METHANOL AS A MOTOR FUEL OR A GASOLINE BLENDING COMPONENT 750123
Laboratory and road tests showed methanol to be an effective octane booster. Adding 10% methanol to unleaded gasoline raised the Road octane 2-3 numbers. However, significant deterioration in driveability tests occurred because of methanol's “leaning” effect. The water sensitivity of methanol/gasoline requires a separate fuel distribution system. Fuel storage in a vehicle must be protected from water absorption. Corrosion and degradation problems occur in the vehicle fuel system where methanol/gasoline mixtures contact lead, magnesium, aluminum, and some plastics.
Methanol burned more efficiently under lean conditions than gasoline. However, the cold start problems require a separate starting fuel. Methanol is not a useful fuel additive for existing unmodified cars. Methanol could be used effectively in special vehicles designed to handle the corrosion, water absorption, and vaporization characteristics. The cost of manufacture and distribution in a separate system that overcomes the water sensitivity problem will determine the extent of methanol's use as a vehicular fuel.