The quality of gasoline is measured by its octane rating, which describes the ability of the gasoline to be burned without causing knocking in the engine (knocking is when gasoline ignites outside of the normal zone in the engine). In most states, regular gasoline is 87 octane and premium is 93 octane. In high-altitude states, the thinner air means that the engine is less likely to knock, so the octane rating does not need to be as high. Regular gasoline is 85 octane, mid-range is 87, and premium gasoline is 93 octane.
85 octane gasoline is seen in parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and other western states.
ASTM international sets the country’s standard for gasoline or, as they call it: automotive spark-ignition engine fuel. They set the minimum requirements needed for gasoline to perform correctly in most modern automobiles. Conceivably, this standard is applied throughout the country. The EPA also sets some gasoline standards based on emission standards set by the 1990 Clean Air Act. These standards, however, are applied to various locals based on the need for cleaner air. It is important to note that quality of gasoline isn’t necessarily related to the octane levels you see sold at your local gas station (usually 87, 89, 91). The octane has to do with something called engine knock and usually related to the type of car you own. Higher octane does not mean better performance.
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