about getting a tiny econobox, this might be the perfect fit, she’s...
  • Jeff S: Agree as well much easier with good credit to finance a new vehicle and for just 5k more have a new vehicle...
  • golden2husky: Sorry Todd, but I can’t accept the behavior of this idiot. Ronald Reagan he isn’t. Even if...

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