How To Raise Octane Level In Gasoline?

The elimination of harmful exhaust emissions from cars and trucks has been a cornerstone of US environmental policy. Air pollution in the urban environment have been reduced by millions of tons thanks to EPA rules on mobile sources. Octane has been the subject of several EPA gasoline restrictions. Octane is a gasoline ingredient that is required for modern engines to work properly. Octane has been produced in a variety of ways over the years, including renewable and petroleum-based sources. Lead, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene, and xylene (BTEX), as well as ethanol, are among them (a biofuel). Lead and petroleum-based octane suppliers have been eliminated from the fuel supply or reduced as negative health and environmental effects have been revealed. The BTEX complex (a petroleum refining product generally referred to as gasoline aromatics) and ethanol are the two principal sources of octane used in the United States today.

The ability of a fuel to avoid knock is measured by its octane rating. Knock happens when fuel is ignited early in the engine’s cylinder, reducing efficiency and potentially damaging the engine. Knock is a term that most current drivers are unfamiliar with. This is due to the presence of an oxygenate in the fuel, which reduces knock by supplying oxygen to the fuel. Octane is the popular name for this oxygenate.

Most retail gas stations provide three octane grades: 87 (normal), 89 (mid-grade), and 91-93 (high-grade) (premium). The octane number indicates how resistant the fuel mixture is to knocking. Higher compression ratios, turbocharging, and downsizing/downspeeding are all possible with increased octane fuels, resulting in higher engine efficiency and performance. High-octane gasoline is now marketed as “premium,” although automakers have expressed interest in boosting the minimum octane pool in the United States to allow for smaller, more efficient engines. This would improve vehicle efficiency while also lowering greenhouse gas emissions by reducing fuel consumption.


Automobile makers were looking for a chemical that would lessen engine knock in the early twentieth century. In 1921, General Motors engineers discovered that tetraethyl lead (commonly known as lead) added octane to gasoline, avoiding engine knock. While aromatic hydrocarbons (such as benzene) and alcohols (such as ethanol) were also known to provide octane at the time, lead was favored due to its lower cost of manufacturing. Until the mid-1970s, when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began phasing it out due to documented negative health effects, leaded gasoline was the most common fuel type in the United States.

Health concerns about lead in gasoline were highlighted early on in its use as a fuel additive. In 1924, 15 refinery workers died of probable lead poisoning in New Jersey and Ohio. As a result, the Surgeon General put a temporary halt to the production of leaded gasoline and formed a team to look into the potential effects of lead in gasoline. While the panel found no evidence of lead poisoning over a short period of time, it warned that prolonged lead exposure could cause “chronic degenerative disorders of a less evident type.”

Despite these concerns, the Surgeon General established a voluntary lead content threshold, which the refining sector has met successfully for decades. The fatal health effects of low-level lead exposure were not discovered until the 1960s, after intensive health research. Low-level, ambient lead exposures are especially harmful to children’s developing bodies. Anemia, behavioral issues, low IQ, reading and learning impairments, and nerve damage are among health effects of lead exposure in children. Lead poisoning is linked to hypertension and cardiovascular disease in adults. The overall amount of lead used in gasoline was over 200,000 tons per year prior to the lead phase-out.

In 1970, Congress passed the Clean Air Act, which paved the way for the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and, eventually, the removal of lead from gasoline. According to the EPA, 68 million children were exposed to dangerous levels of lead from leaded gasoline alone between 1927 and 1987. Between 1970 and 1987, the phase-out of lead in gasoline lowered the number of children with dangerous levels of lead in their blood by 2 million each year.

The Clean Air Act is passed by Congress in 1970. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is established and granted the ability to regulate substances that damage human health.

1973: The EPA mandates a gradual reduction in lead levels in all gasoline grades.

In order to be compatible with 1975 make and model year automobiles, the EPA requires that at least one grade of unleaded gasoline be available. The catalytic converters employed in these new vehicles to regulate exhaust emissions are damaged by lead. Vehicles with catalytic converters are still on the road today.

