Stradling, R., Rickeard, D., Hamje, H., Williams, J. et al., "Effect of Octane on the Performance of Two Gasoline Direct Injection Passenger Cars," SAE Technical Paper 2015-01-0767, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-0767.
The performance aspect of gasoline combustion has traditionally been measured using Research Octane Number (RON) and Motor Octane Number (MON) which describe antiknock performance under different conditions. Recent literature suggests that MON is less important than RON in modern cars and a relaxation in the MON specification could improve vehicle performance, while also helping refiners in the production of gasoline. At the same time, for the same octane number change, increasing RON appears to provide more benefit to engine power and acceleration than reducing MON. It has also been suggested that there could be fuel efficiency benefits (on a tank to wheels basis) for specially adapted engines, for example, operating at higher compression ratio, on very high RON (100+). Other workers have advocated the use of an octane index (OI) which incorporates both RON and MON to give an indication of octane quality.The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of RON and MON on the power and acceleration performance of two Euro 4 gasoline vehicles under full throttle acceleration conditions. Fifteen fuels covering RON levels 95 to 103 and sensitivities (RON minus MON) up to 15 were blended and tested. Both pure hydrocarbon and blends containing ethanol or ETBE were included so that any specific effects of oxygenates could be identified. Three additional fuels, covering RON as low as 86, were blended using primary reference fuels.The results confirm the findings of other studies that MON is not a good predictor of vehicle performance and in fact high MON levels increase acceleration time under full throttle conditions.