HC Deb 13 November 1950 vol 480 cc1366-7
28. Mr. Russell

asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will consider raising the standard of pool petrol to approximately 80 octane.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

With the plant now available in sterling refineries, the standard of pool petrol could not be raised to 80 octane without a substantial increase in its lead content; I am advised that this would cause maintenance troubles with British engines. Moreover, the hon. Member's proposal would reduce the total output of motor spirit. For these reasons, as I think he will agree, it would be unwise to adopt it.

Mr. Russell

I agree with the last part of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, but is it not a fact that the standard of branded petrol before the war was approximately 80 octane? Would the Minister not agree that a great deal of wear is caused to engines of all kinds of motor vehicles by the low standard of present day petrol?

Mr. Noel-Baker

Before the war we had three grades of petrol—commercial 68 octane, No. 1 grade 75 octane and top grade 80 octane. I am advised that very few vehicles used 80 octane. Nearly all of them used the other grades. To raise our petrol even to 75 octane would mean a loss of output.