The fuel additive is a term used in the auto industry for a substance added to gasoline or diesel fuel that improves performance, efficiency, and emissions at minimal expense. Most consumers are aware of the history of fluorosilicate asbestos, which was used as an insulator in the manufacturing of fire doors and was later banned for safety reasons.

But does anyone know that multiple other additives still being utilized today have not been publicly revealed because they were not banned and continue to receive significant taxpayer subsidies?

Here is the history of some of these more mysterious additives:

The octane rating on gas and diesel depends on the ratio of lead in the crude mix (purchased from refineries) to zinc and copper in the crude mixture. This aspect tells us that if the additive costs more than the additive itself, it is likely to affect the engine’s performance.

Tetraethylene (commonly called tetramethylene monomer or TEM), abbreviated tetra, is an organic solvent fuel additive, having the chemical formula (CH2) 2Pb. Its popularity as a fuel additive began in the early twenties (20s) when it was patented as a solvent for engines. However, its history of public obscurity only came to light seventy-five (75) years ago when documents were found in Germany referring to its consumption as an engine stabilizer. Since then, it has received numerous government subsidies, including reducing certain cars from fuel taxes.

The chronicle of this chemical was initially uncovered during a study conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the public was never told of the additive history until recently.

TETRA has only recently been subject to public scrutiny. As a result, countless questions remain unanswered regarding the relationship between TETRA and lead. Still, the evidence so far indicates that there may be some benefit to using it as an additive to gasoline. Though the benefits are yet scientifically proven, it does hold an advantage over alternative fuels regarding the fuel’s ability to reduce emissions.

So, what benefit does diesel fuel additive give to automobiles?

Read the infographic below brought to you by Pure Diesel Power to learn more: