Lead-free gas

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Also see Gasoline


Gasoline with the Absense of Tetraethyllead. Also known as Unleaded.


(commonly styled tetraethyl lead), abbreviated TEL, is an organolead compound with the formula (CH3CH2)4Pb.

TEL is a petro-fuel additive, first being mixed with gasoline (petrol) beginning in the 1920s as a patented octane rating booster that allowed engine compression to be raised substantially. This in turn caused increased vehicle performance and fuel economy. TEL had been identified chemically in the mid-19th century, but its antiknock effectiveness was discovered in 1921 by the General Motors research laboratory, which had spent several years attempting to find an additive that was both highly effective and inexpensive.

TEL levels in automotive fuel were reduced in the 1970s under the U.S. Clean Air Act in two overlapping programs: to protect catalytic converters, which mandated unleaded gasoline for those vehicles; and to protect public health, which mandated lead reductions in annual phases (the "lead phasedown"). When present in fuel, TEL is also the main cause of spark plug fouling. TEL is still used as an additive in some grades of aviation gasoline, and in some developing countries.

Innospec has claimed to be the last firm legally making TEL, and as of 2013 TEL is being produced illegally by several companies in China. As of March 2017, only Algeria, Yemen, and Iraq continue widespread use of leaded engine gasoline.

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