Fossil Fuels

What is a reformulated gasoline?

Oil companies are being required to offer new gasolines that burn more cleanly and have less impact on the environment. Typically, reformulated gasoline (RFG) contains: lower concentrations of benzene, aromatics, and olefins; less sulfur; a lower Reid vapor pressure (RVP); and some percentage of an oxygenate (non-aromatic component), such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE). MTBE is a high-octane gasoline blending component produced by the reaction of isobutylene and methanol. It was developed to meet the ozone ambient air quality standards, but its unique characteristics as a water pollutant pose a challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in meeting the requirements of the Clean Air Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Underground Storage Tank Program. The Clean Air Act called for reformulated gasoline to be sold in the cities with the worst smog pollution beginning January 1, 1995. Reformulated gasoline is now used in 17 cities and the District of Columbia.

What kinds of additives are in gasoline and why?

Additive Function
Antiknock compounds Increase octane number
Scavengers Remove combustion products of antiknock compounds
Combustion chamber Suppress surface ignition and spark plug deposit modifiers fouling
Antioxidants Provide storage stability
Metal deactivators Supplement storage stability
Antirust agents Prevent rusting in gasoline-handling systems
Anti-icing agents Suppress carburetor and fuel system freezing
Detergents Control carburetor and induction system cleanliness
Upper-cylinder lubricants Lubricate upper cylinder areas and control intake system deposits
Dyes Indicate presence of antiknock compounds and identify makes and grades of gasoline


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