Higher Octane Could Solve All of Our Problems

Speaking at a conference this week, EPA exec Christopher Grundler said automakers have asked for higher octane fuels for higher compression tolerance and more powerful engines, Automotive News is reporting.
Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar series, Grundler said the EPA has the authority to regulate fuel, but that the agency would investigate whether it would make sense to offer the higher-grade fuel. Grundler is the agency’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality.
(Note to Grundler: You seem like a smart guy. Why can’t we all have race fuel all the time?)

Drivers would have to pay more at the pump, Grundler said, which would make regulating higher octane fuel more difficult to swallow.
However, as more manufacturers turn to turbocharging smaller displacement engines with higher compression ratios, the engines themselves could become more powerful and applicable to a larger range and car size. But will they last?
For example, Mercedes Benz’s 2-liter, turbocharged engine produces 177.5 hp/l, a figure that was almost unheard of in mass-produced passenger cars 20 years ago. The fleet averages though, still hover around 100 hp/l.
Grundler said the EPA would investigate whether higher-octane fuels, or something probably not as exciting, would help manufacturers continue to build bigger, heavier, safer cars, but with more efficient, smaller, fuel-sipping engines.
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