High Octane Fuels

Ethanol's Quality Difference

The message from automobile manufacturers could not be clearer: they want—and need—higher octane fuels. As automakers introduce more efficient engine technologies, the demand for higher-octane fuels continues to grow. Traditional petroleum-based octane additives are expensive and in short supply, and aromatic hydrocarbon octane additives like benzene are toxic and worsen air pollution.

Fortunately, ethanol is ready to deliver the high octane fuel that auto manufacturers recommend with cost savings that consumers need. With a blending octane rating of 114, ethanol is the cleanest and most affordable source of octane on the planet.

Most refiners today produce gasoline with an octane rating of 84, then upgrade it to 87 (the minimum allowed in most states) by adding 10 percent ethanol, to create a fuel known as E10.  This offers significant savings, reduced energy use, and lower emissions at the refinery.

E15, or gas blended with 15 percent ethanol, offers an octane rating of 88, giving consumers an added boost at a lower cost.

Even higher fuel blends like E20 or E40 could deliver the same—or better—fuel economy as regular gasoline when paired with an optimized engine, but with less energy expended per mile and fewer emissions.

That’s why automakers view ethanol-based high-octane fuels as a winning strategy for compliance with more stringent future fuel economy and emissions standards.

Blending Ratings of Gasoline Octane Boosters

Importance of Octane

What is Octane and why is it important?

Ethanol’s pure component octane number is 100 AKI.  But its blending octane number is 109-119 AKI, depending on the octane of the finished fuel.  Ethanol’s blending octane number is highest when used with lower-octane hydrocarbon blendstock.

A fuel’s octane rating is the measure of its ability to resist “knocking” in the engine, which is caused when the air/fuel mixture detonates prematurely during combustion. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “Using a lower octane fuel than required can cause the engine to run poorly and can damage the engine and emissions control system over time. It may also void your warranty.”