Summer has its benefits. Fishing season. Dirt-track racing. Wrenching in the garage with the door open and the tunes blaring. Add summer-blend gas to the list thanks to the slight fuel-economy boost it offers.
That’s because refiners alter their gasoline and diesel formulations depending on the seasons, and summer gasoline contains about 1.7 percent increased energy than winter-blend gas.
Regardless of the time of year, it pays to know a little about what’s going in your tank to ensure you’re properly maintaining your fuel system.
A primary difference between winter- and summer-blend gas is their Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP). RVP is a measure of how easily the fuel evaporates at increased temperatures.
The higher the fuel’s RVP, the more easily it evaporates.
Winter-blend fuel requires increased RVP. If the fuel doesn’t evaporate readily in cold temperatures, the engine will start hard and run rough when it’s cold outside.
To achieve this, refiners often blend winter gasoline with butane, a relatively inexpensive additive with a high RVP. They adjust the RVP of the final formulation to as high as 15.0 psi to help the gasoline ignite readily in the cold.
The law promotes summer-blend gas
Once the temperature warms up in summer, however, high-RVP gasoline can volatilize more easily, which contributes to increased emissions and air pollution.
For that reason, federal law restricts sales of gasoline with an RVP greater than 9.0 from June 1 through Sept. 15.
To comply, refiners reduce the amount of butane in the gasoline and instead use pricier additives, hence one reason gas prices generally increase in summer. The blending process also takes longer, adding to the cost.
Some areas set even lower RVP standards in summer to further limit emissions. California, for example, has a 7.0-psi limit. Given the state’s climate, refiners may sell summer-blend gas as early as April 1 and as late as Oct. 31.
For the most part, the semi-annual switch from winter- to summer-blend gas and vice versa happens seamlessly and goes unnoticed by drivers.
Lowest additive concentration
Whether it’s summer-blend gas or not, gasoline contains detergent additives designed to keep fuel injectors and other fuel-system components clean. This helps maximize your fuel economy and reduce emissions.
Some automakers, however, think the additive content, called the lowest additive concentration (LAC), is insufficient for modern vehicles.
It takes a low level of additive to pass the tests, and most gasoline on the market contains as little as 123 ppm of additive.
The low levels of detergent additives in modern gasoline allow deposits to build up on critical fuel-system components, and most motorists are unaware of how dirty the insides of their engines are.
Give your fuel system a deep clean
This is precisely why it’s a good idea to clean and maintain your fuel system with high-quality fuel additives, like those here.
P.i.® Performance Improver is a potent, one-tank additive that deep-cleans your fuel system.
• Cleans fuel injectors, intake valves and combustion-chamber deposits
• Reduces emissions and increases fuel economy up to 5.7 percent¹
• Use every 4,000 miles
Upper Cylinder Lubricant preserves and builds upon those gains. It also provides vital lubrication to the upper part of the cylinders.
• Lubricates upper cylinders to fight wear
• Inhibits ethanol-related corrosion
• Keeps injectors clean
• Delivers 18 percent more lubricity than Lucas and 20 percent more than Sea Foam for better retention of horsepower and fuel economy
We didn’t forget about you diesel burners. AMSOIL formulates a full line of potent additives that maximize power and fuel economy in diesels.
- AMSOIL Diesel Injector Clean provides the optimum chemistry to deliver confidence your truck is protected.
- AMSOIL Diesel Cold Flow enhances fuel flow and helps prevent fuel-filter plugging in cold temperatures.
- AMSOIL Diesel Cetane Boost raises the cetane number of diesel fuel up to eight points for maximum horsepower, increased fuel economy and easier starts in all diesel engines.
- AMSOIL Diesel Injector Clean + Cetane Boost combines the superior detergency and improved lubricity of AMSOIL Diesel Injector Clean and the increased horsepower and cetane of AMSOIL Cetane Boost in one convenient package.
- AMSOIL Diesel All-in-One combines the benefits of all three additives in one convenient package. (It also does a great job preventing fuel gelling in cold weather.)
¹ Based on independent testing using EPA tests: Federal Test Procedure 75 (FTP), Supplemental Federal Test Procedure (US06), and the Highway Fuel Economy Test (HFET). Average fuel mileage increase of 2.3 percent.