It's costing motorists millions The octane numbers same regular gas. ing 'average' octane tie"The Federal Energy ure," Lombardo said. Administration is still re- "So, we tell consumers nuiring that gas pumps be 'Â° add (our points to the posted with this mislead- number on the gas pump, that?" rd. ii, im INDEPENDENT (AM) PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM)-A-1$3 Rut isn't that the height of About '10 per rent of afl-S absurdity? Why should (lie p r e m i u m gasoline sold motorist have to juggle oc- t o d a y , L o m b a r d o csti- tanc figure: around like mates, is not necessary fur Iho cars it inlo. By DICK POTIIIER Knight News ServtÂ» If you drive a 1971- through-1974 model car, the odds are high that you're spending too much money for gasoline -especially if you very carefully read the octane numbers posted on gas pumps. And if that sounds ironic,; it is. Drivers who diligently follow the gasoline- grade recommendations in their car-owner manuals are almost certainly wasting money on premium gasolines their cars don't nwjd. Â·Tlie problem is all the federal ' government's fajill, charges a Maryland- based consumer group. In fag, the group says, America's 100 m i l l i o n niSEmsts arc wasting up to^J3 million a day be- c$jp$e they are "over-buy- injfon gasoline octane." Â· ^Knowing about octane rafing* can save more ' for drivers than most of the gas-saving hints, tricks and techniques we read about so often. Here's the situation: Cars made from 1971 through 1974 are virtually all designed to run on regular gasoline, and most of their owner manuals specify gasoline of at least 91 octane. So, with a recommended octane figure in hand, many motorists head for the gas station anil choose a gasoline of at least 91 octane. Now comes the confusion. The octane falings posted on gas pumps have no relationship whatsoever to the octane ratings listed in the manuals. The gas-pump octane ratings are about f o u r points lower than the rating system used in owners manuals. The result is "octane over-buying" by mill ions of motorists. Louis V. Lombardo, president of the Public Interest C a m p a i g n in Maryland, has been grappling with the octane confusion for years. So have many motorists. The problem arises because there are two methods of measuring the octane rating of gasoline. The results differ by a wide enough margin to confuse virtually all gas- buyers. Octane itself is merely a measurement of how much the fuel can be compressed without igniting. Low-octane gas may ignite too soon in a car's combustion chambers and cause a knock, or "ping" that can be harmful to an engine if it occurs continuously. One octane-measuring method is called t h e research method, and it gives an octane figure higher than the other method, called the motor method. The octane numbers recommended in owner m a n u a l s are in the research method, in which premium gas is generally rated as 100 octane, regular as 94 octane and economy as 90 or 91 octane. But the octane number posted on some (not all) gas pumps is based on an average of the research and motor methods, and it's (our points lower than the research method. And that spells a giant consumer ripoff, Lombardo charges. "It's a number that's misleading to consumers... all the motorist needs is a number that he can relate to his owner's manual and its recommendation." Basically. L o m b a r d o says, all 1971-through-1974 cars were made to run on regular-grade gasoline. 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