Ron is from Alaska and he wrote us it seems just to vent some frustration about the lack of high octane gasoline in
his native state. His rant enlightened us on what it's like to be a car guy suffering from too much northern exposure,
so we thought we'd share his diatribe with the whole class.
>> I live in Alaska. As of August 2004, the highest octane gasoline available has been 90. Not 91, as is available in CA, but 90! As some of your readers may note, running newer vehicles on 90-octane gas can cause numerous problems, the least of which is degraded performance and mileage. The reason, as I understand it, for our reduced octane juice is environmental and/or financial as in more costly to distribute as it's not produced locally for cars.
The possibility that this could be better for the environment is absolutely preposterous…
Imagine this scenario: I fill up with the new, lower octane gas. My car pings and bogs when accelerating which
causes me to use the go-pedal more which in turn uses more gas. The result is lower MPG, higher gas bills, and less
driving enjoyment. To resolve part of the situation, I start adding octane boost to every tank of gas. Octane boost
costs between $2 and $12 depending on the gas station or automotive store being frequented. After adding octane boost,
I toss the empty container in the trash. Where does the empty container go? Back into the ground. Is it really empty?
Probably not as there is still residue and some small amount of octane boost left in it.
What does that do to the environment? Who knows, but you get the idea.
So, where does that leave us:
Higher octane gas - no user contributed additives, decent performance, OK gas mileage
Lower octane gas - User contributed additives, more toxic trash, worse performance, more gasoline required due to worse MPG
Is anyone listening or am I just another disembodied voice?