In Reply to: for those who live in SoCal. posted by dk on August 03, 2001 at 19:53:56:
Blaine raised a very important issue and was absolutely correct in describing this as a "conspiracy" among the major oil refiners. I have several clients in the petroleum industry and they all confirmed the two major reasons for elimination of the 92 octane fuel.
First, remember that due to emissions issues California requires Reformulated Gasoline(RFG) or what may be referred to as CARB gas. Further, some of you may recall that UnoCal sued all the major refiners claiming that it owned the patent on RFG. UnoCal eventually prevailed in court and forced the other refiners to pay millions in back royalties and future royalties equaling about 4 cents per gallon. The move by all the oil companies to 91 octane is an attempt to bypass the Unocal RFG patents and eliminate the need to pay royalties.
Second, the additive MTBE is being eliminated in 2003 due to its harmful environmental effects. Ethanol is the likely replacement at this point. But my sources tell me that MTBE boosts octane more that Ethanol which should mean that higher octane fuel may be unattainable without other additives.
There you have it! Looks like the after market Octane Boost business may start to boom. We should buy stock in those companies!
Hope this info helps and that we have no long term negative effects on our cars.