EPA Considering Higher Octane Standards for U.S. Gasoline
Octane Boost Would Enable Greater Efficiency, Higher Performance
The USA is first in many areas, but one area where the country is well behind the rest of the developed world’s standards is fuel octane. Regular unleaded in the U.S. is typically 87 octane, with premium having a rating of between 91-93 octane. In Europe, the region’s equivalent of regular is around 95 octane. According to Automotive News, the EPA is considering raising fuel octane standards in a quest to raise overall fleet efficiency.
Other than the obvious benefit of potentially increasing engine output, higher octane levels could enable higher compression ratios and higher boost on turbocharged engines, allowing for even greater power density (the amount of power an engine produces relative to its displacement). Fuel octane levels may be part of the mid-term review of the federal fuel economy standards, which require a 54.5 mpg fuel economy average by 2025. By today’s EPA standards, that figure is closer to 40 mpg.
Automakers are struggling to reconcile the market’s ever-growing demand for crossovers and SUVs and the looming fuel economy standards. Although diesel engines produce higher particulate and NOx emissions, the engine type’s high fuel efficiency and high torque output would be a natural fit with heavier crossovers and SUVs.
Higher octane will require additional steps and costs in the refining process, which will inevitably mean higher prices at the pump. Would you be willing to pay a little more at the pump to get better fuel economy and more power?
Source: Automotive News