TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- The EPA is studying whether raising the octane level of gasoline could improve the efficiency of automobile engines, Christopher Grundler, director of the agency’s office of Transportation and Air Quality told Automotive News today.
Automakers have said they can continue making engines smaller and more powerful if high octane fuel of about 95 octane were the new regular. High octane gasoline allows engineers to raise the compression ratio of engines. High compression engines produce more power.
But Grundler, speaking on the sidelines of the CAR Management Briefing Seminars, said even though the agency has the authority to regulate octane, there are many obstacles that would have to be overcome before any new grades of gasoline could be required.
Among the challenges, the EPA would have to prove that no other available technologies could achieve the same benefits. Also, the benefits of higher octane fuel would have to outweigh the costs.
Grundler said it would be tough enacting a higher octane standard for gasoline that would make consumers pay more at the pump.