American car makers are pushing for a national switch from three petrol octane ratings to just one, in an attempt to gain extra fuel economy and lower their overall emissions.
General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are ‘working with’ the US Council for Automotive Research to try to standardise 95 RON unleaded – the same standard used across Europe. Under the American system it’s currently known as 91-octane, because the US adds the Research Octane Number (RON) to the Motor Octane Number (MON) and divides the result by two.
The move would most likely involve shifting to the RON-only system used elsewhere in the world, standardising to 95-octane with different suppliers offering various grades of super-unleaded, from 97-99 RON.
Eliminating the lower grades of fuel would give consumers a three per cent fuel economy boost across the board, the car makers say, with a lower-than-three per cent increase in cost to the consumer. Fewer types of fuel to refine means cost savings for refineries, and engine makers could squeeze extra efficiency (and power) out of their motors with finer tuning, purely because they’d no longer need to be capable of running on the low-grade fuel.
Dan Nicholson, General Motors’ vice president of global propulsion systems, said:
“We have an opportunity to play a large role in offering consumers the most affordable option for fuel economy improvement and greenhouse gas reduction.
“We believe a higher efficiency gasoline solution with a higher Research Octane Number is very important to achieving this. USCAR research shows that 95 RON makes sense from the viewpoints of both refiners and fuel retailers.”
At present, 95 RON fuel in the US is at least 50 cents per gallon more expensive than the basic stuff. As such, there’s likely to be a fair amount of resistance among the public. American CTzens: would you be happy to make the switch, or do you already run your cars on the good stuff anyway?