Analytical Examination of the Relationship between Fuel Properties, Engine Efficiency, and R Factor Values
The variability in gasoline energy content, though most frequently not a consumer concern, is an issue of concern for vehicle manufacturers in demonstrating compliance with regulatory requirements. Advancements in both vehicle technology, test methodology, and fuel formulations have increased the level of visibility and concern with regard to the energy content of fuels used for regulatory testing. The R factor was introduced into fuel economy calculations for vehicle certification in the late 1980s as a means of addressing batch-to-batch variations in the heating value of certification fuels and the resulting variations in fuel economy results. Although previous studies have investigated values of the R factor for modern vehicles through experimentation, subsequent engine studies have made clear that it is difficult to distinguish between the confounding factors that influence engine efficiency when R is being studied experimentally.