Gas Stations Are Switching to Winter Blend: Here’s What You Need to Know

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Depending on which state you live in, your local gas stations may have already switched over to “winter blend” gasoline. Sadly, winter gasoline is a bit crude. It’s not as refined as summer blends, which pertains to its lower cost, but also it’s a worse-performing fuel. Worse, as in worse performance and worse in terms of damage to the environment. So why is it implemented then?

Mostly because gasoline evaporates at a different rate in warmer temperatures than it does in colder ones. Reid Vapor Pressure is a rating for gasoline, and how easily it can vaporize. Since gasoline is less likely to evaporate at lower temperatures, higher RVP ratings — meaning it is less pure and more prone to evaporate — are more allowable for a winter blend. However, lower ratings are better for performance, and certain allowances are given for E10 blends.

That said, each state, and sometimes each city, is different. In the Chicago area, where I call home, every fuel grade and blend is an E10 mix. I’d have to go over the border to Wisconsin and Indiana to get a non-blended gasoline.

What does this mean to you? Well, unless you have an extreme tune on your car, it won’t be much of a bother. You may notice a bit of a drop in MPG, and maybe a drop in performance. But when there’s snow in the sky, most of us have our car stored anyhow.

Chime in with your thoughts on the forum. >>

Via [Popular Mechanics]

Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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