AD #2096 – GM Calls for Standard High Octane Gas, Why U.S. Sales Are Falling, More Emission Cheating Accusations

April 26th, 2017 at 11:51am

Runtime: 8:04

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- More Emission Cheating Accusations
- Germany Fights Stricter Emission Tests
- Why U.S. Sales Are Falling
- It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a…Flying Taxi?
- Consumer Reports Downgrades Tesla
- GM Calls for Standard High Octane Gas
- Junior Announces Retirement

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26 Comments to “AD #2096 – GM Calls for Standard High Octane Gas, Why U.S. Sales Are Falling, More Emission Cheating Accusations”

  1. Max Says:

    Another reason car sales are falling is because new vehicles, particularly pickups, are just too damn high priced! I’ve been amazed at how good sales have been over the past few years, but I think alot of that was due to pent up demand going back to the Great Recession. Problem is, vehicle prices, along with almost everything else, have shot up since the depths of the Recession. The one exception – wages! And now with interest on the rise again, the high prices, and most of the pent up demand fulfilled, new vehicle sales have nowhere to go but DOWN!

  2. David Sprowl Says:

    With GM and others wanting to use higher octane fuel, and with diesel emissions cheating becoming a continual note in the automotive news, it appears diesel passenger vehicles may very well go the way of the do-do.

  3. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I find it interesting that GM would be early in calling for “standard” higher octane gas, since the have always been a leader in tuning their engines to run on regular. If higher octane does become standard, it would give GM an mpg advantage, though, relative to most European and Asian “premium” brands that now recommend premium, while with few exceptions, GM products do not.

  4. Brett Says:

    Now, if Brian France would retire…

  5. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It makes sense for Earnhardt to retire. Given his recent performance, it seems very unlikely that he would ever win a championship, and health-wise, he doesn’t need any more head injuries.

  6. Chuck Grenci Says:

    Wouldn’t it be more fair to say that auto sales have plateaued instead of an inferred rapid decline. And plateauing at around 17 million units, that certainly isn’t a bad thing. Yes, I agree that pent-up demand probably has be satiated, but let’s be fair, we haven’t seen any rapid declines as of yet.

    When I was still a fan of NASCAR, my main man was “Junior”. Now that I don’t follow much, other than maybe who won, where did Junior finish and a quick check to make sure Danica is where she belongs (around 25th), I’m generally done with ‘stock’ car racing. Here’s hoping Junior finishes his year safely and maybe even winning one last time. Best wishes Dale.

  7. Steve Says:

    Maybe the problem for the car companies with diesel emission violations is that the requirement set by the government is unreasonable.

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 The NOx requirements are certainly hard to achieve with diesels. The trouble is, nitrogen oxides are very unhealthy to breathe, and they contribute formation of ground-level ozone, also unhealthy to breath. NOx can also react with moisture to cause acid rain.

    To me, the standards are not unreasonable; they were arrived at for a reason, but maybe large numbers of diesel engines do not belong in dense urban areas.

  9. Roger T Says:

    Higher octane gas should help car manufacturers meet fuel efficiency metrics at a lower hardware cost basis. Also, higher cost fuel incentivizes consumers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles and it incentivizes purchase of electrified vehicles, all of which help manufacturers with their emissions targets. Imagine having to buy premium for an Expedition for instance.

  10. Albemarle Says:

    It’s long overdue to improve gasoline. Look how long it took to get the sulphur out of diesel fuel. Interesting that when you consider the size of the auto industry, it’s the oil industry in North America that calls the shots. In Europe, it’s the auto industry.

    With current low fuel prices, we have the price flexibility to do this now. Good for GM to push this.

  11. Kit Gerhart Says:

    John or Sean, do you know how much more it actually costs to make 91 octane than 87? Also, how much more crude, if any, does it take to make the higher octane stuff?

    FWIW, I have two cars that “premium is recommended, but not required.” I use regular in both of them most of the time, and use premium only if I know I will be driving them “harder than usual.” I’ve checked gas mileage enough to find that it is the same, as far as I can tell, with regular and premium. I’d be curious to know how much better the mpg, and how much more power they would make, if the compression were a little higher, and premium was “required.”

  12. Bob Wilson Says:

    Higher octane helps when the engine is in a high-power mode but these are few and far between. The real trick is to use hybrid techniques so the engine ONLY run in high efficiency mode and remains off the rest of the time.

  13. cwolf Says:

    Flying Taxi rides at only $1.32/mile; Not bad at all!
    …er-ummm…parachute rental extra and optional!

    This thing must fly at a height of about250 ft. for a std. chute to open and half that for quick opening ones.

    I’ll pass on this taxi.

  14. XA351GT Says:

    Kit @ #11 I don’t know about the difference in regular vs premium ,but Diesel , home heating oil and kerosene are not refined as much a gasoline yet costs more to buy at the pump. At least that is what I have been led to believe.

