This study evaluated multi-layer steel and composite head gaskets of various thicknesses (0.43 to 1.5 mm) and fire-ring diameters to determine the influence of head gasket crevices on engine-out hydrocarbon (HC) emissions. The upper limit in the percent reduction in HC emissions from gasket-design modifications is estimated to be about 15%. At part-load conditions, the lowest HC emissions were measured for head-gasket thickness of about 1 mm. Significantly smaller thicknesses of the order of 0.4 mm result in an increase in HC emissions. Substantial hydrocarbon-emissions advantage may be realized by minimizing the gasket-to-cylinder bore offset.