Benefits of MTBE  

  • MTBE enhances octane ratings and improves fuel combustion.
  • “Overnight” benefits when added to gasoline pool.
  • Improves Air Quality – Adding MTBE to petrol allows for a more complete combustion of the fuel, reducing harmful exhaust emissions. It has been shown to significantly reduce the tailpipe emission of carbon monoxide, benzene, nitrogen oxides, particulate matters and unburned hydrocarbons. Usage of MTBE also reduces evaporative emissions and reduces the formation of ground level ozone or smog. It has been well documented that MTBE has a positive effect on tail-pipe emissions resulting in significant air quality benefits.
  • MTBE Extends Petrol Supply – It is an important petrol component which enhances energy security as it extends the amount of petrol that can be produced from a barrel of crude oil. MTBE expands gasoline supply by 8-15%. This is particularly important in these times of high oil prices.
  • Cost Effective Petrol Component – MTBE is a cost effective petrol component comparable with other petrol components such as alkylate, reformate and isomerate. It is a very cost effective component which reduces overall pump prices for the consumer.
  • Reduce Capital Expenditure – MTBE is fully compatible with existing petrol distribution infrastructure. There is no need to modify or upgrade refineries or distribution network to accommodate the usage of MTBE.
  • Fungibility and flexibility – It is fungible and allows great flexibility for the refiners.
  • Suitable for all vehicles - It is suitable for all type of petrol powered vehicles, including vehicles with two stroke engines and also carburettor equipped engines, without any modification required.
  • Improve Engine Performance – MTBE’s high octane rating makes it an ideal substitute for other octane components such as lead, a toxic compound that has been phased out around the world. In addition it also has the effect of lowering the Reid Vapour Pressure (RVP) and the T50 distillation point and also improves the Front End Octane Number (FEON). It is extremely useful for producing premium grade petrol due to its favourable technical properties.
  • Not Harmful to Human Health - MTBE is not a carcinogen, among others, the World Health Organization-International Agency for Cancer Research (November 1998), European Union Risk Assessment (December 2000) and the US Department of Health & Human Services-National Toxicology Program (December 1998) have all independently concluded that MTBE is not a human carcinogen.
  • Readily Available – MTBE is traded world-wide and is easily available via a number of supply channels and transport modes. It has been in use for more than 30 years and is predominantly used in countries which have very stringent fuel and air quality standards.
Specific environmental benefits

As an example of the potential air quality benefits of MTBE, the following significant reductions of pollutants have been achieved through the use of reformulated gasoline containing 10-15% MTBE, compared to conventional gasoline:
  • 20-25 % less carbon monoxide
  • 10-15% less unburned hydrocarbons
  • About 30% less particulate matter
  • 20-30% less benzene
  • 5% less nitrogen oxides
  • 15% less evaporative emissions
  • Reduction of ground-level ozone
In Finland, the widespread use of oxygenated fuel containing 9-13% MTBE has reduced CO emissions by 10-20% and hydrocarbons by 5-10%.

Source: Asian Clean Fuels Association