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Fuel Additives: Burden or Innovation

Published By: IndustryARC Published On : 15-Apr-2019

Fuel additives

are considered as modern day innovation in liquid petroleum engineering although they are prevalent in the market since 1920. All the additives that are being used in refineries, as well as bottled formats, must be registered under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Registration process for fuel additives over the past few years was fairly simple. However, over the next few years in order to assess the probable impact of these additives on public health, it has to undergo complex testing, which acts as a major restraint for the existing as well as emerging players. Regulators in the U.S. banned the use of fuel additives for its adverse effects on health, which also acted as an obstacle to cleaner burning fuel and better gas mileage. Hence, additive methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) was introduced but was later banned due to potential carcinogenic effects. Hybrid compounds and blends are being engineered over the past few years to make additives which can alter or enhance particular characteristics of fuel.

Most of the fuel additives fall into seven basic categories: gasoline stabilizer; fuel line anti-freeze; octane boosters; fuel injector cleaners; cylinder cleaners; diesel exhaust fluid; and anti-gelling additives. Fuel additives act as a protector thereby reducing the maintenance cost and keeping away the engine from unwanted items that may cause engine harm. They also focus on preventing the build-up of sludge. The overall benefit of fuel additives offered to users includes the provision of enhanced safety and performance enhancement. 

The hazards presented by fuel additives can be reduced through further management. The desire of economical and environment-friendly transport drives the usage of fuel additives. Fuel additives generally increase the mileage of a vehicle by improving the cetane and octane ratings. A fuel additive not only focuses on engine parameters but also ensures the safe and flexible transport and storage of fuels. Antistatic additives are one such kind of additive, which prevents the formation of static charges; biocides inhibit the microbial growth. Growing industries such as aviation as well as automotive is all set to escalate the fuel additives market. Geographically, APAC’s economy is largely influenced by the dynamics of countries like China and India, however, the scenario is changing with increasing investments in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian countries are witnessing higher growth in aviation and automotive industry. The importance of fuel additives has already been recognized in European regulations and according to an estimate, 95% of European fuels are treated with a fuel additive. Consumption of fuel additives depends on factors such as treat rates, fuel consumption and regulations. Growth rate for fuel additives can be taken as being directly proportional to the automobile industry growth and the demand for petroleum fuels as two-thirds of the petroleum fuels used in transportation. 


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Fuel additives can be basically classified into refinery additives and aftermarket additives. Refinery fuel additives hold 90% of the market share. Refinery fuel additives are added during blending, storage, and transportation to enhance the fuel quality, which was lost during refinery processing and to improve the shelf life. These additives protect the fuel from microbial growth, water contamination, and foaming. Also these are used to enhance the fuel parameters such as octane number, cetane number, lubricity, and few others.

The rise in development, industries, and transportation in the American region has led to increased consumption of fuel additives. Government regulations regarding emissions and other standards is creating better opportunities for fuel additives to rise in the market. However, less crude oil production in recent years is somehow creating challenges that reduce the use of fuel additives. New innovations and developments to create alternatives of crude oil can further create an opportunity for the fuel additives market.

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