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What’s the Difference Between Summer and Winter Gas?

Gas is gas is gas right? Actually, there is a difference between summer and winter gas. Learn what this difference is and how it affects gas prices in this week’s blog!

Summer vs. Winter Gas

Gasoline blends have to meet federal and state regulations, which is why there are about 20 different blends in the country for different states and different seasons. But what does the season have to do with the gas blend?

The reason is that when gasoline burns, it releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. In the summer when it’s hot, these VOCs evaporate into the atmosphere more easily. The summer is already a bad time for smog, due to the heat in the atmosphere, and adding in VOCs makes smog worse. So in the summer, gasoline refiners make different blends of gas that won’t add as many VOCs into the atmosphere.

They do this by adjusting blend to create a lower Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP), which measures how easy it is for a gas to become a vapor. The higher the number, the easier it is. All gas blends must be below 14.7 PSI, which is the normal average atmospheric pressure. If it were higher than that, all gas would easily vaporize.

In the summer, depending on your location, the gas you buy has an RVP of between 9.0 PSI and 7.8 PSI. This is even lower in a few cities like New York and Los Angeles, where smog is a big problem. But this lower RVP comes at a price. Summer blend gasoline is more expensive to manufacture due to the extra steps needed to bring down the RVP. This is why you see prices rise at the pump during the summer. In the winter, when the regulations on RVP are relaxed, gasoline is cheaper to manufacture, and prices come down. Of course we’re seeing record low gas prices right now due to the falling price of a barrel of oil, but the switch to winter blend gas is having an effect too.

winter gas

If you have any questions about our blog, “What’s the Difference Between Summer and Winter Gas? ” please contact Auto Stop by calling 410-467-7600 or visit AutoStopLTD.com today! You can also follow Auto Stop on FacebookTwitter, and Google+.

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This entry was posted on Friday, November 7th, 2014 at 4:39 pm. Both comments and pings are currently closed.