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True Hotrodder
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1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was thinking which sometimes isn’t a good thing.
Back when I was a kid pumping fuel at gas stations (16,17,18) I remember Amoco was selling the only unleaded fuel at the time. But also around this time most of our engines were in the neighborhood of 9.8 – 11.1 compression ratios and there wasn’t a lot of pinging and banging going on running the stuff. So now I am wondering what were they putting in that fuel to prevent pre-ignition and why we can’t have that today?
Also, it’s been a rumor I guess for a long time but I worked a Sunoco station for a bit and if you remember there was a dial on the side of the pump that would allow you pick the octane level you wanted. Sorta foggy now but I think the pumps ran from 140-260? Anyway, the whole deal was two tanks of fuel (one hi-test and one regular) that were being mixed right there at the pump. I worked this station mostly on Thursday – Sunday nights and on Friday and Saturday night I would lock out the outer pump to pure hi-test or 280 as it was referred to; no lower octane fuel was mixed with it. I would charge an extra $1.00 per 5 gallons that was pumped and had guys lined up in and out of the gas station. I made a little extra spending money and the guy that owned the station was impressed with how many gallons of gas I pumped every weekend once the word got around. And again, why doesn’t somebody do this now?
Lastly, I was wondering what happened to all of the gasoline, motor oil, battery and anti-freeze commercials that used to be on television? I think the last thing I can remember now is Shell running some commercials about the amount of detergents their fuels contained and their cleaning ability. Other than that one, it seems like its been a very long time since these type of commercials were out there. So the question I have is have the vendors of these products simply decided that either the motoring public isn’t really all that interested in any difference between manufacturers of these products or do they simply sell so much of their product that there is no gain in advertising it anymore?
 

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More for Less Racer
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19,293 Posts
Yeah, the Amoco pumps were like that..."140" and "260" wasn't the octane though, just the name they put on each grade. IIRC the 260 was the 100-102 octane or so top grade, "Super-Premium".
They used a brew of different aromatic compounds rather than tetraethyl lead, likely today those compounds are prohibitively expensive along with some are probably also banned from use.

Sunoco was the first to use the "260" moniker, but theirs was a leaded fuel, close to 104 octane I think. Listed as "Super-Premium"
Regular was 93 octane, Premium was 96-99 depending on the brand.

I was a bit too young to remember this exactly, I'd have to aske my dad
if he remembers exactly what octane the various grades were, he worked some moonlighting at the local Amoco, doing solid lifter adjustments, Hurst shifter adjustments, and other performance adjustments for the local clientele...I remember him always mentioning "Sunoco 260" as the best stuff around back then, but you had to go across town to get it..

https://www.tommcmahon.net/2010/08/sunoco-blendomatic-gas-pump.html

Some interesting reading in this Steve's Nova Site thread, post #4:
https://www.stevesnovasite.com/threads/history-of-fuel-octane-o-the-good-old-days.164646/
 

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Hotrodders.com Moderator
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8,096 Posts
MTBE

Methyl tertiary Butyl Ether is what they put in the fuel to prop up octane . or lack of it,.LOL

It used to say it on the pumps, but I guess corn squeezins are they way to go now. Chances are MTBE kills the environment, brain cells, rare frogs....whatever, who knows.
 

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Registered
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5,712 Posts
Mtbe baddd

MTBE did not completely burn in the combustion chamber. the vapors in the air contaminated San Francisco drinking water stored in Crystal Springs reservoir in the hills south of the city.
A smog test tech breathing all the fumes flunked an alcohol drunk driving test. And there was a lawsuit when the US quit using the supply from Canada.
 

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Cars, Trucks, Boats, Motorcycl
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7,368 Posts
Sunoco was 190 - 260... 200 was regular... 190 was for your car if the engine had the compression ratio of a campfire... Octane was measured by a slightly different method in those days... 1930's - 1955 cars had 5.5 - 7.5:1 compression ratio... 1966 we bought Sunoco for 16c and sold it for 32c...

Word pretty well got around that gas was gas... unless a station here or there had water or rust in their tanks... Oil companies pretty much gave up on advertising to convince buyers to pay more...

Shell used to advertise that their gas had an increased mileage ingredient called Platformate and others didn't... turns out they all had that ingredient, they just couldn't call it Platformate...

Shell would just as soon you didn't realize they are Royal Dutch Petroleum...

BP kinda hides British Petroleum... used to be Standard Oil out of Lima, Ohio... also known as SOHIO... Standard of Ohio...
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Grand Prix user
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5,347 Posts
Any time I have suggested that gas from one place is different from gas at another, in today's world, I have been stonewalled by folks saying

Its all the same. Gas and oil. No exceptions.:confused:

That could be a reason for seeing less advertisements saying that theres a difference. But I maintain that not all is the same based on personal experience.
 

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Cars, Trucks, Boats, Motorcycl
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7,368 Posts
Its all the same. ... oil.

That could be a reason for seeing less advertisements saying that theres a difference. But I maintain that not all is the same based on personal experience.
Walmart now has 5 quarts of CONVENTIONAL oil for $12.99... FULL SYNTHETIC $13.99 !!! ... That's going to put a crimp in the brands selling synthetic at the price of gold...

Main differences in gasolines now is octane ratings of course and then pure gasoline, up to 10% Ethanol gasoline, and E-85% Ethanol gasoline which was lower priced/lower energy until gasoline price dropped below Ethanol... plus 'racing' and 'aviation' gasolines...

In 1960's diesel fuel/heating oil/Jet Fuel A was always half the price of gasoline... they claimed it was a byproduct of refining gasoline...
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True Hotrodder
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1,163 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Yep I think the Walmart synthetic is fine for the daily drivers - good way to maybe offer a bit more protection without going broke over it and you're going to get the rid of the ride down the road anyway.


I don't care for it a bit in any performance or race engine. I simply can't trust it - don't ask me why - but when we're talking 17,18,19+ thousands of dollars for a race engine - I can spend a little bit more on the oil.
 
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