The EPA bans the use of leaded gasoline in on-road automobiles in 1996. (leaded gasoline was down to 0.6 percent of 1996 gasoline sales). Some aircraft fuels still contain lead.

Lead is no longer present in gasoline in most parts of the world, thanks to concerted efforts. Following the phase-out of lead in the United States, the oil refining industry decided to build more refining capacity to make octane from other petroleum products rather than renewable sources like ethanol.

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)

The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA) were the next major fuel restriction. CAAA mandates the use of reformulated gasoline in places that do not meet ground-level ozone requirements, among other things (RFG). RFG has a higher oxygenate concentration, which aids in full combustion. As a result, during combustion, RFG reduces the generation of ozone precursors and other air toxics.

Because of its ease of shipping and mixing, a petroleum derivative, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), was utilized in 87 percent of RFG by the late 1990s. Ethanol was a more common component of RFG in the Midwest. MTBE was taken out of the gasoline pool despite its success in lowering ozone precursors owing to worries about its solubility in water, which resulted in the poisoning of water supplies in several states. According to the EPA, MTBE was not utilized in large quantities in the United States as of 2005. Reformulated gasoline accounts for 30% of all gasoline sold in the United States. The extra octane required by RFG is provided by ethanol.

1998: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convenes a Blue Ribbon Panel, which concludes that MTBE poses a threat to groundwater resources. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) discovered MTBE in 20% of groundwater supplies in RFG zones at the time.

The EPA announces the phase-out of MTBE in order to preserve drinking water in the year 2000. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advocate for a greater usage of ethanol to protect air quality.

In the years 2000-2005, seventeen states outlawed or severely restricted the use of MTBE in gasoline pools.

The BTEX Complex

A hydrocarbon combination of benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethyl-benzene makes up the BTEX complex. These compounds, often known as gasoline aromatics, are processed from low-octane petroleum products to create a high-octane gasoline additive. While some BTEX is naturally present in gasoline, it is also added to finished fuel to increase its octane rating. The overall amount of BTEX (aromatics) in finished gasoline is determined by the octane value and other fuel qualities needed.

The increase in BTEX in gasoline was a result of the phase-out of lead. When it came to replacing lead as the principal source of octane in gasoline, refiners had two options: BTEX or ethanol. To replace lead with BTEX, a high-octane petroleum refining product, the refining sector invested in more refining capacity. By 1990, BTEX had risen from 22% to almost a third of the gasoline pool as a result of its replacement for lead. The BTEX volume percentage in premium gasoline grades reached as high as 50%. The EPA has lowered the volume of aromatics in normal gasoline to between 25 and 28 percent of the pool through reformulated gasoline and other efforts, while some health professionals dispute the safety of even these levels.

There were early concerns about the BTEX complex after the lead phase-out. Senator Tom Daschle stated his alarm about gasoline aromatics in 1987, saying, “Increased concentrations of benzene and other aromatics are causing a revolution in the gasoline business, posing a major threat to the environment and public health.

Even very low-level exposure to the BTEX complex from gasoline additives and other petroleum products, according to current health studies, may cause detrimental developmental, reproductive, and immunological reactions, as well as cardio-pulmonary impacts. Ultra-fine particles (UFP) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are generated when the BTEX complex in gasoline is incompletely burned, and they have their own negative health effects even at low levels. UFP and PAHs are mutagenic and carcinogenic. Both UFP and PAHs have been related to developmental and neurological problems, as well as cancer and cardio-pulmonary consequences. Because benzene is so harmful, it has received a lot of attention in the gasoline industry. At the same time, partial replacement of benzene with other aromatic chemicals (xylene, ethyl-benzene, toluene) might not be enough to reduce BTEX exposure.

1990: The Clean Air Act Amendments are passed by Congress, requiring, among other things, that benzene levels in locations that do not meet ground-level ozone criteria be reduced. S.1630, the Clean Octane Amendment, was included in the CAAA and allows the EPA the right to utilize “Toxic aromatics that are currently used to raise octane in gasoline will be replaced with non-toxic additions.

