High-octane Gas On Its Way To The US Gas Pumps
More power, less emissions, less fuel consumption but a higher price
Updated October 26, 2018
Are we getting high-octane fuel? If we are to judge by the latest developments in the industry, the more expensive high-octane fuel might become common on gas pumps thus totally phasing out low-octane options such as the regular and even mid-grade fuel.
The thing about the high-octane fuel is simple – it will dramatically reduce emissions, increase the specific power of the engines, provide more range and enable manufacturers to produce engines with higher compression ratio. There is a trick, of course. High-octane fuel is more expensive. That is part of the reason why gas prices in Europe tend to be much higher than what we have here. And in order to paint a picture of what we are talking about, note that European super-premium fuel with about 98 octane increases fuel economy by 10 percent compared to what the US premium fuel (usually 92-94 octanes) can achieve.
One more example too. Remember that latest and baddest Dodge SRT Challenger Demon? Well, with the 100 octane fuel it uses, its engine can develop 840 hp. With premium 91 octane fuel the power drops to 808 hp.
New High-Octane Fuel Is The Green Future?
As it turns out, companies are working hard and behind closed doors trying to develop new high compression ratio engines. These have to use high-octane fuel in order to reduce the knocking and refine the burning process of the engines.
So, in plain English, if we get high-octane fuel on our gas pumps, new cars will come with smaller engines, with more power, better fuel economy, and far fewer emissions. In return, we will have to pay more for the fuel. Not that we know how much.
Interestingly, automotive executives have been talking about this at large, but they usually want to stay undercover. So, two executives of the major manufacturers commented, but wanted to stay anonymous:
“Increasing octane could be the lowest-cost way to raise fuel economy. It costs far less than developing a new transmission, for instance.”
“Ten cents a gallon more is probably palatable. A quarter risks customer acceptance.”
Obviously, there is a lot at play here, so while we are all gasping in the Trumpism of today, car manufacturers, massive oil companies and the U.S. Department of Energy are working together to bring us new fuel and new engines. If we are to predict, the perfect timing for the introduction of higher octane fuel and new engines that will work with it would be sometimes in 2021. At that point, strict emission regulations will come into play.
We wonder what will happen with electric cars up to that point.