The direct injection spark-ignition engine is the only internal combustion engine with the potential to equal the efficiency of the diesel and to tolerate a wide range of fuel types and fuel qualities without deterioration of performance. However, this engine has low combustion efficiency and excessive hydrocarbon emissions when operating at light load. In this paper, potential sources of hydrocarbon emissions during light load operation are postulated and analyzed.The placement of fuel away from the primary combustion process in conjunction with a lack of secondary burnup are isolated as important hydrocarbon emissions mechanisms. Analyses show that increasing cylinder gas temperatures can improve secondary burnup of fuel which would reduce hydrocarbon emissions. Practical means to achieve this include higher compression ratio and use of ceramic parts in the combustion chamber.