KSL TV: “It’s mainly Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico, places that have higher elevations,” said Miland Kofford, program manager of the Weights and Measurements program for Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food. “Altitude plays a big part in what octane does.”
Weights and Measurements are responsible for inspecting the thousands of pumps in the state to make sure the octane rating is right — among many other things. Kofford said many owners’ manuals are based on cars driving at sea level and Utah is far above sea level. He explained the air is less dense at Utah elevations than at lower altitudes, which means the engine draws in less air during combustion. Up here, 85-octane is just fine for most cars.
“You’re still getting that fuel in there, you just don’t have so much pressure,” Kofford said. “And so, it’s not forcing the engine to have pre ignition or combustion problems in the cylinder.”
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