Science

Use of Premium Gas Saves Money, Fuel

By | Oct 29, 2014 05:14 PM EDT
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An employee fills the tank of a motorbike at a gas station in Hefei, Anhui province. China raised the retail price ceiling for gasoline and diesel from Monday in response to increases in global oil prices, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.(Photo : Reuters)

A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that the automobile industry, as well as the whole world, would be able to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 35 million tons annually, saving up to US$6 billion in fuel costs, just by gassing up light-duty vehicles with higher-octane gasoline.

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The scientists considered a scenario in the study in which gasoline is produced under an octane rating, which is the measure of the fuel's ability to withstand the knocking of the engine during combustion.

As of the moment, an automobile's octane rating in the United States is based on the anti-knock index, a specification of the composition of the fuel which is governed by a motor octane number and benchmark research octane number . The typical range of octane ratings in existing car engines is from 87, which is regular fuel, to 93, premium-grade fuel. The higher the octane rating of a fuel, the more resistant it is to engine knocking.

The team of researchers from MIT, however, deemed the motor octane number available in present cars to be an outdated measure of the performance of the engine, as it was originally created during the time when carbureted engines ruled the roads, instead of fuel-injected ones. To update the octane rating system, the scientists tried doing away with the motor octane number completely and basing the performance of the engine just on the research octane number.

The modified octane rating system would increase the grade of the regular fuel to 93, which was previously the octane rating of the premium, and the high-octane's rating to 98. While still fit to be used in the engines of current automobiles, the researchers reasoned that the higher the grades of fuel could also offer gasoline producers the chance to make higher-octane fuel, which in turn would spur car makers to create vehicles that would run on the better fuel -- an innovation that could lead to more efficient automobiles.

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