Gasoline additives are incorporated into the fuel to try to increase the octane rating. Octane ratings are the numerical value of the knock resistance of a specific fuel. What is the knock? Your vehicle may make that knocking sound when you speed up. This sound is referred to as a knock or ping sound.
Every manufacturer specifies a specific fuel octane rating for each car in their line up. By following this rating, they are saying you will get maximum performance while making sure the knocking sound is reduced.
Why is octane important to you?
If you use the right octane level, it may prevent damage to your engine. If you use a gasoline with a too low of a rating then your engine requires, then this engine knock may be the result. If the knocking continues, it can cause power loss and may damage the engine over time.
How it all works
Most vehicles are four-stroke gasoline engines. One of these is called the compression stroke. This stage compresses air and gas to a small volume, and then uses the spark plug to ignite the fuel. The compression ratio is the amount of air and gas that is compressed.
Now consider the octane rating. We know the gasoline rating can tell you how much it can be compressed before it ignites. Lower-octane gas will ignite at a lower compression level. A higher-octane rating allows the air/gas mixture to be compressed even more before it ignites.
The final goal of all of these ratings, additives and compression ratings is to increase the horsepower of the engine. To increase the horsepower you need to increase the compression ratio. This means a high-performance engine has a high-compression ratio and therefore needs a high-octane fuel.
All because of the fuel additives used to maximize performance before the knocking sound occurs.
Why gasoline additives
Gasoline additives have the added ability to inhibit corrosion, and as a lubricator to improve the fuel traveling through the engine issues. All of these issues can increase the compression ratio for greater power and engine efficiency. There are many different additives, each with a different purpose.
The types of additives include oxygenates, ethers, antioxidants (stabilizers), antiknock agents, fuel dyes, metal deactivators, corrosion inhibitors and some that can't be categorized.
• Oxygenates are fuels infused with oxygen. They reduce the carbon monoxide emissions created when burning fuel. Oxygenates can be based on either alcohol or ethers.
• Antioxidants – Some antioxidants are used as a stabilizer in fuel to prevent oxidation.
• Antiknock Agents are additives that work to reduce engine knocking while trying to increase the octane rating of the fuel. The mixture of air and gas in a traditional car engine has a problem with igniting too early and when it does, it causes a knocking noise.
• Fuel Dyes are added to fuels. Some countries dye a fuel that is taxed at a lower rate to identify it when used incorrectly. Untaxed fuels are colored (usually blue, red or yellow) and taxed fuels are clear. For example, in the United Kingdom, the fuel they use for agriculture and construction vehicles are taxed at a different rate than for fuel used for commuter vehicles. They dye this fuel red.
• Metal deactivators are fuel additives and lubricant additives that are used to stabilize the fuel. It works by deactivating metal ions. Metal deactivators inhibit the formation of gummy residues. This compound has been approved for both military and commercial use.
• Corrosion inhibitors are chemical compounds that slow down metal corrosion. A good corrosion inhibitor will give 95% inhibition in certain circumstances.
• Miscellaneous –Several other fuel additives don't fall into the same categories as the above.
There are many fuel additives as you can see. They all work together to improve engine performance, increase fuel efficiency while working to lower the damaging emissions from the fuel exhaust.
With any additive, the product must pass stringent testing before it makes it to market.