Why Fuel Is Better In The Summer
Ever wondered why fuel prices go up when summer hits? This is a bad thing for your wallet but not for you! Wanna know why? Wanna learn about summer blend vs winter blend? Read on…
Fuel price fluctuation
Each year, prices fluctuate of fuel because of some logical reasons and financial ones as well.
From late May all the way to mid-September, fuel prices generally trend upwards. Nationwide this increase averages up to 31 cents per gallon (statistics from AAA Carolinas; data analyzed from 2000 to 2008).
Refineries schedule their maintenance for May which translates into limited production. Coincidentally at the same time summer begins and people begin vacationing, going on a road trips, etc, etc.
As finances teach us, when the supply is limited but the demand is high and growing, prices go up (sometimes by a significant margin, as we experienced in the last few years).
Also refineries tweak their production formulas to make space for the so called “summer blend” fuel. This requires different ingredients than the “winter blend” fuel, ingredients that are generally more expensive.
Summer represents a great travel time of the year for most people, unfortunately it also brings hurricanes and twisters which disrupt the normal flow of events. Roads are blocked/destroyed, refineries might need to be shut down or repaired, transporting fuel from the refinery to the gas station might require extra miles and time due to route delivery changes. All these increasing costs need to be covered by someone, this someone… most of the time, is the end user.
Summer Blended Fuels
Gasoline is made up by different components that are added or subtracted in order to create the final product (regular, mid-price, premium, etc).
These ‘recipes’ have to meet federal environmental standards. Also have to meet an assortment of local standards during the warmer summer months or cold winter months. To keep in mind, each area of the US comes with it’s own special requirements.
For example, for most parts of the year… gasoline incorporates a number of cheaper additives, such as butane, usually to reduce costs. During hot summer periods, these cheaper alternative additives can evaporate from the fuel and end up in the air as a pollutant.
The Environmental Protection Agency discovered this behavior and started the season blend switch in 1995 to the lesser known RFG (Reformulated Gasoline Program), part of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. This was imposed to reduce smog and pollution in the ozone during summer months. ( June 1st – Sept 15th)
Why Fuel Is Better In The Summer?
Gasoline is more than processed crude oil – it’s a mixture of refined crude oil plus different additives and compounds.
Summer blends are considered “purer” than winter blend, thanks to a lesser amount of fuel additives blended into it.
Winter blends become packaged up with a lot of additives which are cheaper however. Biggest drawback is that they end up reducing the percentage of gasoline from the mix, which reduces the overall energy (aka BTU’s) released during internal combustion. You can read more about winter blends here
As the EPA claims, the oxygenates and fuel additives used in the summer blends of gasoline burn cleaner. As a result this produces less smog and even less toxic air pollutants overall. However, they leave out the most important part for those of us who are more performance minded… these summer blends produce more power and better fuel mileage.
These ingredients make the summer blended fuels not only more environmentally friendly and more pure overall ( the percentage of gasoline in the mix is larger than in the winter blend where there’s a larger percentage of additives in the gasoline), they make our cars and trucks just run better and in some cases a lot better depending on the engine and tune of the vehicle.
This is why fuel is better in the summer and a little more expensive. However in the miles driven during summer months, it may just be worth it to your wallet after all.
The differences come down to the four P’s of summer fuel: purity, pollution, price, performance. Remember these 4 P’s the next time you’re at the pump this summer.
For even better performance, better energy (higher BTU’s) and more efficient fuel burning combined with better fuel consumption PLUS a cleaner running engine in ANY season we recommend using CleanBoost® Maxx™ at every fill up. It’s the most concentrated fuel additive on the market at just 1 oz per 30 gallons of fuel. Get yours today.
About the Author
Automotive enthusiast, passionate about Jeeps, hot-rods, turbos, performance, efficiency, diesels, fuels, high performance oils, additives and anything with an engine.