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Fuel Oxygenates


Fuel Oxygenates - "Oxygenates, when added to gasoline, are designed to add oxygen to the gasoline, thereby decreasing vehicular carbon monoxide emissions and oxone levels in the atmosphere." - U.S. Geological Survey, 2006

Fuel Oxygenates - "Fuel oxygenates are a group of chemicals that raise the oxygen content of gasoline. The presence of oxygen optimizes oxidation during fuel combustion, resulting in a more complete burn and a reduction of harmful tailpipe emissions of partially oxidized gasoline components from motor vehicles." - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009

Gasoline Oxygenates - "Gasoline oxygenates have been used in gasoline primarily to improve octane, reduce vehicular emissions and comply with the oxygen requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. While there are many different gasoline oxygenates the ones most commonly used in US gasolines are methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) and ethanol (EtOH). Tert-butyl alcohol (TBA) is both a trace component found in fuel grade MTBE, and is also a metabolite of MTBE biodegradation." - American Petroleum Institute, 2008

Gasoline Oxygenates - "Oxygenates are man-made chemicals that are added to gasoline to make it burn more efficiently. Adding oxygenates to gasoline increases the gasoline's octane level, and reduces pollutants (particularly carbon monoxide) emitted from motor vehicles ... Most oxygenates are either alcohols or ethers, which are readily soluble in water. Two commonly used oxygenates are ethanol and MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether)." - New York State Department of Health, 2006

Related Definitions

Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

USGS Information on Fuel Oxygenates

Related Science Feature Articles

More Information on Fuel Oxygenates


American Petroleum Institute, 2008, Oxygenates: American Petroleum Institute, access date June 17, 2011.

New York State Department of Health, 2006, Fact sheet for gasoline oxygenates in drinking water: Bureau of Toxic Substance Assessment, access date June 17, 2011.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2009, Fuel oxygenates and USTs: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, access date June 17, 2011.

U.S. Geological Survey, 2008, Gasoline oxygenates bibliography: National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program, access date June 17, 2011.


Disclaimer: The definitions on this page are provided for information purposes only, and do not indicate endorment by the U.S. Geological Survey.

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