Homebrew Gasoline Octane Boosters

Editor’s note: I would NOT suggest that a person use the following fuel mixtures without considering the detrimental effects on your engine, vital engine components (O2 sensor, etc), and other potential damage. That said, the information is interesting.

Original published in:

GS-Xtra
1213 Gornto Road
Valdosta, GA 31602

(912) 244-0577
Editor: Richard Lasetter, president Gran Sport Club of America (GSCA)

Formula #1 – Toluene

R+M/2………114
Cost………..$2.50/gal

Mixtures with 92 Octane Premium

10%………..94.2 Octane
20%………..96.4 Octane
30%………..98.6 Octane

Notes: Common ingredient in Octane Boosters in a can. 12-16 ounces will only raise octane 2-3 *points*, i.e. from 92 to 92.3. Often costs $3-5 for 12-16 ounces, when it can be purchased for less than $3/gal at chemical supply houses or paint stores.

Formula #2 – Xylene

R+M/2………117
Cost………..$2.75/gal

Mixtures with 92 Octane Premium

10%………..94.5 Octane
20%………..97.0 Octane
30%………..99.5 Octane

Notes: Similar to Toluene. 12-16 ounces will only raise octane 2-3 *points*, i.e. from 92 to 92.3. Usually mixed with Toluene and advertised as *race formula*.

Formula #3 – Methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE)

R+M/2………118
Cost………..$3.50/gal

Mixtures with 92 Octane Premium

10%………..94.6 Octane
20%………..97.2 Octane
30%………..99.8 Octane

Notes: Oxygenate. Very common in octane booster products. Has lower BTU content than toluene or xylene, but oxygenate effect makes the gasoline burn better and produce more energy.

Formula #4 – Methanol or Ethanol

R+M/2………101
Cost………..$0.60 – $1.75/gal

Mixtures with 92 Octane Premium

10%………..94.3 Octane (Methanol)
10%………..94.7 Octane (Ethanol)
20%………..Not Recommended

Notes: Methanol is wood alcohol. Ethanol is grain alcohol and found in Gasohol in 10% ratios. Both alcohols are mildly corrosive and will eat gas tank linings, rubber and aluminum if used in excessive ratios. Main ingredient in “Gas Dryers”, combine with water.

Formula #5 – Isopropyl Alcohol and Tertiary Butyl Alcohol

R+M/2………101
Cost………..$0.60-$1.50/gal

Mixtures with 92 Octane Premium

10%………..94.5 Octane
20%………..Not Recommended
30%………..Not Recommended

Notes: Similar to Methanol/Ethanol. Isopropyl Alcohol is simply rubbing alcohol.

Sample Mixture

To make your own octane booster, it is easiest to make up a large batch, and then bottle it up in “dosage-size” uses.

Below is the basic formula of one of the popular octane booster products. To make eight 16 ounce bottles (128 oz = 1 gal):

      • 100 oz of toluene for octane boost
      • 25 oz of mineral spirits (cleaning agent)
      • 3 oz of transmission fluid (lubricating agent)

This product is advertised as “octane booster with cleaning agent *and* lubricating agent!”. Diesel fuel or kerosene can be substituted for mineral spirits and light turbine oil can be substituted for transmission fluid. Color can be added with petroleum dyes.

VTR WWW Editor’s Note: This article has been included on the VTR pages because this topic is frequently of interest to Triumph owners. However, VTR has no special knowledge about octane boosters. Please do not address correspondence for further information on octane boosters to VTR. If you are looking for further information on octane boosters, you may be able to find other resources on the net by using a search engine such as Alta Vista.