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In United States, I have understood that octane numbers are generally lower than in Europe for two reasons. Firstly, the gasoline is often genuinely lower-octane. Secondly, the numbers in United States don't mean the same thing as the numbers in Europe.

Why is there such a difference in the octane number scales? How can one convert between octane numbers in Europe and in United States?

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There are different ways to measure the octane number of a fuel. Europe uses the RON method.

Research Octane Number (RON)

The most common type of octane rating worldwide is the Research Octane Number (RON). RON is determined by running the fuel in a test engine with a variable compression ratio under controlled conditions, and comparing the results with those for mixtures of iso-octane and n-heptane.

Motor Octane Number (MON)

Another type of octane rating, called Motor Octane Number (MON), is determined at 900 rpm engine speed instead of the 600 rpm for RON.1 MON testing uses a similar test engine to that used in RON testing, but with a preheated fuel mixture, higher engine speed, and variable ignition timing to further stress the fuel's knock resistance. Depending on the composition of the fuel, the MON of a modern pump gasoline will be about 8 to 12 octane lower than the RON, but there is no direct link between RON and MON. Pump gasoline specifications typically require both a minimum RON and a minimum MON.[citation needed]

in Canada, the United States, Brazil, and some other countries, the headline number is the average of the RON and the MON, called the Anti-Knock Index (AKI), and often written on pumps as (R+M)/2). It may also sometimes be called the Posted Octane Number (PON).

Difference between RON, MON, and AKI

Because of the 8 to 12 octane number difference between RON and MON noted above, the AKI shown in Canada and the United States is 4 to 6 octane numbers lower than elsewhere in the world for the same fuel. This difference between RON and MON is known as the fuel's Sensitivity,[4] and is not typically published for those countries that use the Anti-Knock Index labelling system.

The Wikipedia article also contains a conversion table.

Because there is no direct link between RON and MON (they're based on different measurements), there's no formula to calculate one from the other.

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