What’s the ‘quality’ of fuel in Ohio?

Posted By on May 11, 2007

Engine ValvesThe answer to the above question is that we really don’t know. Fuel quality ‘verification’ in Ohio has been a pet peeve of mine for some time now and I’ve written my share of letters to state legislators. The fact that Ohio is one of four states that doesn’t test the quality of the fuel that is sold to consumers at the pump makes me wonder if we are a target for ‘fuel dumping?’ How does one know that premium is of higher octane than regular? Do you trust the sign on the pump?

Fuel dumping is something that can take place if stations are not self-regulating themselves, which I assume most do … especially if they want to avoid lawsuits. Cincinnati’s neighboring state Kentucky has checked fuel quality through sampling since the 1980s and plans on building a new facility to be even more thorough. I question whether an unscrupulous distributor could occasionally sell mixed loads of questionable gasoline or diesel across the Ohio River into our state … why not … there isn’t any testing? The distributor might be able to ‘dump’ his fuel and Ohioans wouldn’t be the wiser. (until their car suffers premature engine related problems … see “Are all Gasolines the same?“)

Major fuel suppliers in Ohio claim that this isn’t an issue and that the fuel purchasing public has little reason to not trust the fuel being delivered. I’m a bit more skeptical, not necessarily from the big name companies, but from smaller distributors that end up with a mixed load of fuel and the temptation to deliver it as higher octane fuel. WLWT, Channel 5 in Cincinnati, confirmed that the state legislature will be deciding on two bill which should address our state,s shortcoming in verifying fuel quality. As I see it, the county auditor’s office already checks to see if a gallon is a gallon, taking a few fuel sample shouldn’t be that much more difficult?

If the fuel-testing legislation gets the green light, Ohio drivers could see testing by the end of the summer.

“It would mean if you go into a gas station and you’re buying 89-octane fuel, it will be 89-octane fuel (with) very few contaminates or water in the fuel,” said Kevin Pyle of the Hamilton County Auditor’s Office.


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