Distillation profile

Gasoline is a complex mixture of different hydrocarbons with different properties. Consequently, when heated, different components will vaporize at different temperatures. How much gasoline vaporizes at low temperatures (front-end volatility), medium temperatures (mid-range volatility), and high temperatures (tail-end volatility) will affect performance across a wide range of dimensions and is known as the distillation profile of the fuel.

The performance affected includes:

  • Front-end volatility (low temperatures):
    • Cold start
    • Hot start
    • Avoiding vapor lock
    • Minimizing evaporative emissions
  • Mid-range volatility (medium temperatures):
    • Achieving quick warm up
    • Fuel efficiency on short trips
    • Good power and acceleration
    • Avoiding carburetor icing
    • Avoiding hot stalling
  • Tail-end volatility (high temperatures):
    • Fuel efficiency after warm up
    • Avoiding engine deposits
    • Minimizing dilution of crankcase oil
    • Minimizing VOC emissions

Distillation properties are typically measured as the temperatures of initial boiling, at specific volume percent recovery (5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, 95%), and end point or final volume recovery.

McKinsey uses cookies to improve site functionality, provide you with a better browsing experience, and to enable our partners to advertise to you. Detailed information on the use of cookies on this Site, and how you can decline them, is provided in our cookie policy. By using this Site or clicking on "OK", you consent to the use of cookies.