It’s been almost a year since the idea of doing away with three grades of fuel began floating about. General Motors was first at bat with the idea but since then, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles have joined GM in lobbying the US Government for a standardized 95 octane fuel rating to replace today’s regular 87, mid-grade 88-90 and premium 91-94 octane ratings.
The advantages to this are numerous, including a boost in fuel efficiency. A higher standardized octane rating would allow automakers to raise engine compression ratios, a move that is already underway. A direct result to higher compression ratios are more horsepower, torque and that increase in fuel efficiency.
The principal downside and the reason why this push may die quickly is the increase in cost at the pumps. Depending on where you live, a litre of 91 or 93 octane fuel can cost $0.30 to $0.45 more than a liter of regular. This works out to a 30% hike in costs. In the US, the price gap per gallon can be as little as 5%. Here however, we could see a drop in prices if refineries shift output to 95-octane only. Making more would reduce the cost per unit.
We, who own a number of old junkers, wouldn’t mind the jump in octane either…