2007: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) modifies the Control of Hazardous Air Pollutants from Mobile Sources (MSAT2), lowering the overall concentration of benzene in gasoline to 0.62 percent, down from 1.3 percent on average. Toluene and xylene, for example, are not capped aromatics.


Plant-based alcohol fuels, such as ethanol, piqued the curiosity of early automakers. The first Model T to run on ethanol was designed by Henry Ford. However, gasoline was a more cheaper fuel at the time. Standard Oil was also “hesitant… to promote the development and distribution of a competing fuel produced by a business unrelated to petroleum.” Since then, the petroleum industry has dominated the fuels market.

During the 1973 oil embargo, ordinary unleaded gasoline prices rose by 57%, and there were regular gasoline shortages. These events generated fresh interest in fuel efficiency, electric vehicles, and renewable fuels like ethanol, which were considered as methods to fulfill the new restrictions and minimize petroleum consumption. In the United States, the bulk of ethanol is now combined with gasoline to make E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline). E10 is found in almost 95% of gasoline sold in the United States.

Ethanol is a great octane supplier, with neat (pure) ethanol having an octane rating of over 100, in addition to having lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions than conventional gasoline. Refineries currently produce’sub-octane gas,’ which has a lower octane value than what is required. The cheapest octane source, ethanol, is then utilized to raise the gasoline’s octane rating up to the indicated octane value on the gas pump. For example, to meet the minimum octane requirement of 87 for retail gasoline, 84 octane gasoline is commonly blended with 10% ethanol.

Increasing the octane content of gasoline currently has two options: increasing the volume of gasoline aromatics or increasing the volume of ethanol.

Ethanol & Health Concerns

While ethanol has a higher volatility than gasoline, which means it vaporizes faster, it is a more environmentally friendly option to petroleum-based octane boosters. Furthermore, when compared to the health impacts of BTEX and its combustion products, such as ultrafine particles (UFPs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, ethanol has a low toxicity (PAHs). A 6.6 percent reduction in cancer risk from tailpipe emissions would result from a small increase in ethanol concentration in fuel from 10% to 15%.

Increased ethanol concentration in gasoline increases nitrous oxide (NOX) emissions, an ozone precursor, according to inconsistent studies. Several studies have found no link between ethanol blending and NOX emissions, or that NOX emissions decrease as ethanol volumes increase. Other research suggests that when utilizing ethanol blends, older cars generate greater NOX. However, a study of 2012 make and model year automobiles found no difference in NOX emissions between E10, E15, and E20 blends, implying that NOX emissions are influenced by both engine design and engine age. In contemporary engine pollution control systems, the effect of ethanol on NOX and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions is modest.

1975: The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPAct) is passed by Congress, setting CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) rules for vehicles and trucks.

1988: The Alternative Motor Fuels Act introduces alternative fuel vehicle incentives under CAFE.

1992: The Energy Policy Act of 1992 defines alternative fuels and provides federal programs to promote alternative fuel use and development.

2005: The Energy Policy Act of 2005 is passed by Congress, establishing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) establishes a minimum volume of renewable biofuels that must be blended into the transportation fuel supply.

2007: The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) is passed by Congress, raising the volume of renewable fuels mandated under the RFS from 12 billion gallons to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

2013: The EPA proposes decreasing the volume of renewable fuels under the RFS, citing a shortage of renewable fuels infrastructure.

Renewable fuel volumes for 2014-2016 are decided by the administration in 2015. The final renewable fuel quantities for 2016 are 18.11 billion gallons, up around 1 billion gallons from the 2013 request and accounting for little over 10% of total fuel supply. Renewable fuels, cellulosic biofuels, advanced biofuels, and biomass-based diesel are all included.


For more than a century, lead and other petroleum chemicals have contributed octane to gasoline, but new health and environmental concerns have prompted regulators to reexamine their extensive usage. Increasing the octane value of gasoline, which would enable more fuel-efficient engines, is a possible path for the United States as it seeks to lower the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas intensity. However, the health and environmental effects of the octane sources used must also be considered. Splash blending, which involves adding ethanol to finished gasoline, raises octane ratings while minimizing hazardous octane sources.

