Consumers Have Limited Assurance That Octane Ratings Are Accurate

T-RCED-90-90: Published: Jun 20, 1990. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 1990.

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GAO discussed the results of a nationwide review on gasoline octane labelling, focusing on consumer concern that gasoline will meet vehicle octane requirements. GAO noted that: (1) newer gasoline-alcohol blended fuels or future fuels that may become available to abate vehicle pollution are subject to the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act's octane posting requirements; (2) octane mislabelling is occurring and is costly to consumers, but the nationwide extent of mislabeling is unknown; (3) testing fuel to ensure that posted ratings are accurate is an effective deterrent to mislabelling; and (4) the act's provisions may limit state enforcement efforts. GAO believes that there are options for including the states in the program in a way likely to result in greater assurance that the act's objectives are achieved.

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