The recent introduction of lower compression ratio engines and the concurrent marketing of unleaded and low-lead content gasolines of generally lower octane number made it appropriate to investigate the interrelationships of engine performance and gasoline octane quality using the “new” engines and fuels.
Programs were carried out to compare fuel economy and acceleration performance of eight matched pairs of 1970 and 1971 automobiles. In addition, octane requirements were obtained on 43 1971 cars with 3,000-12,000 deposit miles. A total of 146 unleaded, low-lead, and leaded regular gasolines obtained at service stations throughout the country were analyzed, and the road octane performance of these gasolines was determined using 1970 and 1971 cars designed for regular gasoline. In addition, a set of 36 specially prepared gasoline blends was tested in the same cars to obtain further insight into the effects of research octane number, motor octane number, and lead content on road octane quality in late-model automobiles.