A countrywide transition to an optimum mid-level ethanol mix, such as E25 (25 percent ethanol, 75 percent gasoline) or E40 (40 percent ethanol), would reduce consumer fuel costs and standardize the supply. The Department of Energy understands that increasing the ethanol percentage of gasoline could help boost the octane rating of the fuel supply. A mid-level ethanol blend would allow for the development of very fuel-efficient engines, reducing petroleum usage, greenhouse gas emissions, and helping to satisfy increasing fuel efficiency criteria. Currently, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency have allowed the use of E15 in vehicles with a make and model year of 2001 or later, which account for approximately 80% of all vehicles on the road today.

Clean octane sources are being investigated by automakers as a solution to meet efficiency and greenhouse gas restrictions. In the short term, this is where the greatest benefit to health, the environment, and vehicle efficiency may be obtained.

Octane Booster increases octane by how much?

Gumout Octane Booster raises the octane level of gasoline by 8 points (0.8 levels). This, however, may vary depending on the amount of fuel handled and the gasoline’s source.

Is it possible to add an octane booster to premium gas?

Bad gas can be remedied with octane boosters. The issue with bad gas is that it will eventually cause vehicle troubles.

However, adding a premium fuel and an octane booster will lessen the bad gas. Then drive till your vehicle’s gasoline tank is empty. After that, add the octane booster and premium fuel.

When your vehicle’s fuel system becomes contaminated with water or moisture, you’ll get bad gas. Rust will form in the components of your fuel system as a result of water and moisture. This is the source of poor gas, which is harmful to your engine.

It’s better to apply an octane booster after you’ve drained any water or moisture from the system. Otherwise, when rust in fuel system components spreads, you’ll have a bigger problem on your hands.

Which octane booster is the most effective?

The purpose of an octane booster, in general, is to deliver high-octane fuel to your vehicle. While some octane boosters have other benefits or features, their ability to improve the octane rating of your vehicle’s fuel is the most important.

  • The Top 5 Octane Boosters
  • Lucas Oil 10026 Octane Booster is the best overall.
  • STP Octane Booster is the second best formula.
  • Royal Purple Max Boost Octane Booster is the third best racing formula.
  • Klotz Octane Booster No. 4
  • Torco Octane Booster #5 Torco Octane Booster #5 Torco Octane Boost
  • Buyer’s Guide to Octane Boosters
  • Our Criteria for Evaluation
  • Most Commonly Asked Questions

Who has the most octane in their gas?

Sunoco’s highest octane fuel, Ultra 94, is available at the pump. It has the highest octane rating of any retail fuel on the mass market in the United States, as well as Top Tier detergency, which helps your engine operate cleaner, longer, and more efficiently.

Is Octane Booster safe to use?

Lucas Octane Booster can be used in any engine, on or off the track. This substance is not legal to sell on the street due to its high potency. This product may expose you to naphthalene, a carcinogen identified by the state of California.

What is the distinction between Octane Booster and Fuel Injector Cleaner?

Cleaners for fuel injectors and fuel systems aim to remove deposits and restore the engine’s efficiency and performance. Octane boosters are used to boost the octane rating of a fuel.

Is it true that mothballs boost octane?

Naphthalene was no longer needed and even proved to be counterproductive after the emergence of really high-octane motor gasolines in the late 1950s. Because Naphthalene has a significantly higher melting point than gasoline, it tends to precipitate out as gasoline starts to evaporate, clogging jets or fuel injectors, causing the engine to carbon ize, and causing numerous rubber seals to fail. When high-octane gas became widely accessible in the 1960s, it was no longer required. Although naphthalene may somewhat boost the octane of today’s 87-octane unleaded ordinary gas, it lowers the octane of most 92-octane (or higher) unleaded premium fuels. Modern gasoline, which is made up of a variety of hydrocarbon chains, may contain a small amount of Naphthalene, but not more than 1%.