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Call to Action for a Truly Sustainable Renewable Future
August 8, 2013 – 5:07 pm | No Comment

-Include high octane/high ethanol Regular Grade fuel in EPA Tier 3 regulations.
-Use a dedicated, self-reducing non-renewable carbon user fee to fund renewable energy R&D.
-Start an Apollo-type program to bring New Ideas to sustainable biofuel and …

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Why High-Octane Gas Costs So Much More Than Regular

Submitted by on July 4, 2017 – 11:18 amNo Comment

by Clifford Atiyeh (Car and Driver) …  As gas prices tumbled over the past three years, the premium-fuel premium skyrocketed from 35 cents per gallon in 2013 to 47 cents in 2015 and reached 50 cents in late 2016. According to the latest data from AAA (which tracks fuel prices daily instead of the EIA’s weekly), premium costs $2.80 per gallon on average, or 60 cents more than regular. In 2000, the spread was 18 cents.

But another factor driving demand is that more stringent fuel-economy standards have put downsized and turbocharged engines in more and more new cars. And most, if not all, of those engines, whether in a Mini Cooper or a Nissan Juke, require premium for the best power and mileage.

The refining industry hasn’t been able to keep up. Greater domestic production of light crude oil has led to a surplus of naphtha, a lower-octane feedstock. When refiners convert naphtha into reformate, a high-octane component produced in a separate catalytic process, they’ve taken advantage of the naphtha surplus to produce more reformate. But these greater volumes of reformate are lower in octane than smaller volumes, the EIA says, and with the plastics industry turning away from naphtha, refiners have more of an incentive to blend the lower-octane stock into their gasoline. In turn, refiners haven’t increased their octane production with overall gasoline production. In 2016, refiners dedicated 30 percent of their total capacity to octane production, a three-point dip from 2007.

What about ethanol, the plant-based renewable blended into every tankful? At 115 octane, ethanol is already blended into gasoline at 10 percent, but refiners can’t push any further. Automakers, engine manufacturers, AAA, and the American Petroleum Institute have all lobbied against E15, a 15 percent blend, claiming it would lead to premature component failures. Without dumping more ethanol—or other octane boosters like lead and MTBE, which were outlawed for road use in 1996 and 2006, respectively—refiners have experienced an “octane shortage that required refiners and blenders to acquire more expensive sources of octane,” the EIA said.   READ MORE

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