Automakers lobby for higher octane fuel to boost fuel economy

Automakers testifying before a House environment subcommittee last week asked for a higher octane fuel as a national standard. The OEMs said it would be an inexpensive way to raise fuel economy for the internal combustion engine, since electric vehicles and hybrids are making slow headway in the marketplace.


General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler all support the idea of making 91 the national standard for octane in motor fuel. Today’s standards are generally 87 for regular gas, 88 to 90 for midgrade and 91 to 94 for premium. A standard of 91 would improve fuel economy for 3 percent and add less than 3 percent to the cost of vehicle ownership, said Dan Nicholson, GM’s vice president of global propulsion systems.


Germany already has an octane standard of 91, and the idea has been widely debated in Europe. “America deserves at least as good a fuel as Europe has,” Nicholson said.

Download Bulletin PDF