Friday, January 29, 2010


You use petrol to fill up your bike’s tank and after your tank is empty you go back again to fill it up. All this is fine but have you ever wondered what petrol is? Probably not I guess, so that’s why I decided to write an article on this, after all you must know what you are using to fuel your bikes.
A Derivative: Petrol is extracted from crude oil and there are many derivatives which are extracted from crude oil. Diesel, Kerosene, LPG, CNG, White kerosene (aviation fuel), petrol, ethanol, methanol to name a few. Recently the crude oil rates touched an all time record of 148$ a barrel. The rates have come down ever since but the rates are likely to go up in future. The OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) estimates that there is enough crude oil in the world to last another 80 years.
Octane Rating: The normal unleaded petrol you use has an octane rating of 87 or higher. The other octane petrol available in India are 91, 93, 97 RON octane respectively.
Composition: Petrol is made up of aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons along with toluene and benzene. In this, toluene is an explosive and it is used as TNT (trinitrotoluene) in explosives. That’s why petrol is highly inflammable and can explode when it comes in contact with fire. Benzene and Toluene are added to increase the octane rating.
The higher the octane rating the greater the resistance of petrol to explosion, which is why all high performance engines need high octane fuels. High performance engines have high compression ratios compared to normal engines because they produce more power and are high revving. The higher the compression ratio the more efficient the engine is. An example we have is the use of only speed 97-octane petrol for the R1, Hayabusa and racecars in India else their engines wont perform optimally due to loss of power.
So in a nutshell, petrol powers the world and without it life is impossible, use it carefully and judiciously and don’t waste it. Little wonder its called Liquid Gold.