Octane Testing..

Messages
7
Location
Portland, OR
Given the testing and lab knowledge of the people here, I thought I would ask. Anyone know of a place you can mail gas samples for octance analysis? I searched a bit on the internet and didn't turn anything up. The equipment to do the testing is a bit expensive, especially if you can do both RON and MON. Jeff
 
Messages
571
Location
Daytona Beach
I work for an oil company, at the wholesale level. I had our county weights and measures person into my terminal today and this subject just happened to come up. This is a state job, but the people sometimes cover several counties within the state. The gentleman is rather new to the position, but older. He looked to be retirement age to me. He told me that the state just purchased the required equipment to check octanes. He thought it was very expensive too. He also had very little interest in learning how to use it or waste his valuable time testing octanes of gasolines which may change with every delivery. Now, let me clarify this last statement. The oil companies and terminal managers at my level spend a great deal of money and put quite a bit of effort into ensuring that the octane in our tanks is correct, as does the refinery. Heck, to send out 4 quarts of gasoline, considered to be a hazardous substance, there is a $20.00 per package surcharge from either UPS or FEDEX in addition to the shipping. We send out samples of EVERY product at least once EVERY month, that's 8 bottles a month...never have a problem. Everything from dye concentration of off-road diesel fuel to corrosivity, to octane is checked, EVERY month. The octane problems usually come into play after it leaves our terminal. Station managers will sometimes intentionally order too much regular gas. This might be done for many reasons, but one thing is for sure, they are NOT going to pay to have the excess taken back...they're going to put it into the next lowest tank. And to maximize profits, that tank will usually be the premium tank. So, to make a long story short, go to a reputable, company owned, station. If you want to find out for sure about your favorite station, go talk to the manager. Talk about fishing, or guns, or antiques..anything but gasoline. In five minutes you will know what kind of person he is and what type of quality control you can expect. If you can't find the manager, or the employees don't know who he is...go elsewhere for your gas.
 
Messages
43,651
Location
'Stralia
JohnnyG, good post. I believe that the fuel companies do all that they can to keep the product at the required level (not necessarily exceed the levels, but at least give you what you paid for). The independent servos down here are the ones trying to rip the consumer off. Heating oil in the diesel (generally not an issue, occasionally a big deal). Was a bit peeved when my favourite service station was prosecuted for doctoring his fuel with toluene (excise free). My mileage on his regular dropped by about 15% after he had to sell the real thing. Had to start shelling out for premium again.
 
Messages
43,651
Location
'Stralia
Jeff, the university I went to had a variable compression unit to demonstrate the octane testing procedue. Even the demo unit was a lot of money, and getting N-heptane and isooctane isn't something you just wander down to the hardware store for.
 
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