  15. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Is this the flying taxi?

    https://phys.org/news/2016-01-chinese-drone-maker-unveils-human-carrying.html

    It has a 2 hour change time, and 23 minute run time on a charge. I suspect the fares will be quite high.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 Diesel takes a little more crude to make, but takes less processing, but it seems that U.S. prices are largely “market driven.” I had a diesel Jetta wagon at a bad time, in the early 2000′s, when diesel usually cost ~30% more than gas, negating the mpg advantage. I had the advantage of 700 miles per fillup, though.

  17. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Diesel in my area has been priced below reg gas,for over 2 years now.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    When I had my diesel, the fuel prices seemed to vary a lot by region. I looked up tax differences by state, and they relatively small, and not the reason.

    I haven’t paid much attention to diesel prices lately, since I don’t have one, and am unlikely to buy another. Gas cars keep doing better, and my Prius is getting about 50 overall, and I just drive it. No hypermiling here. My Corvette gets almost 30 on the interstate. I’m waiting for a hybrid Corvette. Not really. It wouldn’t fit the image, but done properly, it would work very well.

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Ya know what Kit? The posted hwy speed limit here is 65.I usually lock in my cruise at 69mph.Damned if I don’t get passed by every prius on the road.They are hauling ass @ 75+,lol.

    As for diesels,I’m really thinking about a midsize pickup,with a diesel.Yeah,I like the chebby,but I want to see what Jeep,and Nissan come out with in 2018/19.It would be perfect to tow a small travel trailer,(think R-pod)cross country for one last big road trip.

    But,I still have some years to wait for the other two,make that three,I forgot about the new ranger.Maybe that might be offered with a small diesel too.

  20. Ziggy Says:

    Nice try GM, but why should all future car buyers subsidize your ability to meet fuel economy and emissions standards by having to pay extra for higher octane fuel due to your engines’ higher compression ratio? Just another snow job by GM to make it look like they are doing us a big favor when in fact we would be helping them meet their requirements and costing us more every time we filled up.

  21. Rick W Says:

    Sean and John,
    Why is it that I seem to be hearing differing statistics about US car sales seemingly week to week on Autoline Daily.??

    One week I hear that they are up for the previous month and then they are down overall for the quarter or latest month.

    You’ve also reported on the high number of vehicles in inventory and that leads to your conclusion of sales and possible on hood rebates.?????

    It becomes very confusing as to what is real and what isn’t. I’m not finding these discounts on new cars in MA/New England.

    I would love to time a new purchase based on the info I get from you guys, but I’m not seeing it here.

  22. NormT Says:

    GM doesn’t set the gasoline prices, nor do they have weight in setting higher grades of octane. It is the Exon and BP that do along with the futures on petro.

    With higher octane timing can be increased along with the resultant nitrogen oxide. So it should interesting to see how they keep NOx in check.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    20 All gas being higher octane would make it easier for all car companies, not just GM, to meet fuel economy standards. Yeah, it would advantage GM, Ford, and Toyota over Mercedes-Benz and BMW, which require premium for almost everything they sell, while GM, Ford, and Toyota say regular is ok for most of their vehicles.

    Without knowing how much more it would actually cost for all gas to be higher octane, it is hard to know if it would save, or cost us money over time. It would cost us, at least a little, with older cars which might not benefit from higher octane, but if the the real increase in cost for higher octane is small, it could save us money with new cars. As with many things, the devil is in the details, like how more more it REALLY costs to produce higher octane gas.

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    It wasn’t too long ago when moving up to midgrade was a dime and subsequently to premium another dime, but lately I’ve seen almost 30 cents more for each move. Now, if across the board gasoline octanes rose to what premium is now, I feel confident that the price increase wouldn’t be as high as we see today (economy of scale perhaps). Then with that being said, and if it comes to fruition, do the oil companies offer a super premium, say 95, 98 or 100 octane? I think that they probably would though I don’t know when there would be diminishing returns on a higher octane fuel.

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I suspect the actual production cost of premium over regular is not even close to what they charge. If it cost a dime extra for premium over regular, I never would have bothered with trying regular in my Mini and Corvette. I’d just use premium.

    The crazy thing, is that people pay ~50 cents a gallon extra for premium in cars that don’t even recommend its use, thinking they are doing their car a favor. I recently ran across someone using premium in a non-supercharged 3800 in a Pontiac Bonneville, a car that would have no benefit whatever with premium.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 G.A., The speed limit is 70 on most of the interstates I drive. I generally go 75-78, regardless of the car. The drivers around me seem to behave differently, depending on what I’m driving. SUV’s blocking the passing lane are more likely to move over for a Corvette, than for a Prius.