We buy fuel for two primary things – STORED ENERGY & OCTANE. In the older days, we also bought fuel for lubricity, which most gasoline and diesel fuel sold today no longer really provides (unleaded gasoline & low sulphur diesel).
1. Stored energy
Fuel is a conduit for energy. We use a motor to convert that energy into torque, and that torque into work. We think of it as miles per gallon. What we need to realize is that a car that travels 25mpg actually travels 25 miles per 114,000BTU. This makes it more obvious that we use an engine to convert energy (BTU) into miles travelled. A reduction in BTUs means a reduction in mileage. An increase in BTUs conversely equates to an increase in mileage.
High (research) octane fuel has no more BTU than low octane fuel. What it has is the ability to provide a uniform burn at high cylinder pressure, basically no knocking and pinging, while it is burning. This indirectly makes an engine more efficient. Octane does not provide more mileage, but reduces the inefficiencies due to an incomplete burn. Higher mileage and better performance are a byproduct of reducing pre-ignition in the combustion process.
While this is typically measured within dedicated lubricants, the idea of lubricity is clearly more relevant in the days of unleaded and low sulphur fuels. Every part of the engine in which air is pumped through has minimal lubrication, and much of it is subject to extremely high loads and temperature. Valve seats and stems, cylinder walls and piston rings all NEED the protection afforded by lubricity that survives the combustion process. A fuel additive that introduces lubricity protects the function and longevity of the moving parts on the top of the engine, within intake and exhaust.
- The myth about biodiesel
Biodiesel is a less energetic fuel. It typically offers 90% of the energy of diesel, requiring about 8% more of it to equal the mileage/performance of diesel. Biodiesel in many places costs a bit more than diesel. The premium price combined with the fact that you have to use more of it negates any benefits offered to the world by the fuel. It takes 1.1 gallons of biodiesel (approx.) to equal the BTU’s of regular diesel, and the price of 1.1 gallons of biodiesel is equal to about 1.35 gallons of diesel. Biodiesel costs more, and gives you less power. You will have to use more and spend more in place of regular diesel.
- Buy fuel by BTU
If you factor the cost per BTU when purchasing fuel, you become aware of the values, and the unneeded expenses. Divide the cost of fuel by the BTU’s delivered per unit, and that it the per BTU price of the fuel.
- Increased energy in the fuel
We use fuel to deliver energy into a motor, where we can release it by setting it on fire. The energy is represented as BTU per unit (like per gallon), or Joules. Each unit of fuel put into a car has a total amount of energy in it. This is a measure of the total work that can be done with that gallon of fuel. To increase mileage, either increase the efficiency with which a motor converts energy from the fuel into work, or store more energy in the fuel.
The following are approximations based on information posted by fuel companies and diesel engine manufacturers:
- Diesel (summer) – 129,500
- Diesel (winter) – 116,000 – with antigel additives – approx*
- Diesel (winter, bulk) – 110,000 – with antigel additives, and additional additives – approx*
- Biodiesel (summer) – 118,300
- Gasoline (summer) – 114,000
- Gasoline (winter) – 112,500
- E15 (Gasoline with 15% ethanol) – 108,315
- E85 – 81,800
Eco Fuel Saver modifies fuel in a measurable way
Eco Fuel Saver lowers the total cost per BTU of fuel
Adjusts the, per BTU, pricing to include EFS. EFS will add 7 – 10% BTU’s in diesel, and 12 – 15% in gasoline. Using 10% as a safe number, adjust the total BTU’s, and then calculate the price of BTUs to include the cost of EFS. This is the total price for the fuel.
This means that the fuel becomes more POWERFUL. EFS increases BTU by 10%. The BTU gives you a quick measure of the ability of that fuel to be translated into work within an engine. Increasing BTU means more work for a given unit of fuel.
Increased Performance/Increased Mileage
An engine with an increased BTU fuel can do more work. This work means that the engine makes the same power at lower RPM (the engine has to spin less to make the same power). It consumes less fuel to make the same power, this can translate to increased mileage, since it takes less RPM and fuel to get the same power, and it takes a certain amount of power to travel at speed. Most drivers will see the savings with casual driving styles. A subset of drivers typically enjoys the other side of increased fuel energy – POWER. They drive the engine at the same RPM, the same fuel flow – FOOT TO THE FLOOR – and enjoy a slightly more robust engine, with no savings. course, fuel economy means to do the most with the least. Foot to the floor driving is fun, but not economical. Driving style needs to be adjusted to take advantage of the increase in power in order to experience the best savings.
Octane – (better fuel combustion, no knocking and pinging)
- In general, an octane is a hydrocarbon molecule with a specific structure.
- We think more commonly of octane as a reference measure of fuel performance under pressure. In this case, this is generally the existence of a molecular structure of a hydrocarbon that affords a uniform pattern of combustion under pressure.
- This is also a comparison measure (research octane) to the anti-knocking properties of 2,2,4-trimethylpentane (and heptane) in an engine. 100% 2,2,4-trimethylpentane is known as 100 octane for comparison. There are fuel mixtures which contain the “octane” molecular structure in such a way as to be more resistant to knocking than 100% 2,2,4-trimethylpentane, so octane ratings exceeding 100 are possible.
- The higher a fuel’s octane rating, the less resistance to pre-ignition, the more stable the combustion under pressure, thereby allowing better use of the energy in the fuel in higher performance engines with higher compression, turbo charging and supercharging.
Lubricity – (protects the valves, the piston rings and the cylinders – extends the life of the engine)
- The lower end of an engine, everything under where the combustion happens, is lubricated by engine oil. The valvetrain and the top of the cylinders are exposed to fuel and combustion, and do not have the same lubrication.
- Lubricity in the fuel system means that the piston rings and cylinders have more protection, and the valve stems and seats have more lubrication.
- In the older days, leaded fuel offered more lubricity for exactly these parts of the motor. Now with unleaded fuel and low sulphur diesel, the wear and tear on the upper end of the motor is far greater, and the demand on the lubrication system is increased. Providing lubricating protection through the fuel system is a known method for increasing the life of valve stems and seats, and maintaining high cylinder compression.
Reduced emissions – (more efficient combustion of the fuel naturally results in a reduction of harmful emissions)
- This is a byproduct of a more efficient combustion process
- If we burn the fuel more completely, we remove the unburned flotsam of the combustion process.
- The benefits of EFS can be measured in treated fuel, and untreated fuel can be measured as a comparison.
- “Seat of the pants” or testing in operation without recalibration of engine management systems in diesel and gas vehicles can lead to variable results, regardless of the improvements done to the fuel. We need to be aware of this to guide the consumer.
- Saving the world – the byproduct of more efficient combustion is reduced emissions and fuel consumption.